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Świątkowa Mała

Former Greek Catholic Parish Tserkva of Archangel Michael

The former Greek Catholic tserkva of Archangel Michael was built by Lemko people in 1762. Today it functions as a Roman Catholic church, a branch of the parish in Desznica.

A tserkva existed in Śwątkowa Mała even in 1581, and it was a branch of the Orthodox parish in Grab. In 1762 a new parish tserkva was built in Rozstajne. After 1860 it became part of the parish in Świątkowa Wielka. In 1927 during the time of widespread reconversion to Orthodox Christianity (the so-called Tylawa Schism), the inhabitants of Świątkowa Mała switched to that denomination. The tserkva, however, was still owned by the Greek Catholic Church so the faithful could not attend it. Instead, they would go to the eukterion in Świątkowa Wielka. In the 1950s the building was taken over by Roman Catholics who came here from the area of Nowy Targ. After 1956 some Lemko people, who had been forcefully resettled from here, started to come back.

The log church, oriented eastward, is a three-part structure; in front of the narthex there is a post-and-frame tower with tapered walls, and adjoined by a small porch. Over the bell chamber of the tower, we can see a pyramid roof with a turret. The nave and the chancel are covered with multi-tiered four-pitched roofs also topped with turrets. The narthex has a gable roof. The roofs are clad with shingles and the cupola over the tower is covered with sheet metal. Inside, the nave and the chancel feature log domes while the narthex and the porch are covered with flat ceilings.

The tserkva was appointed with furnishings from the church in Rozstajne which had been ruined. A Baroque iconostasis with rococo features has been partly preserved. However, in the 1970s some elements were stolen, including the Royal Doors, the Deacons’ Doors and icons from the Feasts’ and Prophets’ tiers. On the walls of the tserkva there are icons from the 1500s and 1600s. A painting of Christ the Teacher replaced the Royal Doors. Particularly interesting is the large icon depicting the Judgment Day, from 1653.


Photos: Krystian Kłysewicz, Kamil Paluszek


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