Orthodox cemetery chapel of the Care of the Mother of God, Mielnik
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Orthodox cemetery chapel of the Care of the Mother of God

Mielnik

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One of the oldest former Uniate wooden churches in the Podlaskie province, this chapel has managed to survive in a very good condition, its historical features virtually unchanged despite the passage of time. Today, the chapel remains the oldest ecclesiastical building in Mielnik which still performs its original function.

History

The tserkva was erected somewhere around the year 1777; according to the local tradition, the tserkva was designed to accommodate the miraculous icon of The Virgin Orans, allegedly found in the waters of the Bug river; the icon enjoyed a strong local following throughout the ages and was later relocated to the parish tserkva. The faithful believe that it was the miraculous involvement of the Virgin Mary, worshipped in the form of the sacred icon, which allowed the chapel to survive all the fires and other disasters which plagued the village of Mielnik throughout the ages, destroying various other ecclesiastical buildings in the process. The chapel was subsequently extended through the addition of a western section in the form of a quadrangular bell tower with an eight-faced roof in the years 1985-1987. In the early 21st century, the interior walls were lined with wood panelling. In 2011, the chapel façade was restored, with a new, blue paint scheme being applied.

Description

The cemetery chapel is located in the middle of the cemetery owned by the local Orthodox parish, south of Brzeska street and the parish tserkva of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Cmentarna street (Cemetery street), positioned at a right angle towards Brzeska street, leads off to the south, running all the way to the cemetery. The chapel is oriented towards the east; it was erected on a rectangular floor plan. In its western section it features a quadrangular bell tower with an eight-faced pyramid roof. A bulbous cupola supported by an octagonal base rises from the roof ridge in the middle of the main body of the chapel. The roof covering the main body of the chapel is of the gable type. The wooden chapel is a log structure reinforced with vertical supports, positioned on stone foundations bound with concrete mortar; the walls of the chapel are lined with weatherboards, while its roof is clad with sheet metal. Today, the main entrance is located in the western corner of the façade, preceded by a flight of concrete steps; the relocation of the entrance to that spot took place during the alteration works performed in 1985.

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Grzegorz Ryżewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 28-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. XII, Województwo białostockie, issue 1, Siemiatycze, Drohiczyn i okolice, compiled by Kałamajska-Saeed M., Warsaw 1996, p. 37.
  • http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaplica_Opieki_Matki_Bo%C5%BCej_w_Mielniku
  • Sosna G., Święte miejsca i cudowne ikony, Białystok 2001, pp. 202-206.

General information

  • Type: chapel
  • Chronology: 1777 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Mielnik
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district siemiatycki, commune Mielnik
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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