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Complex of Greek Catholic parish tserkva of St Paraskevia, currently the branch of the Borderlands Museum - Zabytek.pl

Complex of Greek Catholic parish tserkva of St Paraskevia, currently the branch of the Borderlands Museum

tserkva Radruż


woj. podkarpackie, pow. lubaczowski, gm. Horyniec-Zdrój-gmina wiejska

A tserkva in Raduż, with its entire historical heritage, monumental form and structural solutions, belongs to most valuable and the oldest wooden tserkvas preserved in the territory of Poland.

The feature is an outstanding work of architecture of this type, features a quadrangular cupola over the nave and presents unique structural values and painted décor. Its significance for the overall history of wooden Orthodox architecture is underlined by the presence of close relations in structural terms with several preserved, 16th-century tserkvas located on the Polish and Ukrainian borderland in Gorajec, Potylicz and Wola Wysocka. They were all erected by professional masters drawing from the experiences of the Late Gothic carpentry. The inscription of the building to the UNESCO World Heritage List is a sign of appreciation and acknowledgement of its unique value.


The first confirmed information about the parish and tserkva of Raduż comes from the conscription register of 1531. The currently existing temple is dated by most researchers to the fourth quarter of the 16th century. It is surmised that it was founded in 1583 by the Starost of Lubaczów, Jan Płaza. Comparative studies related this feature to a group of several 16th-century temples of the East Roztocze (among others, Gorajec, Wola Wysocka, Potylicz). The construction date of the tserkva is confirmed by a wall painting preserved on the eastern wall of the nave, dated precisely at 1648. In 1743 the tserkva was in a bad shape and needed far-reaching repairs. Renovation works were carried out in the 3rd quarter of the 18th century (a belfry, initially located over the narthex, was probably demolished at that time and cloister-type walkways were altered). A free-standing belfry must have been erected at that time, as previous descriptions of visits had not mentioned it. Around 1825 the tserkva complex was surrounded by a stone fence, which replaced the previous wooden fence. Subsequent renovation works in the complex were carried out in 1832 and 1845 (it is surmised that the music gallery was altered around that time). In the second half of the 19th century a morgue building made of stone was erected - the so-called Diak’s House. In 1927 liturgical openings in the iconostasis were altered and small-scale renovations of the feature were performed. After 1944, following the relocation of the Ukrainian residents of the area, the tserkva was abandoned. The complex gradually went into decay. In 1959 it became the property of the State Treasury. In the years 1959-1960 protection works were conducted and in the years 1964-1966 a full-scale renovation of the temple and other component parts of the tserkva complex was carried out. During the works the primary figurative and ornamental wall paintings, currently dated as 17th century, were discovered. In 1994 the bell tower and roofing of the fence underwent renovation, while a partial replacement of shingled roofing of the tserkva continued from 1996 to the years 2000-2001. In 2002 the wooden roof shingles over the morgue were replaced. Since 2010 the complex has been a property of the Borderland Museum in Lubaczów. In 2013, the tserkva was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List (under the entry designated as Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine).


The tserkva complex is located in the centre of the village. The complex area is delineated by a stone fence upon an oval footprint. The centre of the square features a tserkva, whereas a free-standing bell tower is located to the north-west. The fence includes two gates leading to cemeteries: a smaller one in the south-west and a larger one in the north-east. A small, masonry morgue adjoins the eastern gate in the north (also called the Diak’s House), added to the stone fence on its external side. A former tserkva cemetery with several preserved tombstones from the 17th-19th century lies within the fenced area. The tserkva complex is surrounded by a group of old trees (maples, oaks and a lime), all approx. 80-120 years old.

The tserkva is oriented towards the east; it has a tripartite floor plan with a chancel, nave and narthex set on square plans. A narrower chancel adjoins the broader nave in the east, while a narrower narthex adjoins the nave in the west. A dominating element in the body is the nave, surmounted by a quadrangular log-structured cupola with one broken pattern, crowned with a faux lantern and an iron crucifix. The chancel and narthex are considerably lower than the nave; they are covered with gable roofs. Roof ridges of chancel and narthex roofs reach to the height of a cornice that crowns the nave’s log structure. The building’s body is enriched in the lower part by pronounced, open cloister-type walkways covered with mono-pitched roofs. The tserkva was erected by applying a log structure. It was built on a foundation made of quarry stones. The logs of the structure (from the third to the fifth row of logs) project in the form of profiled rafter tails. External walls are reinforced by low studs. Cloister-type walkways that circumscribe the tserkva have a post-and-beam structure strengthened by braces. The nave, chancel and narthex are covered with log vaults: a four-field cupola with one broken pattern over the nave, reinforced on the inside by means of an elaborate system of two-level ties; two-sloped log vaults over the chancel and narthex. Brackets are installed on beams of the head-piece and beams of the nave’s ties. Formerly, a small bell turret was found over the narthex; one of its traces is a short beamed ceiling preserved in the western part of the narthex. The log structure of the walls below the roof of cloister-type walkways remained bare; beyond, the tserkva is fully clad with wood shingles. The windows are varied in shape: larger and rectangular in the nave, three small oculi in the walls of the cupola’s broken pattern, one small rectangular opening in the chancel. The western wall of the narthex features a rectangular, oak portal with wide jambs and a pronounced lintel cut out in the pattern of a trefoil arch. The portal in the southern wall of the nave has an analogical form as the western one, with an epitaph inscription in Old Church Slavic cut out in the lintel, reading: „ZDIE LEZI SŁAWETNYJ PAN WASYLIJ DUBNIEWYCZ P[RESTAWSZY] R B 1699 MARTA 6”. On the southern, internal wall of the nave, within the cloister-type walkways, a painted crucifix has survived. It features an inscription in the Cyrillic script: R B (Year of the Lord) 1648.

In the interior, on a log wall between the nave and the chancel, three low, symmetrically arranged rectangular door openings of the lower row of the iconostasis were cut out. The narthex opens towards the nave by a wide passage formed by profiled planks of the log structure, projecting in steps. The wall’s logs above the passage feature a large, circular clearance. An analogous circular dormer is found on an opposite wall housing an iconostasis. The music gallery is situated in the nave at the narthex wall; it rests on logs and two pairs of decorative, wooden columns. The nave (on the iconostasis wall) and the chancel (on the northern wall) feature figurative and ornamental wall paintings dating back to 1648. Elements of the historical fittings of the tserkva are exposed in the interior: an iconostasis (first half of the 17th century - second half of the 18th century), two side altars (mid 18th century), collator bench (17th century), procession crucifix (1742), Holy Sepulchre (1830), stone holy water font (18th/19th century). A significant part of the equipment (icons, paraments and liturgical books) is found in museums: Borderland Museum in Lubaczów, Museum-Castle in Łańcut, Museum of Ukrainian Art in Lvov.

A distinctive element of the complex is a free-standing, wooden bell tower established on a square floor plan. It is a two-storey building with an overhanging starling featuring an open gallery. On the ground floor there is a spacious and tall wood-shingle cut-off wall that encloses the ground plate. The roof in a lower part is tented, four-sloped, giving way to a pyramid, eight-faced wall in the upper part. The bell tower is made of wood, based on a post-and-frame structure. Posts are reinforced on three levels by rafters, raking shores, brackets and cross-braces, the so-called “St Andrew’s cross.” The belfry is clad with wood shingles on nearly entire external surface (except for a lower part of starling covered with vertical weatherboarding).

The morgue (the so-called Diak’s House) is a small building erected on a rectangular floor plan; it has one storey made of lime stone and covered with plasterwork. The building’s body is compact and features a tall hip roof covered with wood shingles, with small semi-gables in the form of dormer windows in the south and north. The western wall (forming a part of the surrounding wall) is preceded by an arcade formed by four wooden pillars reinforced by brackets and supporting the roof slope. The south façade includes a rectangular entrance and a rectangular window; the second window in located the north façade. The single-bay interior is covered with a beamed ceiling.

The surrounding fence with gates in the east and west was made of lime stone of irregular pattern. On the outside, the wall is reinforced with buttresses and on the inside, it is partitioned by rectangular niches. The wall is crowned with a gable roof clad with wood shingles.

Tombstones have been preserved within the fenced area: a gravestone of Katarzyna Dubniewicz from around 1682, a gravestone from 1729, a gravestone crucifix probably from the turn of 17th and 18th century, a gravestone of Zofia Krynicka from 1887, a gravestone of the Andruszewski family from the late 19th century.

The museum site is accessible all year round.

compiled by Ryszard Kwolek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszów, 19-11-2015.


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Category: tserkva

Building material:  drewniane

Protection: Register of monuments

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_18_ZE.6342