Orthodox parish tserkva of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Kożany
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Orthodox parish tserkva of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Kożany

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A tserkva of the so-called Russian type, exhibiting a style which gained popularity in the Podlasie region in the second half of the 19th century. Its distinguishing features are the presence of several distinct sections which comprise the tserkva: the chancel, the nave and the vestibule with a bell tower. The decorative flourishes usually present in tserkvas of this kind were the diverse arrangements of weatherboards as well as fretwork decorations of various kinds; in the case of the Kożany tserkva, these decorations were limited to window surrounds and bargeboards.

History

A tserkva in Kożany is first mentioned in a document dating back to 1621, in connection with the donation of three-quarters of a volok of land by Maciej Lewicki, the cup-bearer (cześnik) of Podlasie, the volok being a unit of measurement used in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the time (21.368 hectares in Lithuania or 17.955 hectares in Poland). However, one may suspect that a tserkva had existed there even before that date. During the 17th and 18th century, the building served as a Uniate tserkva of St George the Martyr. In 1795, a new, wooden tserkva was erected, designed on an octagonal floor plan. In 1829, the Uniate parish in Kożany was dissolved, while the villages which formed part thereof were incorporated into the parish in Ryboły in 1835. From 1839 onwards, the building served as an Orthodox church. Later on, the Kożany tserkva was dismantled, with the salvaged construction materials being used for the purposes of erecting the cemetery tserkva of St George in Ryboły in the years 1873-74. The existing tserkva was erected in the years 1883-1886. In 1905, a new, Orthodox parish in Kożany was established. In 1993, a group of artists from Saint Petersburg have created new interior wall paintings. In 2010, the outer weatherboard cladding was replaced. The interiors were restored in 2014, with both the walls and the ceiling being scrubbed free of the dirt, while some of the wooden logs forming part of the structure as well as the interior panelling being replaced.

Description

The tserkva is located at the eastern edge of the village, on the southern side of the road towards Zajączki, not far away from the Mieńka river source. It stands on a hill, surrounded by a cemetery circumscribed with a stone wall with a gate in its western section. The tserkva is oriented towards the east. It represents the so-called Russian-Byzantine style.

It was designed on a Greek cross floor plan, with two distinct sacristies flanking the chancel as well as a vestibule up front, flanked by two storerooms and topped with a bell tower. The vestibule is topped with a bell tower. Its first two storeys are designed on a square plan, while the third, uppermost storey is octagonal in shape and crowned with an eight-faced roof. Both the roof of the tower and the pyramid roof above the nave are topped with bulbous cupolas. The arms of the Greek cross structure as well as the storage rooms flanking the vestibule are topped with gable roofs, while the sacristies feature mono-pitched roofs instead.

The tserkva is made of wooden logs, its structure positioned on a stone foundation. The roofs are covered with sheet metal. The walls and gables are covered with horizontally arranged weatherboards. The corners of the structure are likewise covered with wooden boards; profiled wooden cornices are also present, while the gables are adorned with fretwork bargeboards. The small-paned windows are framed with eared surrounds. The bell openings in the tower are concealed beneath two-leaf shutters. The tserkva also features wooden ceilings and floors. Inside, there are wooden, single-flight stairs.

The entire interior of the nave is a single, open space with a slightly elevated middle section. The chancel is separated from the rest of the interior by an iconostasis. The vestibule is flanked by two small rooms, with the northern one incorporating the stairs leading up to the tower.

The fixtures and fittings of the tserkva date back to the second half of the 19th century and include a wooden, Neoclassical iconostasis as well as a pair of icon cases - one designed in the eclectic style, the other exhibiting features of the so-called Russian-Byzantine style.

The building is open to visitors.

compiled by Aneta Kułak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 04-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Keczyński E. and A., Drewniane cerkwie Białostocczyzny, Białystok - Białowieża (1998) 1999, catalogue no. 29.
  • Sosna G., Święte miejsca, cudowne ikony. Prawosławne sanktuaria na Białostocczyźnie, Białystok 2001, pp. 186-191.
  • Sosna G., Troc-Sosna A., Cerkiewna własność ziemska na Białostocczyźnie w XV-XX wieku, Białystok 2004, pp. 610-614.
  • http://kozany.cerkiew.pl/

General information

  • Type: tserkva
  • Chronology: 1883-1886
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kożany
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district białostocki, commune Juchnowiec Kościelny
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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