The oldest wooden church in the south of Romania was recently restored and relocated – from the cemetery of a hamlet called Carpinisu, in the village of Pietrari, to the Museum of Vâlcea County Villages in Bujoreni. This is already the fourth address of the monument, included in the Romanian cultural patrimony and used as a storage facility in the past few years.
‘When we removed the fresco layer from the lunette between the nave and the vestibule, in the very last day of work, we uncovered the original “pisanii” (founding documents) of the monument – both written on the same beam,’ says Alexndru Nancu, director of the SALVart project. Towards the end of the 16th century, this place of worship belonged to a hermitage or to a noble boyar in the area, as the older pisanie proves. The second inscription reads: “Let it be known that this was built in the days of our ruler Ion Constantin (Serban), and finished on the 8th of December 7164 (1655); it was built by Vasilie the priest and by the village. Written by David, master builder; Ognea Ionu.” With the occasion of this second consecration, done by Vasilie the priest in an unidentified village of free peasants, a vestibule was added to the little church.
The third move took place between 1736 and 1737, to the hamlet of Carpinisu, Pietrari village, when the church was consecrated for the third time, by Gheorghe, son of a priest named Vâlcu, in the times of bishop Climent.
In 2009, specialists in the SALVart project ran a laser scan to obtain a 3D digital image of the church as it stood in its location at the time. Then, they started the dismantling. Over the summer of last year, the church was restored and brought to the Museum of Vâlcea County Villages, which will take proper care of this ‘great-grandmother of churches in Southern Romania,’ as art historian Luiza Barcan called it.