All Saints Parish Church, Blizne
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All Saints Parish Church

Blizne

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The church in Blizne is one of the most valuable features of medieval wooden sacred architecture in Poland. Its unique significance is determined both by a perfectly preserved architectural substance (among others, nearly fully preserved original log structure of walls from the 15th century and king post truss with carpentry assembly marks), extraordinarily lavish mobile fittings created between the 16th and 19th century, as well as a unique collection of wall paintings from the 15th-18th century. A group of historic wooden rectory buildings from the 19th century is located in the immediate vicinity of the church. The entire group of buildings forms an immensely valuable sacred rectory complex, picturesquely incorporated in the landscape of the Stobnica river valley. The church has been inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

History

The first mention of the church dates back to 1470. The date of construction of the temple has not been clearly determined. The church in Blizne was erected probably between 1406 and 1470 and it is assumed that it was built no later than in the third quarter of the 15th century. Most probably, the Bishops of Przemyśl were the founders of the church - the construction is associated with Bishops Piotr Chrząstowski (1436-1452) or Mikołaj Błażejowski (1452-1479). The workshop that built the church probably stemmed from the same milieu as the builders of a church in Haczów. In 1549 the temple was embellished with lavish, ornamental and figurative wall paintings (partially preserved to our times). In the 1st half of the 17th century a bell tower was added to the church in the west and the church was circumscribed by cloister-type walkways. In 1649 the walls of the church were covered with a new painted decoration, mostly founded by local peasants (scenes on the southern wall of the nave have survived). Another wall painting was created around 1700 and was located in lower parts of the chancel walls. In the early 18th century new fittings of the church were also founded. A steeple turret preserved to this day and a narthex separated on the ground floor date back to the mid-18th century. In 1811, as part of the full-scale renovation of the church, the previous body of the building was altered (cloister-type walkways were demolished, probably at that time the sacristy was expanded and a porch was added to the nave in the south). The church was also subject to renovations in the second half of the 19th century (when the previous wall paintings were painted over) and in the 20th century. Full-scale preservation works focusing on the architectural substance of the church and uncovering of a multi-layered wall painting dating back to different periods, was carried out in the years 1964-1974. In 2003, the church was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List (under the entry designated as Wooden Churches of the Southern Lesser Poland).

Description

The church is located in the centre of the village, on the south side of a road from Rzeszów to Sanok, on an elevation lowering from the south to the Stobnica river valley. The church is oriented to the east. The church area is surrounded by a wooden fence, which features four masonry chapels (from the 19th century). The immediate vicinity of the church includes wooden buildings of the former rectory complex: an old rectory (later a vicar house), a quincha, a former parish school (later an organist house) and a barn. The church has a tripartite layout: chancel - nave - tower. The chancel, narrower than the nave, was erected on a rectangular floor plan terminating in a semi-hexagon in the east, while the nave was set on a floor plan similar to a square. A tower, with a square-like floor plan, adjoins the nave from the west and contains a spacious vestibule on the ground floor. A sacristy adjoins the chancel in the north, while a porch abuts on the nave in the south (both set on a rectangular floor plan). The chancel and nave are covered with a common gable roof with a single roof ridge, lowering by three slopes in the east and extending over the sacristy in the north. The roof features a hexagonal steeple turret crowned with a lantern. The tower has inclined walls and an overhanging starling with vertical walls, covered with a bulbous cupola with a lantern. The southern porch, significantly lower than the corpus, is topped with a gable roof. The church is made of wood and was erected by applying a log structure on a stone underpinning, with a tower in the post-and-frame structure and a porch in the post-and-beam structure. The walls are reinforced with vertical supports and clad with wood shingles. The lower part of tower walls and a starling are covered with vertical weatherboardng with board and batten siding, while the second storey is clad with wood shingles. Roofs of the church are clad with wood shingles; the tower cupola and steeple turret are clad with sheet metal. The church in Blizne originally featured a truss-log-bracket system, typical for medieval carpentry of the Lesser Poland (brackets have survived in the attic), which was exhibited by covering the extreme sections of the nave with separate shed roofs over upper logs. Currently, this type of the nave is topped with extended slopes of a gable roof. The interior is covered by a flat ceiling, while the nave features small upper side logs. The rood wall, separating the chancel from the nave, has a pointed-arch contour and includes a rood beam that features a Baroque group of scenes related to the Passion of Christ. The door opening between the chancel and sacristy as well as window openings of the chancel (on the inside) terminate in an ogee, which is characteristic for the Late Gothic period. The temple’s interior (walls and ceiling) are decorated with figurative and ornamental wall paintings created in several stages. The oldest surviving paintings from the 15th century include painted consecration crucifixes. The following 16th-century paintings have been uncovered: Passion of Christ on the western wall of the chancel, a scene of the Last Judgement - on the northern wall of the nave, decoration in the form of painted coffers on the chancel ceiling. Wall paintings from the first half of the 17th century, founded by rich local peasants, embellish the nave’s walls and ceiling. They include, among others, images of saints and saints’ martyrdom. Busts of evangelists and church fathers are presented on a ceiling and parapet of the choir gallery. Lower parts of the chancel walls feature preserved fragments of wall paintings from around 1700. Lavish fittings of the church have also survived. They mostly come from the Baroque period, from the 17th and 18th century. The most valuable fittings include a figure of Madonna from the first quarter of the 16th century, exhibiting features of post-Stoss, Lesser Poland sculptures).

The building is available all year round; interior tours upon prior telephone appointment.

compiled by Anna Fortuna-Marek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszow, 21-09-2015.

Bibliography

  • Adamski J. F., Kościelne dzieje regionu brzozowskiego, Brzozów 1982.
  • Adamski J. F., Organizacja kościelna w regionie brzozowskim od XIV do XVII wieku, [w:] Chwalcie z nami Panią Świata, praca zbiorowa, Kraków 1986, s. 7-19.
  • Brykowski R., Drewniana architektura kościelna w diecezji przemyskiej, „Nasza Przeszłość”, t. 46, 1976, s. 71-86; tenże, Drewniana architektura kościelna w Małopolsce XV w., Wrocław 1981.
  • Brykowski R., Kornecki M., Kościoły drewniane w Małopolsce południowej, Wrocław 1984.
  • Chrzanowski T., Kornecki M., Zabytki plastyki gotyckiej w diecezji przemyskiej, „Nasza Przeszłość”, t. 46, 1976 r., s. 101-140.
  • Czuba M., Drewniany kościół parafialny pw. Wszystkich Świętych w Bliznem. Uratowane dziedzictwo, Blizne 1996.
  • Czuba M., Blizne - klejnot Pogórza. Historia i zabytki, Blizne 1996.
  • Czuba M., Drewniany kościół parafialny pw. Wszystkich Świętych w Bliznem. Zarys monograficzny. Blizne 2001
  • Czuba M., Rzymskokatolickie kościoły drewniane w granicach dawnego województwa ruskiego, /w:/ Na pograniczu kultur. Drewniana architektura sakralna w Polsce i na Ukrainie, Przemyśl 2001, s. 23-44.
  • Kornecki M., Sztuka sakralna regionu brzozowskiego, [w:] Chwalcie z nami Panią Świata, praca zbiorowa, Kraków 1985, s. 152-179.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. XIII, Województwo rzeszowskie, z. 2, Powiat brzozowski, oprac. Kornecki M., Samek J., Warszawa 1974.
  • Łopatkiewicz P., Zabytki plastyki gotyckiej województwa krośnieńskiego. Rzeźba drewniana. Malarstwo tablicowe, Krosno 1996
  • Olszewski A., Drewniany kościół w Bliznem, „Ochrona Zabytków”, t. 10, Warszawa 1957, nr 3, s. 194-196.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 3. ćw. XV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Blizne
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district brzozowski, commune Jasienica Rosielna
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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