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Parish church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross - Zabytek.pl

Parish church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

church Tokary


woj. podlaskie, pow. siemiatycki, gm. Mielnik

The church in Tokary is the only building of its kind in the Podlasie region which was designed in the so-called national style, inspired by the architecture of the mountainous Zakopane region.

It is also one of the few known and implemented designs by Wincent Wdowiszewski (1849-1906), an engineer, architect, art historian and writer, director of the municipal construction department in Cracow and member of the Art History Commission of the Polish Academy of Learning, co-founder of the Association of Enthusiasts of the History and Monuments of Cracow as well as an author of not just research documents, but also numerous popular comedies and novels - a man who, at the end of his life, chose to donate all of his valuable collection to the National Museum.


Initially the Tokary parish was based in the nearby village of Wilanowo, where a church is known to have existed as early as 1527. In 1866, the church was closed down and demolished - an act intended as a form of retaliation in the wake of the thwarted January Uprising. The salvaged construction materials obtained from the demolished structure was later 7used for the purposes of construction of a cemetery tserkva of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Telatycze. In 1919, the parish was re-established, although this time it was based in Tokary. In 1922, the parishioners had the old church from Wilanowo (converted into a tserkva) relocated to Tokary and converted into a rectory which also contained a chapel where church service could be held. The existing, wooden church was constructed in 1935, based on the design produced by the architect Wincenty Wdowiszewski (1849-1906); the new building was designed in the so-called national style, inspired by the architecture of the Zakopane region. The consecration of the church took place on June 13, 1935, with Kazimierz Bukraba, the bishop of Pińsk (died 1946) conducting the ceremony. The church has managed to survive the Second World War, despite the fact that the village itself was now divided by the new state border. In years 1992-1998, the entire building underwent a comprehensive restoration, including the roof which was now clad with copper sheets. In years 1998-2012, a new fence was erected, as were the granite stairs leading up to the church. Various works were also carried out inside the church.


The church is located in the north-western part of the village, on the eastern side of the road leading across the village towards Klukowicze and Wilanowo. The church itself is situated deep within the surrounding cemetery, approximately 50 metres east away from the nearby road. The church, designed in the national style (Zakopane style) is oriented towards the east; it was erected on a Latin cross floor plan, its chancel both narrower and lower than the nave and featuring a semi-hexagonal end section. The chancel is flanked by the sacristy and treasury annexes. The tower adjoining the western side of the church was designed on a square floor plan; it is a two-storey structure tapering towards the top, crowned with a roof lantern and cupola. A porch is positioned on the ground floor level of the tower. The church is covered with a gable roof, with the roofs of the transept and the chancel being of the gablet and multi-pitched type respectively. The building is a wooden log structure positioned on stone foundations, its roofs clad with copper sheets. The nave is flanked by cloister-like walkways (known in Polish as soboty), supported by roughly rectangular wooden posts supported by diagonal braces.

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Grzegorz Ryżewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 03-11-2014.


  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. XII, Województwo białostockie, issue 1, Siemiatycze, Drohiczyn i okolice, compiled by Kałamajska-Saeed M., Warsaw 1996, p. 77.
  • http://www.drohiczynska.pl/?action=parafia&id=87
  • Diecezja Drohiczyńska. Spis parafii i duchowieństwa 2004, compiled by Rostkowski Z., Drohiczyn 2004, pp. 409-411.
  • Koziara E., Antopol- Tokary. Wskrzeszone wspomnienia, Radzyń Podlaski 2010, pp. 133-136.
  • Łoza S., Architekci i budowniczowie w Polsce, Warszawa 1954, p. 324.

Category: church

Building material:  drewniane

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_20_BK.60657, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_20_BK.167878