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Slovakia: Protection of Mother of God church

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Protection of Mother of God church | Slovakia | Europe

[Visited: May 2011]

When I looked at the map, standing on a hill north of Bardejov on my way to visit one of the Greek Orthodox churches for which the region is famous, I realized that the turn-off for Jedlinka was just a few hundred metres ahead. In fact, I saw a three-domed church rising above the small village. Assuming that that was my destination, it only took me minutes to park my car and walk to the church. It did not only look surprisingly new, but also: I did not see any wood. Still, I thought the church looked special, and I walked around it to see if it was open. Two guys stopped, put 9 fingers in the air, and pointed up the road, but were not able to explain in a language that I could understand, what they intended to say. I somehow understood that I had to go to house number 9, and realized that I read that these churches have a key-man who lets visitors in.

Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): The rich altarpiece of the wooden church of Jedlinka

It took some effort to get attention of someone inside the house, and while I was waiting outside, it started to rain lightly. When the key-man walked with me, and I was about to turn right to the church I had just seen, he turned left, to the small cemetery I had seen before. I decided not to say anything, and just follow - the cemetery looked very pretty with old graves and an abundance of flowers. But I was in for a big surprise. Just around the corner, an old wooden church appeared between the trees, and I immediately realized my mistake. I had not expected this tiny village of less than a hundred souls to have two churches. But of course: this was the old, wooden church that I was looking for. While the new church looked interesting, this one was simply beautiful. Wooden roof, wooden domes, wooden walls, all in modest sizes. The best surprise of the day turned out to be behind the door.

Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): The domes of the wooden church of Jedlinka in a row

My new friend took out an impressive, large metal key, and opened the small door of the church. There was a big sign of a camera with a red bar through it, and I accepted that taking pictures would be out of the question here. The key-man switched on the lights, and as soon as I stepped inside, I was overwhelmed. The small room was decorated with a brilliant altarpiece, richly decorated icons framed by gold-coloured leaves. While I had wanted to just take a seat and let myself be immersed by the interior of this amazing church, the key-man walked to the room behind the altar, and I knew I was supposed to follow. There, I saw the main work of art of the wooden church of Jedlinka: the icon of the mother of God, surrounded by fresh white lilies. When we returned to the main room, I pointed to my camera, and to my surprise, the key-man nodded. I eagerly took pictures of the fantastic icons around me, before the key-man thought it was enough and switched off the lights, leaving me in a pitch dark, old wooden church. Outside, we found ourselves in a downpour, and after closing the door, he ran away under his umbrella, leaving me behind with the tip I had wanted to give him. The church firmly closed, I ran back to my car, and got soaked in a matter of minutes. When the rain lessened a little, I went back to have a better look at the exterior of this little pearl, before driving back to Bardejov. Not only did I feel wet, but I was also very happy.

Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): Detail of the altarpiece with the famous Last Supper scene
Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): Mother of God with candle, prominent icon in the Greek Orthodox church of Jedlinka
Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): Baroque door in the richly decorated altar of the wooden church of Jedlinka
Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): Icon of the Mother of God surrounded by flowers in the wooden church of Jedlinka
Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): Scene on the richly decorated door under the alter of the Greek Orthodox church of Jedlinka
Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): Icon with saint and candle in the wooden Greek Orthodox churchof Jedlinka
Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): One of the saints depicted on a hand-painted wooden panel in the Greek Orthodox church of Jedlinka
Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): The richly decorated altarpiece of the wooden church of Jedlinka
Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): Banner to be used in one of the processions, inside the church
Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): View from the west of the wooden church of Jedlinka
Picture of Protection of Mother of God church (Slovakia): The wooden church seen from the graveyard

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