Complex of the Orthodox tserkva of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Horostyta
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Complex of the Orthodox tserkva of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross



An example of a wooden ecclesiastical complex with origins dating back to the 17th century, partially transformed during the 18th and 19th centuries and consisting of a tserkva with some rather intriguing fixtures and fittings as well as a bell tower. Today, the complex remains the seat of the local Orthodox parish.


The first small Orthodox tserkva (chapel) to be built in Horostyta was erected before 1521 and formed part of the Opole parish. In 1596, the chapel was taken over by the Greek Catholic church. The first mentions of an autonomous parish date back to 1699. Another tserkva - a tripartite structure with a belfry above the chancel - was erected in the 17th century. The current edifice dates back to 1702, when it was either constructed from scratch or created through the transformation of an earlier structure, with the funds being provided by the Kopeć family - the erstwhile owners of the surrounding land. The tserkva underwent a series of comprehensive alteration and renovation works somewhere between 1775 and 1788, with the works in question including the addition of a new chancel with sacristies as well as a narthex, which was then combined with the nave in 1848. In 1875, the parish was incorporated into the eparchy in Chełm. Further renovation works took place in years 1860-1880 and involved the alteration of the roof structure and the addition of a new iconostasis. A free-standing bell tower was erected in 1861, while the existing porch was added to the main body of the tserkva before 1914.

In years 1915-1917, the tserkva saw only occasional use, while in 1947 the parish was abolished due to the relocation of the local Orthodox community. The parish was then re-established in 1953.

In years 2006-2007, the tserkva and the bell tower underwent comprehensive restoration works which included the replacement of the foundations, sill plates, damaged structural components of the walls and roof truss, exterior siding and floors as well as the renovation of the roof cladding, window and door joinery and conservation of the iconostasis.


The complex, consisting of the tserkva and the bell tower, is located on the western edge of the village, bordering with the cemetery to the south.

The tserkva. The tserkva is oriented towards the east. It was designed on a tripartite plan consisting of a rectangular nave, a slightly narrower chancel with a semi-hexagonal termination - matching the nave in terms of height and flanked by a pair of sacristies - as well as a low porch (narthex) adjoining the tserkva to the west. The church is a wooden, corner-notched log structure, reinforced with vertical supports and clad with weatherboards. The building is set on a brick foundation. The rafter-and-beam roof truss features two rows of diagonal queen posts. The roofs are covered with wood shingles; the nave and the chancel share a common gable roof with a three-sided termination above the chancel which extends sideways in the form of two shed roofs to accommodate the sacristies, while the narthex features a separate gable roof. A small steeple rises from the roof ridge, featuring a roof lantern and a bulbous cupola surmounted by a cross and clad with gilt sheet metal. The lantern does not have any actual openings, which means that it serves ornamental purposes only. The interior features a flat ceiling. The façades are covered with vertically positioned board and batten siding, while the weatherboards covering the gable of the porch are arranged in a herringbone pattern. Decorative fretwork pelmets extend from beneath the eaves. The tserkva features multi-pane, rectangular windows; the windows of the chancel and the porch are topped with semicircular arches and framed by wooden surrounds. Inside, the tserkva features an original iconostasis dating back to 1880, designed in the Late Classicist style, as well as surviving side altarpieces and icons from the period between the 17th and the 19th century.

The free-standing bell tower was designed as a two-storey building on a square floor plan. It is a post-and-beam building clad with weatherboards. The lower storey is wider than the upper one and covered by a pronounced skirt roof; the narrower upper storey features rectangular openings and a tented roof clad with wood shingles and crowned by a gilt cupola with a cross on top.

The historic monument may be viewed from the outside. It may be visited upon prior appointment (for appointment please call [082] 591-48-92).

compiled by Bożena Stanek-Lebioda, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 20-11-2014.


  • Record sheet, Parish tserkva of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (...). Horostyta, compiled by B. Seniuk, 1990, Archive of the Regional Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments in Lublin, Chełm branch; Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Warsaw.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, Vol. VIII: Województwo lubelskie, issue 18: Powiat włodawski, compiled by Smulikowska E., Warsaw 1975, pp. 18-19.
  • Pelica G. J., Śladami wschodniosłowiańskiej tradycji cerkiewnej na Polesiu Lubelskim, Horostyta - Hola - Sosnowica - Dratów 2007., pp. 7-25.

General information

  • Type: tserkva
  • Chronology: 1702
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Horostyta
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district włodawski, commune Wyryki
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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