Szlak białostockich świątyń
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Szlak białostockich świątyń

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Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven – church complex consisting of the cathedral
Białystok

one hour

The complex consists of two conjoined churches, with the smaller church - habitually referred to as the “white church” - being the oldest church and mausoleum in Białystok, funded and then regularly redecorated by the successive owners of the town, who lived in the nearby residence - initially a manor house, subsequently followed by one of the most resplendent Baroque palaces anywhere in Poland, erected in the 18th century. The cathedral - often referred to as the “red church” - was designed in the Gothic Revival style and came into being in the difficult times of the Partitions of Poland, when both Poles and Catholics in general were facing tremendous difficulties in the course of their everyday lives. Today, the complex presents a substantial historical and architectural value.

History

The first Catholic church to be built on this site owes its existence to the Wiesiołowski family, who chose the town of Białystok as their main place of residence, erecting a manor house for themselves. The masonry church was erected in the years 1617-1625, with the funds for both the construction of the church and for its interior fixtures and fittings being provided by Piotr Wiesiołowski. The building was erected on the site of an earlier, wooden church which had been lost to the blaze; this church had also been founded by Piotr Wiesiołowski many years before. After Piotr Wiesiołowski died, his son, Krzysztof, took it upon himself to serve as the benefactor of the church until his death in 1637, when his wife, Aleksandra, took over his duties; it was at her initiative that the turrets forming part of the perimeter wall were built. In the mid-18th century, the successive owner of the town - Jan Klemens Branicki - redesigned the church in the Baroque style. In years 1760-1763, Branicki also erected a two-storey brick rectory, located east of the church, with a courtyard preceding its front façade; there was also a garden, located on the northern side of the structure. After Jan Klemens Branicki died, his widowed wife, Izabela Branicka, handed over the task of maintenance of the church in 1806 to the Vincent de Paul Institute of Missionary Priests which she had established. The parish remained under its administration until 1846 and was then taken over by the local diocese. The increase in the local Catholic population and the incorporation of the surrounding villages into the parish has resulted in a situation where the existing church was much too small to cater to the needs of the faithful; as a result, towards the end of the 19th century, the efforts to obtain the permit for the construction of a new church have begun, initiated by reverent Wilhelm Szwarc. However, all that the Imperial Russian authorities were prepared to allow was the extension of the existing church. In the year 1900, the construction of a Gothic Revival church which would adjoin the eastern side of the main body of the existing building began, with both the chancel of the old church and parts of its perimeter wall being demolished for this purpose. The design for the new building was created by Józef Pius Dziekoński. In 1907, the church was finally completed, allowing it to be consecrated shortly thereafter. In 1909, a Gothic Revival perimeter wall was constructed in front of the façade of the new church. In 1938, as the street grid was being readjusted, the wall was torn down, with a new, concrete retaining wall being erected in order to prevent the hill from subsiding; a flight of steps leading towards the cathedral entrance was incorporate into the structure of the retaining wall. The wall is surmounted by the sculptures of St Peter and St Paul as well as a modern sculpture of pope John Paul II, positioned on the eastern section thereof.

Description

The cathedral complex is located in the north-eastern part of the Kościuszko market square (known today as the John Paul II Square), on a small hill reinforced by a retaining wall from the south; the front flight of steps leading across this wall is supplemented by two side stairways positioned towards the east and west. The main stairway is flanked by the sculptures of St Peter and St Paul. The eastern section of the wall is surmounted by the sculpture of pope John Paul II. The most important part of the complex are the two conjoined churches: the old parish church from 1726, located in the western part of the complex and surrounded by the partially preserved western section of the perimeter wall with tower (mid-18th century) and the monumental Gothic Revival cathedral adjoining the eastern side of the said church, erected in 1907 and positioned perpendicular to the main body of the older structure. The rectory is located in the eastern part of the complex, its front façade facing the south; the building is surrounded by a fence.

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Grażyna Rogala, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 22-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Białystok. Kościół prokatedralny pw. Wniebowzięcia NMP, cz. 1. Dokumentacja historyczno-architektoniczna, compiled by J. Pyzia, Białystok 1982, typescript of the Polish Monument Conservation Workshops (PPKZ), archive of the Regional Office of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok; Jabłoński K. A.,
  • Biały i Czerwony. Kościoły białostockiej parafii farnej, Białystok 2008, pp. 9-132.

The parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven
Białystok

30 minutes

The oldest surviving building in Białystok. The church, with its single-nave layout and a single tower, exhibits features of both the Gothic style (the layout, the overall silhouette, the buttresses supporting the walls), the Renaissance style (the entrance portal, the tower with its cupola topped with a tall, gloriette-like roof lantern) and the Baroque style (interior, fixtures and fittings); throughout the ages, it has also served as the mausoleum of both its benefactors and the successive owners of the town of Białystok: Piotr Wiesiołowski as well as the members of the Branicki family of the Gryf (Griffin) coat of arms, including, in particular, Jan Klemens Branicki, whose involvement has brought upon the era in the city’s history which is now considered to be its halcyon days. Today, the building retains a significant historical and artistic value, its importance reaching far beyond the region in which it is located.

History

The church was originally erected in 1617 at the request of the erstwhile owner of the town of Białystok, Piotr Wiesiołowski. The name of the benefactor as well as the date of construction of the church are proudly displayed on a silver plaque which was discovered in 1902 beneath the foundations of the altarpiece. After Piotr Wiesiołowski’s death, the construction efforts were carried on by his son, Krzysztof. The works were finally completed in 1625, with the consecration of the church taking place during the following year; the ceremony was conducted by Eustachy Wołłowicz, the bishop of Vilnius. Thanks to generous donations, the church has received excellent fixtures and fittings which were all ready by the end of the 1620s. After Krzysztof’s death in 1637, his wife Aleksandra took over the patronage over the church; it was at her initiative that the church cemetery was surrounded with a wall with low, polygonal turrets. In the early 18th century, Stefan Mikołaj Branicki commenced the renovation of the church. The subsequent owner of the lands surrounding Białystok, Jan Klemens Branicki, wanted the church to be redesigned in the Baroque style so that it could serve both as a representational palace chapel and a mausoleum. It was at that point that the shape of the windows was altered, with new, oval oculi being added; inside, galleries opening towards the chancel through arcaded apertures now rose above the sacristy and the treasury, while a series of alcoves crowned by semi-domes was added in the walls of the nave. The vaulted ceilings and walls were now graced by painted decorations, while the flooring was replaced, with three crypt entrances being added. Branicki also provided the funds for new side altarpieces as well as the sepulchral monument commemorating Stefan Mikołaj Branicki and his wife. After J. K. Branicki’s death, his wife Izabela Branicka extended her patronage over the church; before her death in 1808, she handed over the responsibility for the church to the Institute for Missionary Priests. The parish remained under its administration until 1846 and was then taken over by the local diocese. In the mid-19th century, the church underwent renovation works. In the year 1900, the construction effort referred to somewhat misleadingly as “extension works” began, with a completely new, Gothic Revival church being constructed east of the church, on the adjacent piece of land. This resulted in both the chancel of the old church and a part of its perimeter wall being torn down. The altarpiece was now placed against the eastern wall. The church itself underwent a full-scale restoration.

Description

The church is situated on a small hill in the city centre; it is partially surrounded by a perimeter wall. The eastern side of the main body of the church adjoins a larger, Gothic Revival cathedral. The church is oriented towards the east. The church was designed in the Baroque style. Designed on a rectangular floor plan, initially with a narrower chancel, it features a tower in its western section, designed on a square floor plan and flanked by two quarter-circular turrets. The cuboid main body of the church is crowned with a tall gable roof. The slender, three-storey tower on the western side features a pair of cylindrical (quarter-circular) annexes filling the space between the western wall and the tower. The two lower storeys of the tower are designed on a square plan, while the uppermost level is octagonal in shape, its walls pierced with slender bell openings. The tower is topped with a bell-shaped cupola topped with an openwork arcaded lantern and a spire surmounted by a cross. On the ground-floor level of the tower there is the main entrance, framed with a Late Renaissance sandstone portal. The three-axial side façades are reinforced with buttresses and topped with a profiled cornice. Slender windows and oculi are positioned on the axes of the side walls. The interior is a single, open space with a series of alcoves in the side walls, each of them topped with a conch-shaped semi-dome. The organ gallery in the western section rests on a pair of pillars. The fixtures and fittings bear the hallmarks of the Baroque style. The main altarpiece is flanked by a pair of doors leading into the cathedral, surmounted by niches incorporating the sculptures of St Peter and St Paul. The ornate headstone of Jan Klemens Branicki as well as the unusual, embroidered epitaph plaque of Izabela Branicka are kept in the mausoleum of Stefan Mikołaj Branicki and his wife, Katarzyna.

The church is open to visitors.

compiled by Grażyna Rogala, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 22-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Jabłoński K. A., Biały i Czerwony. Kościoły białostockiej parafii farnej, Białystok 2008, pp. 15-89;
  • Record sheet, The parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, compiled by M. Pawluczuk, R. Sylwanowicz, E. Narolewska, 1998, archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Białystok.

transport time to the next site

6 min

Roman Catholic chapel, currently serving as the Orthodox chapel of St Mary Magdalene
Białystok

30 minutes

The Baroque chapel, funded by Jan Klemens Branicki, was constructed during the period of the city’s rapid expansion in the 18th century. The structure is one of the oldest chapels in the Podlasie region designed in the form of a rotunda, with very few of such designs surviving to the present day. The history of this small chapel remains inextricably linked to the more than 200 years of religious coexistence of Roman and Greek Catholics as well as Orthodox Christians in Białystok.

History

In 1758, Jan Klemens Branicki donated two voloks of land located on the hill near the road leading towards Suraż to the administrative ecclesiastical body operating alongside the chapel of St Roch (1750) which was responsible for the maintenance of designated places of worship, attended to by a priest known as the altarist. The chapel of St Mary Magdalene was erected in the very same year and was consecrated by Ignacy Massalski, the bishop of Vilnius. The brick chapel was erected on a circular plan, with an entrance on the northern side. The roof topped by a small cupola was clad with copper sheets. Inside, the altarpiece incorporated the painting of St Mary Magdalene as well as a sculpted crucifix. A number of trees were planted on the hill, with the path leading towards the chapel being lined with lime trees. The chapels of St Mary Magdalene and St Roch were then brought under a single administration, both of them forming part of the parish in Białystok. A Catholic cemetery, established in 1806, was gradually forming around the chapel. A site for a new, Uniate cemetery was allocated on the eastern side of the hill. In 1864, the chapel was taken over by the Orthodox Church - an act intended as a form of retaliation in the wake of the thwarted January Uprising. It was most likely at that point that a pair of rectangular annexes adjoining the northern and southern sides of the structure were added, with the original cupola being replaced by a rather more bulbous design typical of Orthodox churches. After World War II, the Roman Catholic church made efforts to regain control of both the chapel and the cemetery; in 1958, the District Court in Białystok held that the ownership of the chapel and part of the burial ground would be vested with the parish of St Roch. Due to the fact that this judgement was later appealed against, however, the administration of the contested site was finally taken over by the municipal authorities. From 1991 onwards, under the provisions of the applicable legislation, the tserkva became the property of the parish of St Nicholas in Białystok.

Description

The chapel is located in the centre of the city of Białystok, near the Central Park, on a hill overgrown by trees, surrounded by the Kalinowskiego and Kijowska street and positioned adjacent to the grounds surrounding the opera house. It was designed in the Baroque style, with a number of alteration works being performed at a later date. The building is made of brick, its walls covered with plaster. It was originally designed on a circular plan, with the two rectangular side annexes being a later addition. The entrance is positioned on the northern side of the structure. The chapel consists of the main body - a rotunda topped with a dome surmounted by a cylindrical shaft supporting a bulbous cupola - as well as two cuboid annexes covered with a low gable roof (the northern annex) and an equally squat three-sided roof (the southern annex). A small steeple rises from the ridge of the roof above the entrance. The façades are devoid of any decorative flourishes save for a pronounced, profiled crowning cornice. The side façades follow a three-axial layout, with a window topped with a semi-circular arch positioned on each axis. The roof lantern is adorned with profiled cornices, its walls pierced by small windows likewise topped with semi-circular arches. The interior is a single, open space.

The chapel is open to visitors.

compiled by Grażyna Rogala, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 23-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Jabłoński K. A., Biały i Czerwony. Kościoły białostockiej parafii farnej, Białystok 2008, pp. 73-77.
  • Record sheet, Kaplica rzymskokatolicka, ob. prawosławna pw. św. Marii Magdaleny, compiled by J. Tołłoczko, 1993, 1993, archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Białystok.
  • Sztachelska-Kokoczka A., Oleksicki A., Białystok w czasach Branickich (lata 1708-1795), [in:] Historia Białegostoku, Białystok 2012, pp. 152-153;

transport time to the next site

9 min

Augsburg Evangelical parish church of St John the Baptist, currently serving as the parish church of St Adalbert the Bishop and Martyr
Białystok

30 minutes

An excellent example of Romanesque Revival architecture from the early 20th century, its interior featuring a layout typical of Evangelical churches. The church is also notable for its lavish façade detailing. The church remains a material trace of the local Protestant community which played an important role in the history of the city of Białystok in the 19th century and in the early 20th century.

History

The first Augsburg Evangelical parish in Białystok was established in 1796. The church of St John the Baptist was erected in the years 1909-1913, at the initiative of the Evangelical parish priest Teodor Zirkwitz, with the design being produced by the architect Jan Wende from Łódź. During World War 2, the church was abandoned due to the mass migration of Evangelicals to Germany. Only occasionally would any church service be held there, with those attending being mostly German soldiers (after 1941). In 1944, the neighbouring power station was blown up, with the blast wave ripping the roof off the church as well as causing damage to both its walls and window joinery. The church was refurbished during the same year and handed over to the Catholics; the building was reconsecrated under a new name - the church of St Adalbert the Bishop and Martyr. An action was later filed with the court for the return of the church to the Evangelical community; the proceedings finally ended in 1972 with an appropriate contract for the sale of the church being signed. From 1961 onwards, the church was maintained by the Higher Theological Seminary. In 1979, the separate parish of St Adalbert was established. In the years 1996-2004, the church underwent comprehensive renovation works which involved, among others, the replacement of the interior plaster finish, the restoration of the façades and the execution of new painted decorations inside the church. In 2013, the wooden roof truss of the tower as well as the staircase inside it were lost to the blaze. At the present stage, the church is undergoing maintenance and renovation works.

Description

The building is located in the city centre, on the western side of Warszawska street, its chancel facing the south-west.

The church was erected in the Romanesque Revival style.

Designed on a Latin Cross floor plan, it is a three-nave hall church with interior galleries. A two-storey bell tower rises above the vestibule, its lower section integrated with the main body of the building. The tower is flanked by a pair of semi-circular annexes at its base, reaching up to the second storey thereof. The chancel terminates with an apse and is flanked by a pair of sacristies with separate vestibules. The front vestibule was designed on a narrow, rectangular floor plan, preceded by a small porch connected to a pair of staircases leading up to the choir gallery and the tower. The corner sections of the front façade of the church follow a rounded outline. The nave is covered with two intersecting gable roofs; the chancel apse features a semi-conical roof, while the bell tower is topped with a spire with several triangular gablets at its base. The sacristies feature roofs of the gable type. The church is made of brick, its structure resting on a stone foundation. The roof is covered with sheet metal. The interior walls are covered with plaster. The exposed red brick façades are enriched by plastered architectural detailing. They are divided into sections by a number of cornices - the flat cornice above the wall base as well as the profiled cornice running below the upper row of windows and extending all the way to the sacristies, where it continues right below the eaves. The crowning cornice above is likewise heavily profiled, its course interrupted by the gables which also have profiled cornices at their edges. Arcaded friezes run below some of the cornices. The corners are accentuated by lesenes. The narrow, tall window openings are rectangular in shape and topped with semicircular arches. Triple windows are present on the ground-floor level of the side aisles and the vestibules. The bell openings in the tower take the form of paired windows. Rose windows framed by arches supported by columns with cubiform capitals grace the gables of both the front façade and the side aisles. The front façade portal is framed with an arch of a similar design, albeit applied in a dual arrangement which lends it the appearance of an archivolt.

Inside, the main nave is graced by a stellar vault, while both the side aisles and the choir gallery feature cross-rib vaulting. The ceilings inside the porch and the vestibule are completely flat. The side aisles are separated from the main nave by wide arcades supported by columns with cubiform capitals; the galleries rising above feature wooden parapets adorned with rows of semi-circular arches. The choir gallery above the entrance, supported by a pair of columns, features a similar parapet as well as a broad, arched recess designed to accommodate the pipe organ. The building features a basement beneath the chancel and the southern part of the nave. The fixtures and fittings include a wooden pulpit as well as an early-20th century pipe organ.

The church is open to visitors.

compiled by Tomasz Rogala, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 21-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Cybulko Z., Dawny kościół ewangelicki pw. św. Jana Chrzciciela w Białymstoku, obecnie rzymskokatolicki kościół parafialny pw. św. Wojciecha BM. Pożar wieży we wrześniu 2013 r., “Biuletyn Konserwatorski Województwa Podlaskiego”, issue 19, 2013, pp. 291-302.
  • Dobroński A., Białystok historia miasta, Białystok 2001, p. 95.
  • Klimaszewski Z. T., Parafia świętego Wojciecha w Białymstoku, Białystok 2004.
  • Tomecka B., Szczygieł-Rogowska J., Cmentarz ewangelicki w Białymstoku przy ul. Wasilkowskiej, Białystok 2008, pp. 14-20.

transport time to the next site

4 min

The cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven
Białystok

30 minutes

One of the so-called great cathedrals, designed in a variety of the Gothic Revival style known as the Vistula-Baltic style; most of these churches were erected in the former Kingdom of Poland in the late 19th and early 20th century as a symbol of Catholicism and the Polish national identity.

History

The efforts to obtain the permission for the construction of a new parish church in Białystok have started with reverend Wilhelm Szwarc, who took the first actions in this regard towards the end of the 19th century. It was at his initiative that in 1896 the design for a new church was produced by Józef Pius Dziekoński. The Imperial Russian authorities, while reluctant to grant permission for the construction of a new church, have ultimately allowed for the existing church to be extended. In 1898, Stefan Zwierowicz, the bishop of Vilnius, authorised the commencement of construction works. In 1899, J. P. Dziekoński came up with a new design, taking into account the requirements as to location. A Committee for Church Construction was established and swiftly commenced the fundraising activities, gathering the necessary capital and preparing the site for construction. The construction itself began in April 1900. In 1902, the chancel of the existing church was demolished, with the main body of the old temple now adjoining the side of the new church, positioned at a right angle towards it. In 1905, the interior scaffolding was taken down and the church was finally consecrated. The Wędrowski construction firm continued further works on the masonry, which was ultimately completed in 1907. The completion of basic construction works was followed by the installation of the interior fittings. The church received its altarpiece, dedicated to the Virgin Mary of Częstochowa, the pulpit (installed in 1908), the side altarpiece of St Anthony and the tympanums above the entrance portals. Later on, the main altarpiece was added, designed in the form of a Gothic-style retable by Wincenty Bogaczyk and crafted in Warsaw by the company owned by Mr Szpetkowski in years 1913-1914. The altarpieces dedicated to the Crucifixion of Jesus (1916) and St Roch were installed at a later date. During the interwar period, the first series of renovation works was conducted, with the church being consecrated once again in 1931. In 1977, the chapel of Our Lady of Mercy was added.

Description

The cathedral is located in the north-eastern part of the Kościuszko market square (known today as the John Paul II Square), on a small hill surrounded by a retaining wall; a broad flight of steps leads up the hill towards the entrance portals.

The church was designed in the Gothic Revival style. It was erected on a Latin cross floor plan, with a semi-decagonal chancel facing north. A sacristy and a chapel, both preceded by their separate porches, are found on both sides of the chancel, with the chapel opening up into the side aisle of the church. The nave of the old church adjoins the western side of the cathedral. The main body of the cathedral follows a three-nave basilica layout with five bays and a vestibule as well as a single-nave transept. The silhouette of the cathedral consists of several distinct sections - the main body, the northern sacristy, the chapel and the porches all covered with multi-pitched pyramid roofs which lend them the appearance of low, squat towers. The nave, the chancel and the transept are all of identical height and are covered with tall gable roofs, with a three-sided roof used for the end section of the chancel. The side aisles are covered with mono-pitched roofs. A slender, openwork steeple is located at the intersection of the nave and transept. On the northern side, the church features a pair of quadrangular towers with octagonal top sections, topped with crown-like arrangements of triangular gables adorned with wimpergs and pinnacles, above which rise the slender spires of the towers, surmounted by crosses. On the ground-floor level of the front façade there is a trio of pointed-arch archivolt portals topped with wimpergs. The rose window above the central portal is partially concealed beneath an openwork, curtain-like arcade. The entire structure is reinforced by a system of buttresses along its sides, with flying buttresses rising above the roofs of the side aisles. The façades are pierced with decorative, pointed-arch windows and topped with an arcaded crowning cornice. The stepped gables of the front façade and the transept are adorned with pointed-arch blind windows. The interior follows a three-nave layout and features a double barrel vault, with a stellar vault and diamond vault used for the transept crossing and the area above the organ gallery respectively. The main nave of the church opens up towards the side aisles with pointed arches resting on pillars. The arches and pillars are accentuated by vertical shafts with stone capitals adorned with foliate motifs. The vestibule opens up towards the nave and the aisles through a trio of apertures, with the middle one being topped with a Tudor arch, whereas the ones on the sides feature pointed arches.

Site accessible to visitors.

compiled by Grażyna Rogala, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 22-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Białystok. Kościół prokatedralny pw. Wniebowzięcia NMP, part 1. Dokumentacja historyczno-architektoniczna, compiled by J. Pyzia, Białystok 1982, typescript of the Polish Monument Conservation Workshops (PPKZ), archive of the Regional Office of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok;
  • Jabłoński K. A., Biały i Czerwony. Kościoły białostockiej parafii farnej, Białystok 2008, pp. 116-181

transport time to the next site

3 min

The cathedral of St Nicholas the Wonderworker
Białystok

30 minutes

The tserkva, designed in the Neoclassicist style, was influenced by the trends in art and architecture prevalent in Europe in the late 18th and early 19th century. It represents a type of a temple modelled after the domed, cruciform churches of the Late Byzantine period. Its detailing, on the other hand, bears the hallmarks of Russian Classicism as well as the architecture of St Petersburg.

History

The decision on the construction of the tserkva was adopted in 1838. The task of designing the church was entrusted to Michaiłowow (Mikhailovov), the architect employed by the local diocese. In 1840, the plans for the tserkva were submitted to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in St Petersburg, with the building permit being issued by the Lithuanian Spiritual Consistory during the early months of 1841. The construction works began in 1843 in the square near the former Uniate tserkva which had been closed down some time before, with the completion of the works taking place in 1846. The tserkva was consecrated by Józef Siemaszko, the metropolitan bishop for Lithuania and Vilnius. The first renovation of the building was carried out in 1868-1872, followed by further restoration works in 1910. At that point, the roof of the building was repaired, with the interiors now graced by painted decorations by Michał Awiłow (Avilov), who took inspiration from the polychromed interiors of the Kiev tserkva. The area around the altarpiece was restored in the years 1955-1956, with the lower levels of the tserkva receiving their fixtures and fittings during the same period. In the years 1975-1976, the interior underwent renovation works which focused mostly on the walls of the tserkva. The oil paintings on plaster have begun to crumble, literally flaking off the surface on which they were executed. After all attempts to preserve them have failed, the decision was taken to remove the painted decorations, with just one of Awiłow’s paintings being left intact in the area near the altarpiece. The new painted decorations were executed by Józef Łotowski, a painter based in Białystok. Further renovation works were carried out in the years 1988-1990, encompassing the roof, the cupola and the façades. In addition, the existing painted decorations on the walls of the tserkva were subjected to conservation works.

Description

The tserkva is situated in the Białystok city centre, on the southern side of Lipowa street.

It was designed in the Classicist style.

It is oriented towards the east. The tserkva is a brick structure with a basement, its walls covered with plaster. Designed on a Greek cross floor plan, the tserkva features a western vestibule surmounted by a bell tower. The sacristy is positioned between the arms of the cruciform main body, on the south-eastern side thereof. The silhouette of the church consists of two distinct sections: the main body and the western tower. The main body consists of a pair of intersecting naves covered with gable roofs, with a hemispherical dome on a tall tholobate positioned on the crossing of the arms of the cruciform structure. The tholobate is partitioned with pilasters with Ionic capitals supporting the entablature above and pierced with twelve windows topped with semi-circular arches. The quadrangular tower rising above the western vestibule is crowned with a cupola positioned atop a tholobate adorned with recessed panels. The cupola itself is crowned with a slender spire surmounted by a cross. The walls of the tower are accentuated with paired Ionic pilasters supporting an entablature, flanking the bell openings topped with semi-circular arches. The façades of the building are partitioned with pilasters with Doric capitals, supporting a Doric entablature which runs around the circumference of the church. The arms of the tserkva are topped with triangular pediments framed with a profiled, dentilled cornice. The interior is a single, open space consisting of two intersecting naves, designed on a Greek cross floor plan with a central dome. The nave is preceded by a vestibule. The vaulted ceiling above the naves is of the barrel type, with lunettes; the naves open towards the central section with semi-circular arches. The dome rises above a tall tholobate with twelve windows, with the spaces between them graced by painted visages of the Apostles. Busts of Old Testament prophets can be seen in the lower part of the tholobate. The surface of the dome itself is painted blue, forming a representation of the sky with flying seraphim and the visage of Christ in Majesty accompanied by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist. Images of the Four Evangelists adorn the pendentives beneath the dome. The nave interiors are graced with ornamental painted decorations designed to accentuate the architectural divisions of the walls, accompanied by images of saints and Biblical scenes. The altarpiece section is separated from the nave by a Classicist iconostasis.

The historical monument is open to visitors.

compiled by Grażyna Rogala , Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 22-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Białystok. Sobór św. Mikołaja. Cerkiew parafialna, Dokumentacja historyczno-architektoniczna, compiled by J. Kotyńska, Białystok 1989, typescript of the Polish Monument Conservation Workshops (PPKZ), archive of the Regional Office of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok;
  • Kotyńska-Stetkiewicz J., Sobór katedralny pw. św. Mikołaja w Białymstoku, in: Biuletyn Konserwatorski Województwa Podlaskiego, Białystok 2011, pp. 45-65.

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