Little church in Obidowa, church of the Holy Cross in Rdzawka on the Friday Mountain, Chabówka
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Little church in Obidowa, church of the Holy Cross in Rdzawka on the Friday Mountain



One of the commonly recognisable Polish wooden churches. A jewel of the landscape of Polish mountain land. It owns its popularity to a picturesque location by the “Zakopianka” route, and excellent visibility. From Obidowa (named properly the Mountain of the Holy Cross), yields a wide panorama to all sides of the world, which is particularly spectacular in the case of south-west direction, towards Babia Góra. The church, which is quite beautiful, has high architectural and artistic values, ensuring it a significant place among Polish wooden churches.


The present church was built in the place of an earlier chapel, referenced in the early 18th century. It was founded by Jan Wielkopolski, the voivode of Sandomierz and hair of the Rabka-Zdrój demesne. The construction was started in 1757 (date on the rood beam); it was still in the course in 1775. It is possible that the works were directed by Antoni Wacławik. This church has survived until the present times in an almost unchanged form. It was renovated many times, but without significant changes. It was only during the renovation of 1901 (?) when the turret was transformed into a steeple, and provided with a slender and slim silhouette. In the same 1901 the church was decorated with new pseudo-Baroque painting with motifs of trompe l'œil architectural partitions, with figural paintings in plafonds on the ceilings; it is possible that some older works were overpainted at that time. The wood shingles were replaced - in whole or in part - a couple of times (inter alia in 1930 and 1967). The works in 1967 included also the replacement of the stone floor. In 1975, wall paintings were redesigned. Józef Furdyna, while retaining the existing wall partitions, filled them with modern figural compositions. In 1994, a fire broke out in the church. The roofs, side altar, and the main altar were damaged. In the latter, the painting of the Crucifixion in the middle panel was destroyed, among other things. Other décor elements were mostly rescued, but serious damages occurred, not only from fire, but also water. Fire of the church in Obidowa caused a shock in the community. Never before the press published that many notes and articles on the threats wooden churches are exposed to. The intention to reconstruct the church in unchanged form gained full support of the public. While the construction works were completed in a couple of weeks, the conservation of damaged works or art took longer.


The functional profile of the church and its architectural solution are traditional, but not without individual features. The church is based on a log structure, oriented, single-nave, including a chancel terminating in a semi-hexagon and a nave built on a nearly square floor plan. Also the location of a sacristy annex from the north by the chancel is traditional, however in this case the annex features two storeys (on the upper storeys, residential premises are arranged), and its eastern wall is interlocked with the slanted wall of the terminal section of the chancel which resulted in a certain irregularity of the said semi-hexagonal, "apse-type" terminal section. The interiors are covered by flat ceilings, with small upper side logs in the nave. The whole building is covered by a common one-ridge roof, resting on a uniform truss, which is not associated, however, with the said upper side logs. It is a unique, one-of-a-kind solution. Individual A-frames (without traverse beams) with widely spanned rafters, had a post in the middle, shaped as an orchid, with braces and raking shores reinforcing the structure. Longitudinally, the whole structure was reinforced by only one handing purlin, so it had to be additionally fixed by primitive bargeboard, irregularly nailed to the rafters, probably added at a later time. A separate structure of the high steeple turret was built between A-frames. From the outside, the church is surrounded partially by cloister-type walkways, arranged in correspondence to the roof solution used. From the east, an open chapel was embedded by the chancel, with Baroque-folklore sculptures of the Crucifixion Group. The fittings are fairly modest. In the rood of a semi-circular profile, there is a sculpture of Christ on the cross. The main altar and two side altars are late Baroque in style and originate from the time of construction of the church, with modest architectural reredoses. On the southern wall of the nave, an early-Baroque altar reredos was hung with Mannerist woodcarving - originating from the 17th century. The ambo, choir (on which there is a cartouche with date 1775) and pews complete the fittings.

The building is accessible during services. Week days: 7.00, 18.00 (17.00 winter time); week days in May: 18.00 and October: 17.00; first Friday of a month: 18.00 winter time: 17.00); Sunday: 8.00, 10:00, 17.00. It is open in the summer as part of the Wooden Architecture Route.

compiled by Roman Marcinek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 20-03-2015.


  • T. Szydłowski, Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce, Inwentarz topograficzny, III, Powiat nowotarski, Warszawa 1938
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, I, Woj. Krakowskie, pod red. J. Szablowskiego, Warszawa 1953
  • U. Janicka - Krzywda, Zabytkowe kościoły Orawy, Spisza, Podhala, Gorców i Pienin, Kraków 1987
  • M. Kornecki, Biuletyn „Kościoły drewniane” nr 20/1994.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 2 poł. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Chabówka
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district nowotarski, commune Rabka-Zdrój - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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