Orthodox tserkva of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, Nowa Wola
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Orthodox tserkva of the Nativity of St John the Baptist

Nowa Wola


A tripartite tserkva designed in the Russian-Byzantine style, characterised by the presence of lavish, meticulously crafted fretwork decorations. During the second half of the 19th century, many tserkvas of this kind were erected in the Białystok district.


The Uniate parish of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Nowa Wola was established in 1743 by Anna Radziwiłł. During the early 19th century, count Michał Dziekański, the owner of the nearby village of Hieronimowo, donated a substantial amount of funds to the tserkva. In 1839, the entire parish converted to Orthodox Christianity. It is possible that the name of the tserkva could have been changed to that of St Michael the Archangel during this very period. Due to the relatively small size and poor state of conservation of the existing church, in 1906 the cornerstone for the construction of a new tserkva of the Nativity of St John the Baptist was laid. In 1908, the newly erected tserkva was consecrated. The old tserkva and the accompanying rectory were both lost to the blaze in 1915. In years 1949 and 1960, the tserkva underwent restoration. In 1991, a comprehensive renovation followed, encompassing both the wall structure and roof truss; in addition, fungicidal agents were applied to the outer and inner surfaces of the walls, which were subsequently repainted.


The tserkva is situated in the middle of the village, near the junction of the roads from Michałowo to Suszcza and from Hieronimowo to Juszkowy Gród. It is surrounded by a cemetery circumscribed by a stone wall with a triple gate. The chancel of the tserkva faces the south-east. The tserkva represents the so-called Russian-Byzantine style.

It is a tripartite structure consisting of the nave designed on a Latin cross floor plan, a chancel flanked by a pair of annexes and featuring a semi-hexagonal end section as well as a transversely positioned, rectangular narthex topped with a bell tower, its lower section designed on a quadrangular plan, while the upper storey is octagonal in shape. The main and side entrances into the nave are preceded by open porches supported by profiled pillars. An octagonal tholobate supporting a roof lantern topped with a bulbous cupola rises above the central section of the nave, its walls crowned with triangular gables. The chancel features a five-sided roof with a cupola on top, while the side annexes are covered with mono-pitched roofs. The individual sections of the nave, the open porches and the narthex all feature gable roofs, while the bell tower is graced by a pyramid-shaped roof with a small cupola on top.

The tserkva is made of wooden logs, its structure positioned on a stone foundation. The roofs are covered with sheet metal. The walls are covered with weatherboards inside and out. The windows are divided into small, rectangular panes. The floors and the ceilings are made of wood.

The weatherboards on the façades follow a herringbone pattern up to the window level; those positioned higher up the walls, on the other hand, are arranged in a vertical pattern. The gables are covered with vertically positioned weatherboards with rounded edges. The corners of the structure are likewise covered with wooden boards, with simple cornices in the form of plain bands running beneath the windows. The bargeboards feature decorative, serrated edges. The windows are framed with decorative surrounds with dentilled window headers. The windows on the lower level are rectangular in shape, while those gracing the gables and the tholobate feature triangular top sections. The porches are adorned with fretwork decorations. The walls of the top section of the bell tower are framed with decorative pillars.

Inside, the central section of the nave is separated by curtain walls supported by paired columns and topped with an eight-faced faux vaulted ceiling on pendentives, with the roof lantern above providing additional illumination. The remaining sections of the tserkva feature flat ceilings. The chancel is separated from the rest of the interior by an iconostasis. The narthex features a pair of auxiliary rooms; the choir gallery is positioned directly above the narthex.

The fixtures and fittings include an early 20th-century Baroque Revival iconostasis as well as four icon cases from the same period.

The historical monument is open to visitors.

compiled by Grażyna Rogala, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 18-12-2014.


  • Keczyński E. and A., Drewniane cerkwie Białostocczyzny, Białystok - Białowieża (1998) 1999, catalogue no. 47.
  • Nos L., Monografia gminy Michałowo, Białystok 1996, pp. 172-173.
  • Nos L., Przewodnik po gminie Michałowo, Białystok 1999, pp. 75-76.
  • Sosna G., Troc-Sosna A., Cerkiewna własność ziemska na Białostocczyźnie w XV-XX wieku, Białystok 2004, pp. 645-651.
  • http://www.przegladprawoslawny.pl/articles.php?id_n=2364&id=8

General information

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


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