The parish church of St Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist, Chłaniów
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The parish church of St Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist



A valuable and rare example of a mid-18th century complex of wooden ecclesiastical buildings, consisting of the church and the accompanying bell tower.


The very first wooden church ever to have been built here was erected back in 1419, with the funds being provided by the erstwhile owners of the village of Chłaniów. Another church, with a single brick chapel and a wooden sacristy, was erected before the year 1602, followed by yet another one before 1715, the latter coming equipped with a pair of chapels - one wooden and one made of brick. In years 1742-1748, a new, wooden church was erected, with the funds being donated for the purpose by Władysław Zaleski, a canon from Lviv, and Adam Zaleski, who held the title of the pantler (stolnik) of Ovruch. The brick chapel which formed part of the earlier structure was allowed to remain, while a new, brick sacristy with treasury were constructed from scratch. In years 1756-1765, a wooden bell tower was constructed. The church underwent renovation works on numerous occasions, including in 1802, when new, brick foundations were added, in 1825 when the ceilings and vaults were restored, in 1893, when the new steeple was constructed as well as in 1933, when buttresses were erected around the sacristy. In 1947, new ceilings and vaults were completed, while in years 1979-1981 the entire church underwent a series of comprehensive renovation works.


The entire complex is located in the centre of the village and consists of a church and a bell tower, positioned amidst a cemetery surrounded by a stone wall.

The church. The church is oriented towards the east. It was built on a Latin cross floor plan. The nave is rectangular in shape and is flanked by a pair of side chapels, with the northern one being the relic of an earlier church erected back in the 17th century. The chancel is narrower than the nave and features a semi-hexagonal termination. A brick sacristy with treasury on the first floor abuts upon the chancel to the north, while a small porch, designed on a square floor plan, adjoins the chancel to the west. The overall shape of the church is quite unusual due to the fact that it was completed in two distinct phases, using different materials. The main body of the church is made of corner-notched wooden logs and covered with weatherboards. The northern chapel and the sacristy with treasury are made of brick and stone, their walls covered with plaster. The individual sections of the building are covered with gablet roofs; the treasury actually has a separate roof, running in parallel to that of the chancel - a highly unusual design solution. Originally clad with wood shingles, the roofs are currently covered with sheet metal. An openwork steeple rises above the nave of the church. Inside, the nave features a false barrel vault with wooden boards designed to imitate ribs; flattened false barrel vaults can also be seen above the chancel and the chapel, while the sacristy and the treasury feature flat ceilings. The northern chapel, on the other hand, features a double barrel vault. The side sections of the nave are separated from the centre thereof by three pairs of pillars with pronounced plinths and capitals, supporting the arches above. The layout of the pillars is mirrored in the arrangement of the pilasters which adorn the walls of the nave. A lavishly profiled cornice runs around the nave above the arcades, arcing upwards to match the basket-handle outline of the rood arch. The pipe organ gallery is situated in the western bay and features a parapet which follows a semi-hexagonal outline, supported by a pair of columns below. The façades are covered with vertical board and batten siding; the walls are reinforced by vertical supports designed to resemble pilasters. The church features a pronounced plinth as well as a cornice running beneath the eaves, supported by wooden corbels. The corners of the walls in the brick section of the church are supported by buttresses. The multi-paned windows are topped with segmental arches and feature a highly decorative arrangement of muntin bars. The front façade of the church features a distinctive arrangement of circular windows (oculi). Most of the interior fixtures and fittings date back to the second half of the 18th century and bear the hallmarks of the Late Baroque style.

The bell tower is a two-storey building designed on a square floor plan, with the lower storey tapering towards the top and ending in a pronounced cornice; the second storey takes the form of an overhanging belfry, its walls pierced by small, hollow openings designed to let the sound of the bells out of the chamber within. The tower is a post-and-beam structure covered with weatherboards. The roof is of the two-tier tented type, crowned by a roof lantern and clad with wood shingles.

The monument is accessible.

compiled by Bożena Stanek-Lebioda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 07-11-2014.


  • Górak J., Kościoły drewniane Zamojszczyzny, Zamość 1986, pp. 41-43.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, Vol. VIII: Województwo lubelskie, issue 8: Powiat krasnostawski, compiled by Sulerzyska T., Uniechowska F., Rowińska E., Warsaw 1964, pp. 5-7.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1748
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Chłaniów
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district krasnostawski, commune Żółkiewka
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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