Turzańsk Greek Catholic Church of St. Michael the Archangel

  Turzańsk      (+48) 500 071 205     31 Aug 2023
Seamlessly integrated into the sublime mountainous landscape between Bieszczady and the Low Beskids in Turzańsk, stands the charming Orthodox Church of St. Michael the Archangel. The church had many incarnations: Greek Catholic, Roman Catholic and finally Orthodox. Its history is intertwined with that of the Lemko people in the Beskid-Bieszczady borderland - similar to the history of many other ethnic groups throughout the region and the darker period where deportations took place post WWII. It looked like the Lemko would never return again but the church remained while many Lemko were not able to. As such it is a wooden witness to history. Its architecture and decor are intrinsically interconnected with Lemko culture. Built in the years 1801-1803, typical features are a tripartite, elongated plan, and five magnificent spherical helmets crowning the main parts of the church.
photo: Adelina Krupski
photo: Adelina Krupski 

Its second distinguishing feature is the specific Lemko iconography evident. The creator of the polychrome, Josyf Bukowczyk, set several of the depicted scenes in the reality of Lemko life in the region of the late 19th century, e.g. a representation of Christ visiting a Lemko family, a Lemko sowing grain, etc.
Importantly, the Lemkos did actually return to the area, and since the 1960s there has been an Orthodox parish in Turzańsk. Thanks to this small Lemko community, the church is not only a relic of the past but a living breathing place of worship for a minority people still very much part of the region’s community. 


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