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“St. Paraskeva” Church, Gorni LomCod 2672

The medieval church of “St. Paraskeva” is located in the eastern end of the village of Gorni Lom, 100 m to the right of the road, before entering the village.
There is no exact information about the moment of the initial construction of the temple.
About this, experts have different opinions. Tsuhlev Dimitar church historian says it dates from the late XIVth century, based on the cryptographic features of the mural paintings. There is also a local legend which says that the church was built in the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (XII-XIV). Specialists of the team of archaeologists (D. Stoykov, As. Vasiliev) visited the building during a scientific expedition in northwestern Bulgaria in 1956, and placed it in the XVth century. Last statement seems more plausible because the church has enough outward signs typical of the church building from the Ottoman period – is sunk into the ground, the windows are narrow, resembling to loopholes, the construction is rough and primitive and shabby, does not draw attention. In a similar way are constructed also the churches in the cities of Varbovo and Chiprovci and others …
The church was restored in 1833. Above the entrance, outside, was an inscription (erased) which has the following content: “Kiro IVÁNYI Georgi Ichorbatsio Pesho Mic”. Unfortunately, few preserved frescoes of the temple were duplicated in 40 years of the twentieth century by someone ignorant. Art critic Asen Vasilev managed to observe this during his first visit to church (June 12th 1941), and wrote:

“Due to the ignorance of the official Church, was destroyed one of the most valuable monuments of our ancient art …. the frescoes were in their original form, very well preserved except for a small minor crack in them. … The frescoes lost their artistic value. Their dating can be attributed to end of the XVIth century”.
Once, around the church, was located the old cemetery of the village, which is still pasted with ancient headstone, interesting sculptures and beautiful stone crosses. Architecturally, the church is a small building, basilique. Its dimensions are : Length – 12.50, width – 6.05 m and a thickness – 1 m. The interior is crossed by pre-stressed thick wooden beams, which prevent partially the view, because they are low. It has a cylindrical vault and the top is covered with stone slabs. The entrance is from the west, and the interior is illuminated by two narrow windows (for ventilation) on the north and on southern wall, in front of which there are two niches. The apse has also a small window. To the west is added an opened rickety narthex.
Perhaps the entire interior of the church was covered with frescoes, but now are preserved only those from the eastern wall. They are characterized by extreme craftsmanship and elegant line. At the top of the apse is wonderfully painted “Mary in heaven,” and on each side is painted an angel. At the bottom of the apse are presented the six Fathers of the Church: St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Luther, St. Athanasius, St. Nicholas and St. Basil the Great. The southern niche is kept a rare glimpse of St. Romanus Melodul. Veil of the temple is simple and with icons.
Currently, the old church “St. Paraskevi” of Gorni Lom is in a bad condition, the roof is leaking, and therefore plaster walls are crumbling. Is imperative to make the restoration of the medieval frescoes precious, through new technologies, maybe they will shine forth in their original form, as they have done, before the ” restauration” made by that ignorant artist
. Furthermore, it would also be beautiful to verify the wall paintings preserved under the plaster, and from elsewhere around the church.

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