Greek Catholic St. Nicholas filial tserkva complex, Rzepedź
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Greek Catholic St. Nicholas filial tserkva complex

Rzepedź

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The tserkva complex in Rzepedź is a representative example of sacred architecture that evolved in the Lemko community. The church is classified as a Lemko tserkva of the north-eastern type, without a tower. The monument is a testimony of high building and religious culture of Lemkos and their cultural identity. The interior of the tserkva features the preserved wall paintings depicting original topics. As a sacred building complex, the tserkva with a bell tower and cemetery, surrounded by a stone wall, is an integral part of the landscape. It is a dominant feature harmoniously embedded in the surrounding landscape.

History

Both the parish and the first tserkva in Rzepedź must have been erected after 1526 (the preserved location privilege to found the village from 1526 includes a mention of 1 lan of land for the pope). The existing tserkva was built in 1824 and consecrated in 1826 (as evidenced by the Cyrillic inscription on the lintel of the door to the narthex). The tserkva was a filial church of the parish in Turzańsk already at that time. The free-standing bell tower preserved to this day is probably a bit older, since it was referred to as “old” in 1834. The church was extended by a chapel (to the south) and perhaps a sacristy (to the north) in 1896. The interior was also decorated with wall paintings and the iconostasis was renovated and complemented (work was performed by painter Josip Bukowczyk). Between 1949 and 1987, the tserkva was occasionally used as a funeral chapel of the Roman Catholic parish in Komańcza. The renovation which began in 1970 and was completed in 1983 involved partial demolition of the damaged chapel (added in 1896), the wall weatherboards and sill plates were replaced, and the roof was clad with sheet metal. In 1987, the tserkva was handed over to Greek Catholics. Complete renovation to the church was carried out in 1997-2000 (cladding the walls and roofs with wood shingles).

Description

The tserkva complex is situated in the north-western part of the village, about 30 m north of the village road, on a slope of a hill gently descending towards the road and a steep slope towards the east. The complex is surrounded by a stone fence, on the line of which from the west there is a free-standing wooden bell tower. The tserkva is oriented towards the east, situated in the centre of an oval area enclosed by the fence. A number of stone gravestones have survived in the area inside the fence. A modern cemetery stretches to the north of the complex.

Lemko tserkva. It is a tripartite church composed of a short chancel closed off on three sides and built on a rectangular floor plan, a nave wider than the chancel and built on a square floor plan, and a nave adjoining the building to the west, a narthex narrower than the nave to the west and preceded by a vestibule (both rooms on rectangular floor plans). A small rectangular sacristy adjoins the chancel to the north. The tserkva body is elongated and compact. The log structure of the chancel, nave and narthex is of equal height, the sacristy and vestibule are slightly lower. The vestibule is in the form of an open gallery with a full balustrade, given during the last renovation. The main parts of the church are covered with separate multi-plane tented roofs. Each roof features a small roof plane step which is surrounded by a profiled cornice. All roofs are topped with slender turrets with bulbous spires with faux lanterns, accentuating the mainly the inner spaces. The central turret is slightly larger and higher than the rest. The sacristy and the vestibule are covered with shed roofs.

The tserkva is set on a stone foundation. It is a wooden building, featuring a log structure, except for the vestibule that has a post-and-beam structure. The walls are clad with wood shingles and surmounted by a pronounced double-section cornice: cornice over the windows and cornice under the eaves. The roofs were covered with wood shingles, and the turrets with sheet metal. All windows are rectangular and topped with segmental arches. The lintel of the rectangular entry from the vestibule to the narthex features the preserved engraved foundation inscription. The entrance to the tserkva to the west is preceded by stone stairs.

The nave, narthex and chancel are covered with low eight-sided domes made of wooden logs and bevelled in the upper part and covered with ceilings. The passage from the narthex to the nave is open to the full width of the narthex. An overhanging choir gallery with a simple sill with a full balustrade is adjacent to the western wall of the narthex. The space between the nave and the chancel is adorned with an iconostasis. The interior is covered with painted decorations. The surviving original fixtures and fittings include, among others, an iconostasis and side altars from the first half of the 19th century.

To the west of the church, there is a free-standing wooden bell tower featuring a post-and-frame structure, convergent walls, and built on a square floor plan with severely chamfered corners. The church is a three-storey building covered with weatherboards in a vertical arrangement. Individual storeys are separated by profiled cornices, which were covered with shallow skirt roofs. The bell tower is covered with a tented roof surmounted by a turret with a faux lantern.

The vast area surrounding the tserkva features the remains of a cemetery. The oldest preserved gravestones date back to the 1830s.

Limited access to the monument. Viewing of the interior is only possible by prior telephone arrangement.

compiled by Ryszard Kwolek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszów, 20-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Bańkosz R., Cerkwie szlaku ikon, Krosno 2007
  • Brykowski R., Łemkowska drewniana architektura cerkiewna w Polsce, na Słowacji i Rusi Zakarpackiej, Warsaw 1986
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, Woj. krośnieńskie, Lesko, Sanok, Ustrzyki Dolne i okolice, prepared by E. Śnieżyńska-Stolotowa and F. Stolot, Warsaw 1982
  • Michniewscy M. and A., Duda-Gryc M., Cerkwie drewniane Karpat. Polska i Słowacja, Pruszków 2011
  • Saładiak A., Pamiątki i zabytki kultury ukraińskiej w Polsce, Warsaw 1993
  • Szematyzmy duchowieństwa grecko-katolickiego z lat 1877, 1879, 1927, 1936, 1938-39

General information

  • Type: tserkva
  • Chronology: 1824 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rzepedź
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district sanocki, commune Komańcza
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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