Uniate parish church, currently the St Michael the Archangel Orthodox parish church, Orla
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Uniate parish church, currently the St Michael the Archangel Orthodox parish church



A temple belonging to the group of Baroque Uniate tserkvas on an octagonal plan, popular in the area between Bielsk Podlaski and Orla in the second half of the 18th century.


The parish in Orla existed already at the beginning of the 16th century. At first, it bore the name of Saint Simeon Stylites. In the first half of the 17th century, the church adopted the Union of Brest. The church burned down in 1794. It was rebuilt between 1796 and 1797. From 1839 onwards — Orthodox. The first repair (bracing with studs) took place in 1810; another one - in 1836 (lining the cupola with sheet metal, replacing wooden floor with bricks) and in 1870s (casing the entrance hall, laying a new floor, setting a new iconostasis, adding a sacristy). During World War I, it was taken over by the Germans and adapted to a grain warehouse. In the years 1928-1929, it underwent an extensive restoration, repair of foundations, roof cover replacement and facade repainting. In the years 1979-1982, it underwent another general restoration, consisting in reconstructing the tserkva by use of old materials and enlarging the presbytery by 1.2 m.


The tserkva, located at Kleszczelewska Street, in the area of the nearby cemetery; oriented to the east. It is an example of Baroque architecture.

It consists of an octagonal nave including a presbytery, a two-story sacristy with a choir gallery on the first floor and two sacristies that flank the presbytery. The nave body is covered by an eight-faced roof, the porch with a gable roof, while the sacristy with a pent roof. Roof ridge, naves and porch are crowned with an onion-like cupola ceiling on gorges. Windows with decorative surrounds are locked from the top with a two-slope overhanging arch.

The tserkva is made of log timber and rests on a foundation made of split stone bound by cement mortar. Walls covered with vertical board and batten siding. The roof and cupolas are lined with galvanised sheet metal. Window and door frames made of wood; frame, multi-panel windows; two-winged, planked main entrance door. Hardwood floors and ceilings. Internal wooden string stairs.

The interior is partitioned into three naves by quadrangular pillars. The choir gallery expanded by a balcony enclosed by a baluster.

Equipment from the 19th century: wooden iconostasis and two icon cases (examples of Russian Orthodox art).

Accessible historic building.

compiled by Aneta Kułak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Bialystok, 15-09-2014.


  • Karta ewidencyjna, Cerkiew gr.-kat. ob. cerkiew prawosławna parafialna pw. św. Michała Archanioła w Orli, oprac. Narolewska E., Pawluczuk M, 2000, Archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Białymstoku oraz Archiwum Narodowego Instytutu Dziedzictwa w Warszawie.
  • Sosna G., Troc-Sosna A., Cerkiewna własność ziemska na Białostocczyźnie w XV-XX wieku, Białystok 2004, str. 282-288.
  • Sosna G., Fionik D., Orla na Podlasiu. Dzieje Cerkwi, miasta i okolic, Bielsk Podlaski-Ryboły-Białystok 1997.

General information

  • Type: tserkva
  • Chronology: 1796-1797
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Orla
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district bielski, commune Orla
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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