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Greek Catholic parish church complex of the Dormition of the Mother of God, currently the filial church of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Orthodox parish - Zabytek.pl

Greek Catholic parish church complex of the Dormition of the Mother of God, currently the filial church of the Dormition of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Orthodox parish

tserkva Szczawne


woj. podkarpackie, pow. sanocki, gm. Komańcza-gmina wiejska

The Orthodox church complex in Szczawne is a representative example of sacred architecture that evolved in the Lemko community.

The church is one of the youngest surviving examples of Lemko Orthodox churches of the north-eastern type, with a low tower over the narthex. The monument is a testimony of building and religious culture of Lemkos and their cultural identity. The interior of the Orthodox church features the preserved wall paintings depicting original topics. As a sacred building complex, the Orthodox church with a bell tower and cemetery separated by a stone wall is an integral part of the landscape. It is a particularly visible dominant feature harmoniously embedded in the surrounding landscape.


The earliest mention of the existence of a parish in Szczawne dates back to 1492. The current Orthodox church and bell tower was built by carpenter Hojsan of Płonna in 1888-1889 through the efforts of the parish. In 1925, the church was decorated with wall paintings made by a group of painters belonging to the “Widrodżennia” Society operating in Przemyśl (Paweł Zaporożski and Palija Nejło). It is worth mentioning that this group consisted of painters - officers and soldiers of the Army of the Ukrainian People’s Republic (Petlurowcy), who held a university degree and settled in Poland after heavy fights with the Red Army 1920 and routing the Ukrainian army on the territory of the Republic of Poland. After World War 2 and the deportation of the Ukrainian population to the USSR, the tserkva continued to remain abandoned. Since the 1960s, it was used as a filial church of the Orthodox parish in Morochów. In 1968, the roof of the church underwent renovation, and in 1973 the bell tower was repaired.


The Orthodox church is located north-west of the village, outside village buildings, about 150 m north of the Zagórz-Komańcza road, on a relatively steep hill slope descending towards the Osława river valley. The church is located in a levelled area of a mountain slope. A free-standing bell tower is situated on its axis, to the west. To the north of the church and bell tower, there is a small cemetery separated by a stone wall, situated in a levelled area located on the upper level than the church. The church is oriented towards the east.

It features a tripartite layout, with a chancel built on a rectangular floor plan and closed on three sides to the east, a slightly larger square nave, and a narthex that is larger than the nave and preceded by a vestibule on a rectangular floor plan. The chancel adjoins a square sacristy to the south. The church body is compact. The main parts of the building have walls of the same height, are covered with a gable roof with a common roof ridge, with three planes sloping down over the chancel. Due to the equal width of the roof, the narthex and chancel was topped with wide eaves with wooden soffit lining. The roof ridge over the chancel and the name featured large octagonal turrets with faux lanterns with bulbous cupolas. The vestibule was topped with a low quadrangular tower covered with a tented roof surmounted by a small faux lantern with a bulbous cupola. The church walls were crowned with double profiled cornices. The lower cornice is covered with a narrow sheet metal skirt roof. The sacristy is much lower than the main parts of the church and covered with a three-sloped roof.

The church is built on a high stone foundation. It is made of wood and supported by a log structure. The walls are covered with vertically positioned weatherboards and all roof planes, turrets, tower, and a drip cap covering the ground plate are clad with sheet metal. Rectangular windows with multi-quarter partitions are topped with segmental arches. The nave is pierced by tripartite windows.

The interior features a narthex opened up into the nave at its entire width and height and a chancel separated by an iconostasis. The nave is covered with a ceiling with crown moulding, the narthex and the chancel with flat ceilings. An overhanging choir gallery featuring a sill with a full balustrade is located in the narthex. The whole interior is covered with figural polychrome and painted ornamental foliate decorations. The northern wall of the vestibule bears the following inscription in the Ukrainian language: "Блажєни милостивїи яко тіи помиловани будутъ". Цєрква ця розмальована стараннєм Всєчєснійшого О. пароха і дєкана Михайла Гробєльского і вєликими жєртвами побожних парохян сєла Щавного. Роботу виконало Київськє товариство "Відроджєння" Б. В. Палія Нєїло і Павла Запорожского в Пєрємишлі вул. Смольки ч. 4.В роботі взяли участь арт.-маляри: Павло Запорожский, Борис Палій Нєїло, Микола Прасицький, Юрко Крих і Сємєн Остапчук. Року Божого 1925 в 78 м місяці журби бєзупинної по рідному краєві. (“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”. The church was pained through the efforts of very reverend father Mychajł Hrobelskoho, parish priest and dean, and great generosity of pious parishioners of the village of Szczawne. The work was made by Kijowskie Towarzystwo "Odrodzenie" B. W. Palia Nejło i Pawła Zaporożskoho in Przemyśl, based at 4 Smolki Street. The project involved the participation of artists and painters: Pawło Zaporożskyj, Borys Palij Nejło, Mykoła Prasyćkyj, Jurko Krych and Semen Ostapczuk. God’s Year of 1925 in the 78th month of the boundless grief for own country).

To the west of the church, there is a free-standing wooden bell tower featuring a post-and-beam structure and covered with vertically positioned weatherboards. The building has a square floor plan. The body was divided into three storeys separated by cornices covered with sheet metal skirt roofs. The bell tower is topped with a tented roof surmounted by an octagonal turret with a faux lantern with a bulbous cupola, covered with sheet metal.

The building can be viewed from the outside all year round; viewing of the interior is only possible by prior telephone appointment.

compiled by Ryszard Kwolek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszów, 15-10-2014.


  • 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.

Category: tserkva

Building material:  drewniane, kamienne

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_18_BK.13864, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_18_BK.218981