In the woods behind Sapinta village, a new monastery is rising.

Autumn, 2002:

In a village with money to spend from tourists coming to visit their famous cemetery, they've commissioned a monastery with a 33 meter tall steeple. 


We saw on the TV news a claim that this is the tallest wooden church in continental Europe. 



Local villagers contribute labor -- their service to God. 





The "Meistre" or head architect and woodworker, is Ioan Stiopai, the same man who designed Birsana Monastery (our fantasy home). 





Ioan has private quarters, albeit shared with the rest of the crew as a kitchen area. 


A few additional skilled workers have the lucky distinction of being paid and given room and board. 


Though 'room' means a common dormitory, and 'board' means a table they built themselves. 






What the locals make, the locals also enjoy. We followed a girl and her family into the unfinished basement. 






There, a few tables and hand woven carpets serve to mark where holy ground ends and worship space begins. 





Kathleen and I began our exploration of the half-completed interior space. 







Maramures flourishes adorned a playground of Romanesque Arches.






We found stairs up into the structural interior, 






where arched bolts lie exposed in the spaces behind windows and roofs . 




   Kathleen headed back down and outside, asking me where I was going. 




I told her she didn't want to know.




 For of course, I had my eyes on the sky. 






I wondered how much time Escher spent inside church structures in his studies.








33 meters doesn't sound like a lot, but it made our car and that horsecart look awfully small. 





Finally, up where I could see far into the Ukraine, I found  Meistre Ioan had given up on wood and given in to metal. 





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