Filial Church of St Mary of the Snows, Olszowa
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Filial Church of St Mary of the Snows

Olszowa

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The church in Olszowa is one of the three wooden churches in the Parish of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. The time of their construction is not determined unambiguously, but they all share the date 1748 when they were built or thoroughly altered. The churches are similar which makes them stand out among a large group of wooden churches in the Opole voivodeship: their distinctive feature is a low tower incorporated into the body of the church.

History

The village was founded in the 13th century. The first mention of it dates from 1302, when Olszowa was mentioned among the villages obliged to give tithes to the Cistercian monastery in Jemielnica. From the beginning the village belonged to the parish in Klucz mentioned in records since 1319. The wooden church is described in the reports on seventeenth-century visits; until around 1688, it was dedicated to St. Hedwig. Today’s form of the church dates from 1748 when it was altered, or perhaps erected anew. It was renovated in 1988 and 2007. The whole structure was covered with weatherboards in the second half of the 20th century.

Description

The church is located at the eastern edge of the village, at the fork of roads leading to Zimna Wódka and the fields. It is oriented towards the east, situated in a rectangular cemetery, surrounded by a stone wall. In front of the church, there is a stone cross with a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary placed in the niche.

The church is made of wood and is designed in Baroque style. It was built as a log structure and post-and-beam structure (tower), on a stone and brick foundation. The building consists of a wider with a floor plan in the shape resembling a square, joined by diagonal walls with a short chancel closed off on three sides. To the west, the nave adjoins a square tower, to the north it adjoins the chancel — sacristy with a founder's gallery on the upper level, which can be accessed via stairs running against the wall of the nave. The body of the church is dominated by a newer polygonal steeple turret located over the eastern edge of the nave and covered with a pyramidal roof. The roofs over the tower and nave share the ridge. The northern planes of the roofs over the nave and the much lower chancel are extended, forming wide eaves beside the nave and hiding the sacristy with a gallery next to the chancel. The stairway annex is covered by a lean-to roof. All roofs are clad with wood shingles; façades were covered with vertically positioned weatherboards in recent times. The windows are topped with flat arches and glazed with stained glass.

Under the nave there is a flat ceiling, the chancel is covered with a flat ceiling with crown moulding, and the sacristy and the tower are topped with beamed ceilings. The profiled rood beam features a Baroque Crucifixion group. The choir gallery featuring a simple parapet is supported by two pairs of pillars with decorative capitals. The founder's gallery opens to the interior with a bipartite rectangular opening. The fixtures and fittings include, among others, Baroque frame main altar with a contemporary painting depicting the Adoration of Saint Mary of the Snows; architectural Baroque side altars with paintings from the 18th century and contemporary paintings; Classicist pulpit with paintings depicting Four Evangelists and a folk sculpture of the Pensive Christ. The whole interior is covered with weatherboards in natural wood colour.

The structure can be viewed from the outside; the interior is open to visitors during services or by arrangement with the parish priest.

compiled by Ewa Kalbarczyk-Klak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Opole, 22-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. VII, issue 14, T. Chrzanowski and M. Kornecki (eds.), pp. 35-36.
  • Emmerling D., Wierzgoń A., Opolskie kościoły drewniane, Opole 2006, p. 58.
  • Parochie Klutschau und Ihre Holzkirchen, nn, Schlesische Provinzialblätter, 1873, B.12, H. 10, 493-494 and H.11, p. 532 (fig.)

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: poł. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wiejska 2, Olszowa
  • Location: Voivodeship opolskie, district strzelecki, commune Ujazd - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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