The Watch

Three Greek Catholic Churches

Brodruzal, Lukov-Venecia and Topola, Slovakia

2004 World Monuments Watch

The Greek Catholic Church of Eastern Slovakia has always battled for its survival. Orthodox in tradition, yet aligned with the Pope, the church faced persecution and even dissolution while maintaining a unique cultural and religious tradition for its followers. These traditions were reflected in the architecture of their houses of worship, which exhibit a fusion of Byzantine and Western architectural styles. Three such churches – the churches of St. Nicholas, Sts. Cosmos and Damian, and St. Michael the Archangel – constructed of timber between the mid-seventeenth and early eighteenth century, represent some of the most highly developed examples of this unique sacred architecture. These churches suffer from a host of wood-related problems, ranging from biological attack in the form of fungi and wood beetles to water infiltration and structural damage due to wood rot. Without the replacement of roofing materials and floors, and shoring up of failing structural elements, the churches, with their rustic baroque interiors filled with carved altarpieces and icons, could be irreparably damaged and subsequently closed to parishioners and the public. Diocesan representatives and national preservation authorities are preparing a public awareness campaign in an effort to increase appreciation of these monuments. What is lacking, however, is a comprehensive solution to the conservation issues facing the buildings as a distinct group, and the problems unique to each structure.

Since the Watch

Following Watch listing, $10,000 in funding from U.S. Steel helped support the restoration of the Church of St. Nicolas in Bodružal, which was completed in September 2004. The restored monument was also inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008. The Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic also made $10,000 available for the first phase of restoration of the Church of Sts. Cosmos and Damien in Lukov-Venecia. For the second phase of restoration, this site was assisted by WMF in 2005. January 2011

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