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The “Saint Nicholas” Wooden Church, PonoareleCod 1501

The official name is the Saint Forty Martyr Pantelimon and the Saint Hierarch Nicholas Church. But, after its emplacement, it is known under the name of the Small church under Stei, because of the fact that it is situated right under Steiul Ponorii.

Steiul Ponorii is an abrupt and callow coast which surrounds the village in the southern part showing the fact that here was produced a rupture and the land collapsed over some unseen galleries. At the lap of the Stei there is situated the Falcon Cavern where it is said the fact that the people would go down in ancient times in order to capture this bird used for hunting falcons.

Also here it is situated the Cave of Elijah the Thief, of which there are connected the legends with robbers and treasures. At the base of Stei there was situated some time ago the center of the commune as it is shown in its monographic sketch, Sofronie Delurințu. The only proof is the small church made of oak wood in front of which there are still seen now a few stones covered by ground which marked the crosses from the cemetery from a period of time ago.

The church has the aspect of a wooden small house with porch supported by four piers which are almost bended by the burden of times.

On the pier from the right side from the entrance in the church it is dig in the wood a date which can be the one of the building of the church as it is supported by the researchers.

The Icon of Saint John the Baptist and the two reasons: the sun and the moon from the iconostasis strengthen the idea of the oldness of the construction about which the legend says the fact that it would have been built up by the monk Nicodim, who the people had thrown away from here and this is how he would have arrived at Tismana. The wooden church from Ponoarele, the commune Ponoarele, the county Mehedinți, was built in 1766. It has the titular saint of “Saint Nicholas”.

The church was built up and consecrated in the year 1851 on the ruins of the other church. It is said that the first church was built up by the monk Nicodim.

According to the Inventory of 1840 the church was built up in the year 1695 by Pârvu Buce, Radu Răduică, Ilaș Curuiuc and Miloș Crăciunescu. According to Radu Crețeanu, according to the inscription dig in the casing of the door from the entrance: “the month of April, 22nd leat 7274” the construction year is 1763. Another date, inscribed on the imperial doors, is “1880, February 28”. The church knows in its existence more radical re-doings, namely re-constructions from the foundations, which explains the controversies connected to the year of its construction.

The church is built from oak wood, type of nave with the tower of the bell tower. The porch is supported on the wooden piers connected between them in broken arches. On the façade there is found the icon of the titular saint.

The oldest icon from the church is found in the narthex and it represents Saint John the Baptist holding in his hand a cup and under it a papyrus on which it is written: “repent yourselves because of the closeness among the heavens.” It is the only icon from the XVIIIth century which is still kept in Mehedinți, the majority being re-painted.


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