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Orthodox cemetery tserkva of St George, Ryboły
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Orthodox cemetery tserkva of St George



The tserkva was designed in the so-called Russian-Byzantine style, as evidenced by the typically lavish façade decorations. Its distinguishing features are its well-proportioned outline as well as its unusual silhouette which makes it stand out among the other tserkvas of the Białystok region.


The tserkva was erected in the years 1873-1874, using salvaged construction materials sourced from the Orthodox churches in Ryboły and Kożany, which had both been demolished. It was designed by a construction engineer named Łoziński, with the task of the actual oversight of construction works being entrusted to Gordey Akexeyev. It was consecrated in 1874. In 1893, the original brick flooring was replaced with a wooden one. A porch was added to the tserkva during the same period. In 1929, its original wood shingle cladding was covered with sheet metal. In 1941, the tserkva became the target of enemy fire; the necessary repairs were carried out one year later. The building underwent a comprehensive restoration in the 1990s, with the foundations being reinforced and the sill plates replaced. In addition, the works performed also involved the replacement of parts of the roof cladding.


The tserkva is surrounded by a cemetery circumscribed by a stone wall; it is situated at the southern edge of the village, near the road towards Bielsk Podlaski. The tserkva is oriented towards the east. It represents the so-called Russian-Byzantine style.

The building was designed on a floor plan approximating the shape of a Greek cross, consisting of three distinct sections each of which was erected on a rectangular floor plan: the chancel, the nave and the vestibule, the latter being adjoined by a porch which is much lower than the rest of the structure. All sections of the structure are covered with gable roofs. An octagonal steeple (faux roof lantern) crowned with a bulbous cupola rises from the roof ridge crossing.

The church is a wooden log structure, with the tower featuring a post-and-beam structure instead. The entire church rests upon concrete foundations. The roofs and the cupola are covered with sheet metal. Both the outer and the inner surfaces of the walls are clad with weatherboards. The church features wooden floors and ceilings. Both the doors, the windows and the window shutters are made of wood.

The façades feature vertical board and batten siding. The corners of the structure are likewise covered with wooden boards, with simple cornices in the form of plain bands running beneath the windows. In addition, there is also a profiled cornice positioned beneath the eaves; a serrated frieze runs just below the cornice along the edges of the gables. The windows are rectangular in shape, topped with semicircular arches and divided into a large number of small, rectangular panes. Triangular window headers are positioned above the windows which pierce the walls of the side façades. A pair of windows concealed beneath wooden shutters can be seen at the second-storey level of the vestibule. The blind windows of the turret are likewise topped with semicircular arches. A semi-circular overlight is positioned above the entrance into the porch.

The interior is a single, open space with a flat ceiling, with the chancel being separated from the rest of the interior by the iconostasis. A choir gallery rises above the vestibule.

The fixtures and fittings include a wooden iconostasis from the 2nd half of the 19th century.

The building may be viewed from the outside.

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


  • Keczyńscy E. i A., Drewniane cerkwie Białostocczyzny, Białystok - Białowieża (1998) 1999, nr kat. 66.
  • Sosna G., Fionik D., Parafia Ryboły, Bielsk Podlaski - Ryboły - Białystok 1999, str. 112-118.

General information

  • Type: tserkva
  • Chronology: 1873-1874
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Ryboły
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district białostocki, commune Zabłudów - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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