Cemetery chapel of St Anne, Siemiatycze
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Cemetery chapel of St Anne

Siemiatycze

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The wooden cemetery chapel of St Anne in Siemiatycze is one of the few surviving wooden ecclesiastical buildings in the Podlaskie province which were erected in the early 19th century. It is also the oldest surviving wooden structure in the town of Siemiatycze. The building bears testimony to the multiculturalism and religious diversity of these territories - having been erected in an ecumenical cemetery, the chapel was designed to serve the members of the Catholic, Uniate and Evangelical communities alike; today, this fact lends the chapel an added historical value.

History

The cemetery chapel was erected in 1827 and consecrated one year later by reverend Kazimierz Kubeszowski, the archdeacon of Białystok. During an inspection visit conducted in 1829, the visiting official noted that its length is 16 arshins, its width - 10 arshins, and its height - 8 arshins (the arshin being an old measurement unit used in Imperial Russia and corresponding to twenty-eight English inches - translator’s note). The roof is covered with wood shingles. It has 5 windows in total. Its double doors have sturdy metal fittings and locks. Inside, there is an altarpiece dedicated to St Anne. The chapel served the needs of not only the local Catholic community, but also the members of the Uniate (Greek Catholic) and Evangelical communities, as evidenced by a note dating back to the year 1818, which contains a number of recommendations pertaining to the use of the cemetery: It would be particularly useful and decorous to build a chapel, living quarters for the watchman and a place wherein those bodies of the dead which cannot be interred immediately could be kept, awaiting burial (...) both the Greek-Catholic and Evangelical parishioners have strongly demanded that this be done, for the whole area of this cemetery, despite its modest size, now serves two rites and two faiths. Major renovation of the chapel was carried out in 1984, when the sill plates and flooring were replaced and the window and door joinery was repaired; in addition, the building also received a new coat of paint. Further renovation works took place in 2013 and are still ongoing.

Description

The chapel is located in the ecumenical cemetery in Siemiatycze, located in the northern part of the city, with the Romana Rogińskiego, Powstania Styczniowego and Ciechanowiecka streets forming its southern, western and eastern boundaries respectively. The cemetery is surrounded with a concrete and stone wall, with entrance gates located in its southern and western sections. The chapel is situated in the south-western part of the cemetery, on the axis of the entrance gate. The structure was designed on a rectangular floor plan, with an integrated chancel featuring a semi-hexagonal end section. A two-storey tower designed on a square floor plan adjoins the western side of the building. The main body and the chancel are topped with a common, multi-pitched roof, with the tower featuring a pyramid roof instead. The wooden chapel is a log structure reinforced with vertical supports, its walls lined with weatherboards; the roof is clad with sheet metal. The façades feature a number of rectangular windows topped with segmental arches, while the chancel and the tower come equipped with circular and rectangular windows respectively. The interior features a flat ceiling. In the western side of the nave there is an organ gallery supported by two wooden pillars.

The building can be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Grzegorz Ryżewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 13-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. XII, Województwo białostockie, issue 1, Siemiatycze, Drohiczyn i okolice, compiled by Kałamajska-Saeed M., Warsaw 1996, p. 72.
  • http://siemiatycze.fotopolska.eu/478724,foto.html
  • http://www.polskaniezwykla.pl/web/place/10695,siemiatycze-drewniana-kaplica-cmentarna-sw--anny-%281827%29.html
  • Record sheet, Siemiatycze. Kaplica cmentarna pw. św. Anny, prepared by Tołłoczko J., 2000, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Białystok.

General information

  • Type: chapel
  • Chronology: 1827 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Siemiatycze
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district siemiatycki, commune Siemiatycze (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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