Orthodox parish tserkva of St Nicholas, Michałowo
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Orthodox parish tserkva of St Nicholas



The tserkva represents a type of an Orthodox church that became popular in the current Podlaskie province between the second half of the 19th century and the year 1915. It is a traditional, tripartite tserkva with lavishly decorated façades, modelled on the Russian wooden architecture of the period. Diversified weatherboarding arrangements and numerous architectural details were used to decorate tserkvas of this type. An additional artistic value of the tserkva stems from its picturesque outline, consisting of a number of distinct sections.


In the year 1900, the residents of Michałowo and the surrounding area formed a Church Construction Committee. The site for the construction of the tserkva was donated by baron Rudolf Engelhardt, the erstwhile owner of Michałowo. In 1906, the parish priest of the Nowa Wola Orthodox parish which Michałowo formed a part of granted his consent to the establishment of a separate parish. The construction works commenced in 1906, even though the official building permit was only obtained in the spring of 1907. The works were completed in 1908, when Michał, the bishop of Grodno and Brześć, consecrated the new building. In the years 1954-1955, Professor Adam Stalony-Dobrzański created the ornamental and figural painted decorations which now grace the interior of the church. In 1992, the tserkva underwent a comprehensive restoration, with some of the sill plates, structural logs as well as roof truss being replaced and the three porches being redesigned. In the course of subsequent renovation works which took place in 2008, the exterior was repainted, while the cupolas were covered with gold-effect sheet metal cladding.


The tserkva is situated in the southern part of town, on the eastern side of Białostocka street. The chancel of the tserkva faces the north-east. The building represents the so-called Russian-Byzantine style.

It was designed on a longitudinal plan; it is a tripartite structure, its individual sections being clearly distinguishable. The building consists of the chancel, the bipartite nave and the vestibule with bell tower. The chancel is a semi-decagonal structure with a five-sided roof, flanked by a pair of rectangular sacristies. The nave consists of the lower, western section, topped with a gable roof, and the tall, eastern section designed on a square floor plan, featuring two rows of windows and covered with a pyramid hipped roof with triangular gablets, surmounted by an octagonal lantern with a cupola, accompanied by four smaller cupolas resting on polygonal shafts. The bell tower with vestibule on the ground floor level is a three-storey structure, with the two lower storeys designed on a square floor plan, while the uppermost storey is an octagonal structure topped with an eight-faced spire surmounted by a bulbous cupola. Both the main entrance and the side entrances positioned in the eastern section of the nave are preceded by porches topped with gable rooflets surmounted by small cupolas, their structure supported by decorative wooden posts to which the fretwork wooden balustrades are attached.

The church is a wooden log structure, with the uppermost storey of the bell tower featuring a post-and-beam structure instead. The entire church rests upon stone foundations. The roofs are covered with painted sheet metal, while the cupolas feature gold-effect metal cladding. Both the outer and the inner surfaces of the walls are clad with weatherboards. The church features wooden floors and ceilings. The windows and doors are made of wood. The entrances feature single or double doors, all of them of the wooden panelled type, with transom lights at the top. The tserkva features decorative fretwork bargeboards and fascia boards.

The weatherboards on the façades follow a vertical pattern up to the window level; those positioned higher up the walls, on the other hand, are arranged in a horizontal pattern. The corners of the structure are likewise covered with wooden boards; profiled and dentilled wooden cornices are also present. The windows are framed with plain surrounds, with the window headers taking the form of horizontal, overhanging cornices with a triangular middle section. The windows and bell openings of the bell tower are rectangular in shape, with semi-hexagonal top sections; identical windows are also used for the ground-floor level of the nave, with those on the second floor being fully rectangular in shape. The paired windows on the second storey of the bell tower have triangular top sections.

The interior follows a tripartite layout, with the chancel being separated by an iconostasis; the eastern part of the nave features an octagonal false cupola ceiling with a roof lantern providing additional illumination; the chancel, the western part of the nave and the vestibule, on the other hand, all feature simple, flat ceilings. A choir gallery rises above the vestibule, its usable space increased through the addition of a balcony spanning across the space between the side walls and featuring a wooden balustrade running along the edge. The interior walls and ceilings are covered with wooden boards and adorned with painted decorations incorporating both ornamental and figural motifs.

The interior fixtures and fittings include an early 20th-century iconostasis, its design evidently inspired by Russian art.

The building is open to visitors.

compiled by Aneta Kułak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 06-11-2014.


  • Nos L., Monografia gminy Michałowo, Białystok 1996, p. 165.
  • Nos L., Przewodnik po gminie Michałowo, Białystok 1991, pp. 65-66.
  • http://www.przegladprawoslawny.pl/articles.php?id_n=1895&id=8

General information

  • Type: tserkva
  • Chronology: 1906-1908
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Białostocka , Michałowo
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district białostocki, commune Michałowo - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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