St. Michael Archangel's Greek Catholic parish church complex, currently a subsidiary Orthodox parish tserkva, Turzańsk
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St. Michael Archangel's Greek Catholic parish church complex, currently a subsidiary Orthodox parish tserkva

Turzańsk

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The tserkva complex in Turzańsk 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 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

The earliest mention of the tserkva in Turzańsk dates from 1526. The currently existing wooden church building was built in 1801-1803, after the previous building located elsewhere was destroyed in a fire. In 1817, a wooden bell tower was erected in front of the front façade of the church. In 1836, the main body was extended by the addition of a narthex and southern chancel annex, and the church gained the shape preserved to this day. The church underwent renovation in 1898 and 1913. In 1913, the renovation involved, including, but not limited to, replacing wood shingles covering the roof with sheet metal and enlarging windows. In 1898, the old iconostasis was modernised and equipped with icons painted by Josip Bukowczyk. Another work by Josip Bukowczyk - polychrome interior decorations - may also have come into being at that time. After the Ukrainian population was displaced in 1947, the church was abandoned. From the 1950s it was used by the Roman Catholic parish in Komańcza. In 1961 the church was closed down and two years later it was handed over to an Orthodox parish. Currently, the St. Michael Archangel's Church in Turzańsk is a subsidiary tserkva of the Orthodox parish in Komańcza. After 2013, some of the wall paintings underwent conservation. In 2013, the tserkva was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List (under the entry designated as Wooden Tserkvas of the Carpathian Region in Poland and Ukraine).

Description

The tserkva complex is situated in the western part of the village, on the northern side of the Turzańsk - Rzepedź road, on the slope of a hill which descends towards the road and the stream. The tserkva complex is surrounded by a ring of old woodland and a partially destroyed stone wall. The tserkva is oriented towards the east. A wooden bell tower stands in line with its axis to the west. Inside the perimeter wall, to the north and east, there are several gravestones. Directly behind the wall, there is a newer cemetery to its south.

Lemko tserkva. It is a wooden log structure erected on stone foundations. The church has a tripartite structure consisting of a square chancel enclosed on three sides from the east, with two adjacent sacristies on the southern and northern sides. The nave is also square in plan, slightly wider from the side of the chancel. The somewhat narrower narthex and porch of the same width adjoin the west end of the nave. The log structure of the chancel, nave and narthex is of equal height, the sacristies are slightly lower, and the porch is the lowest. The walls are clad with vertically positioned boards and surmounted by a pronounced double-section cornice over the windows and under the eaves. The main parts of the church are covered with a multi-faceted roof with a common roof ridge. The roof ridge is topped with three large slender turrets with onion domes capped with false lanterns, accentuating mainly the inner spaces. The central turret is slightly taller than the rest. The sacristy is covered with tented roofs with a spherical profile, crowned with bulbous steeples. All of the roofs and cupolas are clad with sheet metal. The entrance to the tserkva to the west is preceded by stone stairs. The tserkva’s window openings are rectangular with sectional arches carved out of the lintels. In the north and south walls of both sacristies there are small octagonal windows. The doorways are rectangular. 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 remaining rooms have flat ceilings. The passage from the narthex to the nave is open to the full width of the narthex. By the western wall there is an overhanging choir with a simple parapet fitted with a slightly bulging balustrade. Between the nave and the chancel, there is an iconostasis partition. The interior is covered with wall paintings from 1898 (under which there is an earlier paint layer). The preserved furnishings include, among others, architectural iconostasis with side altars dating from the first quarter of the 19th century and an altar table from 1898. The iconostasis is equipped with icons from 1898.

To the west of the church, there is a free-standing wooden bell tower featuring a post-and-frame structure and convergent walls. 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 two upper storeys, where the bells are hung, have small cut-out windows. The bell tower has a tented roof with a spherical profile, crowned with an onion-shaped bell turret surmounted by a false lantern. All of the roof planes are clad with sheet metal.

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

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.

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
  • Malinowscy G. and Z., Marciniszyn E. and P., Ikony i cerkwie. Tajemnice łemkowskich świątyń. Warsaw 2009
  • 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: 1801-1803
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Turzańsk
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district sanocki, commune Komańcza
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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