The Uniate Church of St Nicephorus The Martyr, currently the Neo-Uniate Church of St Nicetas the Martyr, Kostomłoty
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The Uniate Church of St Nicephorus The Martyr, currently the Neo-Uniate Church of St Nicetas the Martyr



The historic tserkva in currently the only Catholic Neo-Uniate Byzantine-Slavic rite parish in Poland and in the world. The church is a valuable example of tserkva architecture in the Podlasie region. History

The church was probably established along with the foundation of the parish in 1631. According to the description of 1793, it was very small, but with an annexed porch and sacristy, covered with shingles, ‘with a cupola in the centre’. The building adjoined a bell tower which was supported by four pillars. Through Józef Łoski’s efforts, owner of the village, the church was renovated in the mid-19th century. In 1874, the church was converted by the tsarist authorities to an Orthodox church and only in 1925 the services were conducted according to the Byzantine and Slavic rites and ceremonies (currently the known as ‘Neo-Uniate’ church). The restoration of the parish involved further renovations carried out between 1927 and 1930, 1980 and 1981, and in 2002. In 1953, the tower which has been destroyed by a storm a few years earlier was rebuilt; in 2000, the roof underwent complete renovation and a bulbous dome was erected. Between 1987 and 1988 the interior of the church was decorated with wall paintings; in 1999, a wooden chapel which served as an open-air altar was annexed to the tserkva. Decription

The church which is located in the south-eastern part of the village is oriented, with a chancel facing almost exactly the east. The building features log construction, covered with vertical weatherboards, reinforced with clamps, supported by a foundation. It is an aisleless church, in which a rectangular nave and a three-sided chancel are the same in width and height and are covered by a common ceiling. A choir gallery with a wooden balustrade, which rests on two pillars, is situated above the nave. The main entrance through a narrow porch which is decorated with a triangular gable end with a semi-circular window and crowned with a small quadrangular tower with a bulbous dome. A rectangular sacristy adjoins the chancel to the east. The windows of the nave are semi-circular, whereas the windows of the chancel and porch are circular in shape. The roof is covered with sheet metal; the nave and porch are covered with a gable roof, a roof consisting of three triangular sections terminates the section of the chancel and over the sacristy, and a tower is topped with a hip roof with a bulbous dome. An octagonal steeple crowned with a bulbous dome juts upwards from the nave roof ridge. Two smaller domes were also perched atop the roof ridge of the chancel and porch. The interior features an eclectic (after 1875) with icons and tsarist gates from the late 18th century. The fittings of the church include numerous nineteenth-century icons, procession flags and floats. The walls are decorated with paintings with floral and geometric motifs dating from 1988.A wooden single-storey rectory dating from the mid-19th century with distinctive weatherboard surrounds with a geometric ornament is located in the immediate vicinity of the church. The church is surrounded by uncontrolled vegetation, in the vicinity of a few tombstones, simple bell tower and new wooden chapel.   Limited access to the monument. Viewing of the church interior is only possible by prior arrangement with the rector by phone.   Compiled by Jan Niedźwiedź, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 15.09.2014.   Bibliography

  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. 8: Województwo lubelskie, issue 2: Powiat Biała Podlaska, Warsaw 2006, pp. 141-143.
  •  Maraśkiewicz J., Baszkow A., Drewniana architektura północnej części Euroregionu Bug, Biała Podlaska 2006, p. 57 et seq.
  • Maraśkiewicz J., Semeniuk A., Drewniane budownictwo sakralne, powiat Biała Podlaska, Lublin 2001, pp. 64-65.

General information

  • Type: tserkva
  • Chronology: 1631
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kostomłoty
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district bialski, commune Kodeń
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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