20 November 2016

The Dragomireşti Church, Maramureş County

Transported by the team of Professor Dimitrie Gusti in 1936, the church in Dragomirești – Maramureș County, was built in 1722 in the place of the previous one burnt by Tatar people in 1717.

Typologically classified in the category of hall churches, with a rectangular lay-out, elongated towards East and rounded by a five-sided apse, the church in Dragomirești is built with notched spruce girders and beams, in conformity with particular Maramureș architecture. Building this religious edifice, carpenters used construction techniques similar to the construction of houses and homestead annexes, thus bestowing an exceptional stylistic and architectural uniformity in the area.

From an artistic perspective, the decorative elements stand out on the carved pillars of the open porch, united by elegant arches at the top and a fretted balustrade at the bottom. Another decorative element is the church’s double tiered roof, with steep slopes, specific to Northern Carpathians. The bell tower, with a svelte silhouette and crest covering the turret, is a 35 meter stand point that balances the proportions of the entire edifice.

The interior of the church is divided according to the rite of oriental Christian worship: the altar, the nave, the narthex and the porch; each of the spaces bearing local names, determined by their symbolic assignation. The narthex, reserved for women, is called “the women’s church”; the nave, reserved for men, is called “the men’s church”, and the altar is the priest’s space.

The girder wall between the narthex and nave, with a door in the middle, has two side openings endowed with a beautiful wrought iron railing in the form of crosses. The narthex and altar are surmounted by a straight ceiling, whereas the nave is covered with a rustic barrel vault. The altar and nave interior walls are painted by craftsmen with respects to church canons and a free hand for creativity in the narthex, thus reflecting people’s beliefs regarding the happiness of Heaven and the torments of Hell, as represented in the scene of the Judgment.

Looking in on the church, one will notice social and political aspects of the time. The altar is separated by the nave with a temple or iconostatis, characteristic to byzantine churches and decorated with beautiful woodwork. The church stands under the protection of the Assumption.