Monday, April 30, 2018

Maramureş County, Deseşti, Romania: April 30, 2018


One morning after breakfast, we saw the milk guy headed back toward the sheep fold with his wagon and milk can. We hurried and followed him at a distance because he had a head start and he was really moving. When the barking dogs headed his way, he threw a rock at them.

The milk guy was wary of the dogs up ahead, too. He stopped at the top of one hill and called toward the sheep fold before he continued. Emboldened because the dogs kept their distance, we followed a little while longer realizing that soon we'd be without the milk guy as a protector. We turned back toward the guesthouse and safety.

On Sunday, before our drive to Săpȃnța, we walked to church. We were hoping to see people dressed in traditional clothing, and we did. We milled around outside the church people watching.

St. Paraschiva
The wooden Romanian Orthodox church in Deseşti, St. Paraschiva, built in 1770, is one of the eight wooden churches of Maramureş that are listed as a World Heritage site. A cemetery surrounds the church.

Placing Flowers on her Mother's Grave

Waiting for services to begin
While women's heads should be covered to enter the church, men must remove their hats. The hats of the men are hung outside the church.


This morning, Monday, we showed up again and the priest gave us a tour of the exquisite interior paintings.
Lower portion of Iconostatsis
Upper portion of Iconostatsis depicting the Crucifixion
Artist Alexandru Ponehalschi painted the iconostasis and the other icons in the church in 1778-1780. The interior wall fresco paintings dated 1780 were by master artist Radu Munteanu and his assistant Gheorghe Zugravu. The frescos on the walls of the nave depict scenes from the bible beginning with Adam, Eve, and the serpent and continuing through the crucifixion.




Frescos in the narthex remind you what will happen if you are not a believer.  Judgement day is depicted on the walls of the narthex (entrance/exit) on either side of the doorway. As you leave the church, the left wall has kind of a rogue's gallery for those that are damned. Below the portrait gallery depicts the red burning river of hell as it carries damned souls into the maw of the Leviathan monster. The right wall which shows those that have been judged to be pure enough for heaven isn't as interesting.

Overall view of left wall showing the damned

Who is damned according to this fresco?
Jews--the merchants, rich, so easy to envy
The Habsburgs--they have a history
The Turks--more history
The Crimean Tartars--yep they did the Romanians wrong
The French--????
An airing of grudges and scores evened out through the centuries for all to see.

There is a second church in Deseşti. The denomination is Greek-Catholic. It is new but built in the traditional style. Its paintings are not as interesting as the the other wooden church, but its proximity to a stork nest drew us to it.


Many people believe that storks bring not babies but luck. These white storks arrive every March to return to their nesting poles and lay eggs. They take turns sitting on the eggs and when the one mate returns to the nest both birds clack their beaks in greeting. They are mesmerizing to watch from the elevation of the church.

White stork coming in for landing

From the church we took a short walk through Deseşti northeast toward Hărniceşti. It was a work day and most people were in their fields planting their crops.









No comments:

Post a Comment