The tserkva of the Protection of Our Most Holy Lady in Chyrowa is a former Greek Catholic tserkva of the Intercession of the Theotokos built in the 1700s by Łemko people. Today it is a Roman Catholic filial church of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
We do not know exactly when the church was built. On the lintel over the entrance to the narthex we can see the date 21 June 1780. However, the nave and the brick chancel are believed to be older; the latter part may have been built in 1707. The building was thoroughly restored in 1932, and new wall paintings were added inside.
After the local population was forcefully resettled, the church was acquired in 1947 by the Roman Catholic parish in Dukla. Over the years the building was not repaired, and fell into decline; finally, in 1982 demolition works started. Fortunately, they were soon discontinued. In 1983 the church was acquired by the parish in the nearby village of Iwla.
The landmark is a tripartite log structure oriented eastward. The chancel, enclosed with semi-circular wall, and the sacristy adjoining it on the northern side are made of brick. The wooden tower over the narthex is a post-and-beam structure. A small porch leads into the narthex. Over the pseudo-chamber in the tower, the nave and the chancel there are characteristic turrets. The nave inside is covered with a multi-pitched log ceiling.
Remnants of polychrome paintings can be seen on the walls. The original rococo iconostasis has been preserved. The Baroque high altar holds the benevolent icon of the Holy Mother and the Child, and a cover-painting with a representation of the Holy Trinity.
A legend has it that the icon of the Holy Mother and the Child, which came here from Hungary, appeared on a tree. Despite a few attempts to take the icon back to Hungary, it returned each time to the same location. The local population took it as a sign and built the church for the icon. The tserkva in Chyrowa attracted large numbers of pilgrims.
A popular ski-resort is located in the vicinity of the landmark.
Photo: Krystian Kłysewicz
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