The parish church of St Stanislaus the Bishop, Humniska
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The parish church of St Stanislaus the Bishop

Humniska

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The church in Humniska is one of the oldest surviving wooden churches in Poland. It constitutes an exceptionally rare example of a Gothic wooden church built on a cruciform floor plan - a single-nave, clear span building with a transept-like space formed by two symmetrical chapels.

History

The parish was founded in 1409 by Benko of Żabokruki, the district governor (starosta) of Przemyśl, Sanok and Halicz. The church was erected in the 15th century; it was most likely founded by Benko himself, which means that, if proven accurate, the church is one of the oldest surviving wooden structures of this kind anywhere in Poland. The church was only consecrated in 1556. In 1699 renovation works were performed, resulting in the addition of a brick and stone sacristy. Subsequent renovation works were performed in the 18th century as well as during the second half of the 19th century. In years 1887-1889 the church was subjected to comprehensive extension and alteration works resulting in the addition of the southern chapel; further works followed in years 1898-1900, led by Maciej Wojnicki, a master carpenter. During that time, the northern chapel was built and the nave was extended westwards; other changes included the addition of porches, the modification of the sacristy and the lowering of the roofs (with the original king post truss structure preserved in parts). Despite all these alterations, the original spatial and structural layout of the building was preserved. In 1930, the original wood shingle cladding was replaced with sheet metal, while in 1932 the interior walls of the church were covered with wall paintings by Włodzimierz Lisowski of Sanok. The church was restored twice during the 20th century - in the 1950s and in years 1978-1980; during the latter restoration, the roof received copper sheet cladding and a new steeple was constructed. In 2002, certain discoveries were made inside the church, including the paintings on the ceiling beams dating back to the second half of the 15th century as well as the Renaissance paintings on the upper tie beams of the walls of the transept annexes.

Description

The church is located at the southern edge of the village, about 200 metres away from the Rzeszów-Sanok road. The area around the church is circumscribed with a modern wooden fence; apart from the church itself, there is also a brick arcaded belfry and a number of old trees standing in the yard. The church is oriented towards the east.

The church is made of wooden logs positioned on a stone foundation. The walls are reinforced with clamps and feature board and batten siding. The porches are a later addition and feature a post and beam structure.

The building features a single interior space built on an elongated rectangular plan, with an internal partition separating the chancel and the nave. Both the three-sided chancel and the nave are of the same width; the arms of the original transept (the transept annexes) are relatively short, having later been extended through the addition of two side chapels with three outside walls. A brick and stone sacristy abuts the chancel from the north, while in the south there is a wooden porch with an entrance leading into the south chapel. Another porch adjoins the nave from the west.

The church is relatively compact in shape, and consists of a cluster of smaller segments grouped around the main section. The main parts of the building, i.e. the chancel and the nave, are of equal height and are covered with a relatively low gable roof with a common ridge. The side chapels are much lower than the main body of the church.

The chancel and the nave are covered with a single gable roof with a gable end in the west; in the east, the roof terminates with three triangular sections which round off the roof structure above the chancel. The transept annexes feature shed roofs. The chapels feature gable roofs with roof ridges positioned perpendicularly towards the ridge of the main roof, terminating with three triangular sections above the three-sided ends of the chapels. Both roofs are topped with faux steeples. The sacristy and the porch near the southern chapel feature shed roofs, while the western porch is covered with a gable roof. A tall steeple with a roof lantern, crowned with an onion-shaped dome, juts upwards from the main roof ridge. The roofs are clad with copper sheets. A Gothic king post truss featuring carpenter’s assembly marks survives above the chancel and the original section of the nave.

A decorative top cornice with brackets runs around the circumference of the church; originally, it was only present on the older section of the church, i.e. on the chancel, the transept and a part of the nave.

The ceilings of the church are flat. The rood wall terminates in a semi-circular arch with a rood beam topped with a sculptural assembly depicting the Passion of Christ at its base. A choir gallery supported by four pillars connected with semi-circular arches is located in the western part of the nave. The chapels feature semi-circular arched openings leading into the transept annexes. The walls of the church are adorned with figural and ornamental wall paintings.

The fittings of the church mostly date back to the 17th and 18th centuries and include a Mannerist main altar originating from the first half of the 17th century (relocated from the demolished Capuchin church which once stood in Blizne) as well as four Late Baroque side altars from the 18th century and a Baroque ambo. Other notable features include a stone baptismal font built in the Gothic style as well as the stone stoup, both dating back to the 16th century.

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

Compiled by Ryszard Kwolek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszów, 09.09.2014.

Bibliography

  • Record sheet , Kościół parafialny w Humniskach, compiled by Czuba M., Archive of the Voivodeship Heritage Monuments Protection Office, Krosno Regional Office.
  • Czuba M., Drewniane kościoły w granicach historycznej ziemi sanockiej, mps, Archiwum NID Oddział Terenowy w Rzeszowie.
  • Brykowski R., Drewniana architektura kościelna w diecezji przemyskiej, „Nasza Przeszłość” 1976, t. 46.
  • Brykowski R., Kornecki M., Drewniane kościoły w Małopolsce Południowej, Wrocław 1984.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, Województwo rzeszowskie, Powiat brzozowski, Warszawa 1974.
  • Michniewscy M. i A., Duda M., Wypych S., Kościoły drewniane Karpat i Podkarpacia. Przewodnik, Pruszków 2001.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: XV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Humniska
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district brzozowski, commune Brzozów - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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