Former Uniate tserkva, currently the parish church of the Holy Trinity, Rokitno
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Former Uniate tserkva, currently the parish church of the Holy Trinity

Rokitno

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The building constitutes a rare and valuable example of a wooden, 19th-century domed tserkva in the southern Podlasie region.

History

The first tserkva to be constructed on the site was built back in 1704, with the funds being provided by Trochim Zachor. The building was subsequently torn down in 1859 when the new tserkva was complete, its construction having started back in 1852. The tserkva remains in use until this day. In years 1874-1918, the Russian authorities had the tserkva converted from a Uniate to an Orthodox one. In 1919, a Roman Catholic parish was established in Rokitno and the tserkva became a parish church. During the interwar period, a bell tower was added to the front part of the building. In 2014, the process of restoration of the church has begun, with 15 years having passed since the most recent renovation works carried out back in 1999.

Description

The church - formerly a Uniate tserkva - is situated in the central part of the village. The tserkva, is oriented towards the east, is a wooden log structure positioned on brick foundations, its walls covered with weatherboards on both sides. The building was designed on a cruciform floor plan and is covered by an octagonal dome. A rectangular chancel flanked by a pair of sacristies is located on the eastern side of the nave. A rectangular porch abuts the nave to the north, with a two-storey tower rising above. The floors inside the church are made of wooden boards, with the chancel floor being two steps higher than that of the rest of the church. Both the ceilings and the underside of the dome are clad with wooden boards. All façades - with the exception of the tower - are topped with a cornice beneath which runs a fretwork frieze. The windows, topped with semicircular arches, are adorned with decorative surrounds with a stellar-shaped upper section; the same motif is carried over to the oculi in the gable walls of the nave and the chancel, which also feature nearly identical, star-shaped surrounds. The gable roofs of the church are clad with sheet metal, much like the octagonal dome, designed on a square plan with truncated corners and featuring a roof lantern crowned by a bulbous cupola which is topped with a sphere surmounted by a cross; the roof lantern actually only serves a decorative purpose since all of its openings are blanked off. The tower is a post-and-frame structure with a narrower upper section, crowned by a quadrangular lantern with a pyramid-shaped spire on top. The interior décor and fittings incorporate elements of Baroque design. The main altarpiece incorporates the painting of the Holy Trinity dating back to the mid-19th century, with the upper sections of the side altarpieces being adorned by paintings originating from the second half of the 18th century, back when the building was still a Uniate tserkva; the painting on the left altarpiece is “St Joseph with Child Jesus” (painted on board), while the one on the right altarpiece is a portrayal of St Peter. In front of the altarpiece there is a votive icon dating back to 1704, incorporating the portrayal of Christ Crucified adored by four kneeling male figures. At the bottom there is an inscription referring to Trochim Zachor, the founder of the original Uniate tserkva which had once stood near this very spot. A gallery with a pump organ, constructed in the late 19th/early 20th century, rises above the porch.

The site is accessible to visitors; viewing of the church interior is only possible before or after church service or by arrangement with the parish priest.

compiled by Jan Niedźwiedź, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 15-12-2015.

Bibliography

  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. 8: Województwo lubelskie, issue 2: Powiat Biała Podlaska, edited and compiled by K. Kolendo-Korczakowa, A. Oleńska, M. Zgliński, Warsaw 2006, pp. 212-213.
  • Maraśkiewicz J., Baszkow A., Drewniana architektura północnej części Euroregionu Bug, Biała Podlaska 2006, p. 58.
  • Maraśkiewicz J., Semeniuk A., Drewniane budownictwo sakralne, powiat Biała Podlaska, Lublin 2001, pp. 85-86.

General information

  • Type: tserkva
  • Chronology: 1852 - 1859
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rokitno
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district bialski, commune Rokitno
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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