Roman Catholic cemetery, Grabowiec
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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A historic cemetery with numerous preserved 19th-century stone and cast iron grave markers, this old necropolis is known for its outstanding landscape and artistic value. It has also become the final resting place for the famous painter Władysław Czachórski, who lies here in his family tomb.

History

The Roman Catholic cemetery was founded outside the Grabowiec town limits in years 1792-1798. From the very beginning of its existence, the cemetery also served the local Greek Catholic population; in addition, in years 1875-1926 it was also used as a burial ground for the members of the Orthodox church. In years 1857-1858, the cemetery was surrounded by a wooden picket fence with a gate, which was restored on numerous occasions. A moat and a ditch were also excavated alongside the cemetery perimeter; all these measures, subsequently modernised in 1868, were intended to prevent animal grazing in the burial ground. The entire area is overgrown with trees, most of which are found in the centre of the cemetery as well as alongside the edges thereof. Most headstones which were erected in the cemetery featured numerous references to the Classicist style; some of them were made of stone, while others were brick structures. Some of the graves were marked by metal crosses. In the 1st half of the 19th century, most of the grave markers in the central part of the cemetery were made of wood; these structures, designed in the form of obelisks or crosses on pedestals, were in fact clever imitations of the more typical stone markers.

In 1911, the body of Władysław Czachórski was brought back to Poland thanks to the efforts of Jadwiga Czachórska née Grothus, the painter’s sister-in-law, to be buried in the family tomb alongside his parents and his brother. In 1915, the cemetery site was extended by an area measuring 2 morgen in total, while year 1916 saw the consecration of the necropolis; from that moment onwards, the cemetery would only serve the Catholic population, ending a long conflict concerning burial rights between the members of the Catholic and the Orthodox communities. In 1959, the cemetery was extended once more, from 2.87 hectares to 3.88 hectares, by incorporating a plot of land that adjoined it to the west.

Description

The Roman Catholic cemetery is located outside of town, alongside the road towards Siedlisko, about 600 metres to the west from the local church. It occupies a plot of land shaped as an elongated rectangle, its total surface being approx. 3.8 hectares. It is surrounded by a fence consisting of both solid and openwork concrete pieces, with a gate in the eastern section of the fence. The cemetery retains its original layout, featuring a simple spatial plan divided into quadrangular burial plots, with a central alley leading along the entire length thereof, on the axial line which begins with the entrance gate. The oldest headstones are located in the northern burial plot and are arranged in an irregular manner. In the southern part of the cemetery there is a special burial lot allocated to members of the armed forces. Next to this lot there is an earthen mound dedicated to the fallen insurgents of the January Uprising.

The state of conservation varies from headstone to headstone. A few dozen stone and cast iron grave markers are historical, pre-1945 structures, with the rest of the headstones being contemporary additions. Many of the surviving historical headstones are truly outstanding works of sepulchral art. These include a stone obelisk with a cast iron cross on top, erected in the first half of the 19th century and surrounded by an openwork cast iron fence. The obelisk marks the grave of Karolina Dudzińska, who died in 1841. Other interesting headstones include two stone sculptures; the first one, portraying a woman kneeling by a column, marks the grave of Józef Sadowski and might have been made at one of the ateliers which operated in Lviv at the time, while the second one - the portrayal of Christ carrying his cross - marks the final resting place of Katarzyna Nowaczewska.

Another notable headstone is that of Paweł Kiciński (died 1894), which takes the form of a pedestal with an urn topped with a cast iron cross. As has already been mentioned, the painter Władysław Czachórski, who died in Munich in 1911, also lies in the Grabowiec cemetery, his family tomb taking the form of a granite slab positioned on a profiled plinth with an inscribed date of the artist’s death. One should also mention an impressive, 19th-century stone obelisk which rises above the tomb of the Rudnicki family, who owned much of the local land; it is in this tomb that major Kazimierz Wróblewski (code-name “Maryśka”), the commander of a Polish Home Army unit which operated in the local woods, has found his final resting place. The trees which grow between the old headstones are arranged in a completely informal, natural manner.

The site continues to serve as a burial ground and is accessible all year round.

compiled by Anna Sikora-Terlecka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 21-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Kawałko D., Cmentarze województwa zamojskiego, Zamość 1994, pp. 55-56
  • Litwin A., Śladami Władysława Czachórskiego, “Powinność. Pismo kulturalno-społeczne Ziemi Chełmskiej”, Chełm 2014, p. 16
  • Niedźwiedź J., Leksykon historyczny miejscowości dawnego województwa zamojskiego, Zamość 2003, p. 146.
  • Niedźwiedź J., Niedźwiedź E., Dzieje miejscowości gminy Grabowiec. Powiat zamojski, Grabowiec-Zamość 2011, p. 67.
  • Piątkowski H., Władysław Czachórski z 32 reprodukcjami. Monografie artystyczne, Vol. XI, Warsaw 1927
  • Kulik R., Kulik H., Historia Grabowca. Monografia rzymskokatolickiej parafii św. Mikołaja w Grabowcu (work in progress) www.grabowiec.com.pl

General information

  • Type: Roman Catholic cemetery
  • Chronology: koniec XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Grabowiec
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district zamojski, commune Grabowiec
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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