A ROMANIAN FOLK CRUCIFIX

A reader kindly shared this photo of a painted wooden folk crucifix in a little church in Dridif, a small village in Transylvania, Romania.   It is located northwest of Brașov on the road between Făgăraș and Sibiu.  The church was originally Greco-Catholic/Greek Catholic, and the reader’s great grandfather, Iosif Oprisiu, was priest there.  Later the church became Romanian Orthodox.

(Courtesy of Nancy Oprisch Ewing)

It is a delightful example of Romanian folk art, and bears the date 1886 near its base.  It has much in common in style with Romanian folk icons painted on glass.  Everything is very simple and “primitive.”  The sun and moon are shown at the top, stars and floral decoration are added on the sides, and at the base is a stylized head of Adam.

Let’s look more closely at the inscriptions:

At the top is an I N Ц I inscription — for “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews,” but interestingly the painter has written it from right to left in two lines.

Below that, along the base of the main crossbeam, we find in a mixture of Slavic letters and old spelling the Romanian inscription (I have added letters in brackets to put it in modern spelling):

Răsti[g]nirea lui I[i]sus
Răstignirea lui Iisus

“Crucifixion of Jesus.”

Here is the church in which it is found:

(Courtesy of Nancy Oprisch Ewing)

Across the road is a more elaborate church — also Romanian Orthodox — with a much more ornate interior, and icons painted in a more sophisticated style, rather than in the Romanian folk manner:

(Courtesy of Nancy Oprisch Ewing)

Here is a closer look at the iconostasis, with the Romanian flag displayed on the left above it:

Thanks to Nancy for sharing these images with all of us.