The St Paraskeva Greek Catholic tserkva, Ustjanowa Górna
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The St Paraskeva Greek Catholic tserkva

Ustjanowa Górna

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The tserkva is a splendid example of a phenomenon known as Latinisation, dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries and particularly common in tserkva architecture from the late 18th century onwards. One of the symptoms of this tendency was that the shape of tserkvas started resembling that of western (Latin) churches.

History

The earliest mentions of a tserkva in this location date back to 1526. At the end of the 18th century, there were two tserkvas in the village (divided into the “upper” and “lower” parts), the parish tserkva and the filial tserkva. The church which has survived to this day was erected in 1792, as evidenced by the inscription on its rood beam. At the end of the 19th century (in 1880 or 1892), the tserkva was renovated and extended through the addition of a porch abutting the church from the west and doubling as a belfry. After 1947, the church - now owned by the State Treasury - stood abandoned for many years. Conservation works were undertaken in years 1964-1965 which involved, inter alia, the replacement of wood shingles on the roofs, the dismantling of the ceiling panelling (a later addition), the replacement of the ceiling beams in the nave and the removal of pillars supporting the skirt roof. In 1971, the tserkva was transferred to the Roman Catholic Church. In 1973, the building was subjected to comprehensive renovation works, with approximately 70% of all timbers being replaced in the course thereof.

Description

The tserkva is located in the south-east part of the village at a distance of approximately 200 metres from the Sanok-Ustrzyki Dolne road, on the right hand side thereof. The area around the tserkva, irregular in shape, is surrounded by a fence incorporating both brick and wooden sections. In the north-western part of the site (right of the entrance) there is a small brick shrine, built in the Gothic Revival style. To the left of the entrance there is a wooden belfry (a modern addition), while an open-air altar is located in the nort-eastern corner. The tserkva is orientated towards the east and stands in the centre of the area. A stone gravestone can be seen near the sacristy.

The tserkva was originally designed as a tripartite structure consisting of three sections built on a square floor plan: the three-sided chancel, the narthex and the nave. The chancel and the narthex are slightly narrower than the nave. A porch (which doubled as a belfry) abuts the narthex from the west); it is slightly wider than the narthex and was added at the end of the 19th century. A large, rectangular sacristy adjoins the north side of the chancel. The shape of the church is compact, consisting of four main sections of variable height, covered with a gable roof with a common roof ridge which features a slight dip where the chancel and the porch/belfry meet the nave and narthex respectively, the roof being slightly lower above both the chancel and the porch. Due to the significant differences in width between the nave and narthex and the fact that both of them share the same roof structure, the part of the roof above the narthex features pronounced eaves with wooden soffit lining. The eastern section of the chancel roof features three triangular surface sections. The sacristy has a shed roof which joins the chancel roof to form a catslide. The roof above the nave is topped with a hexagonal steeple with a faux lantern, crowned with a small onion dome. Two other small onion domes can be seen above both the chancel and the belfry.

The tserkva is based on a log structure positioned on a stone foundation; the walls have saddle-notch corner joints (with dovetail joints being used in the western section of the building). The section serving as the porch and belfry features a post-and-frame structure. A skirt roof runs alongside the wall of the chancel, supported by stepped brackets formed by protruding ends of the logs at the building’s corners. The sanctuary roof features an attic truss, while the roof above the narthex and nave has a king post truss.

The entire tserkva is clad with wood shingles, with the exception of the lower portion of chancel walls below the skirt roof, where the log structure remains exposed. The chancel, nave and narthex are circumscribed by an apron clad with wood shingles. The windows are Inside the tserkva, the walls and ceilings are covered with wooden panelling. The ceiling is supported by wooden beams and remains at the same level throughout the church. The narthex features an overhanging choir gallery with a simple balustrade. The rood beam carries an inscription which reads „ANNO DOMINI 1792”.

The original fittings of the tserkva have been relocated to the Folk Architecture Museum in Sanok. The main altar, designed in the Rococo style and made at the end of the 18th century, originates from the church in Hoczew.

The building is available all year round and may be visited upon prior telephone appointment.

Compiled by Ryszard Kwolek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszów, 27.08.2014.

Bibliography

  • Bańkosz R., Cerkwie bieszczadzkich Bojków, Krosno 2010.
  • Brykowski R., Drewniana cerkiew w Ustianowej Górnej, pow. bieszczadzki, [w:] Materiały Muzeum Budownictwa Ludowego w Sanoku, z. 17-18, Sanok1973.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, Woj. krośnieńskie, Lesko, Sanok, Ustrzyki Dolne i okolice, Warszawa 1982.
  • Kryciński S., Cerkwie w Bieszczadach, Pruszków 1995.
  • Saładiak A., Pamiątki i zabytki kultury ukraińskiej w Polsce, Warszawa1993.
  • Szematyzmy duchowieństwa grekokatolickiego z lat 1877, 1879, 1927, 1936, 1938-39.
  • Karta ewidencyjna, Cerkiew w Ustianowej Górnej, oprac. Szanter Z., Archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków Delegatura w Krośnie.

General information

  • Type: tserkva
  • Chronology: 1792 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Ustjanowa Górna
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district bieszczadzki, commune Ustrzyki Dolne - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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