This blog is dedicated to the wooden churches and other forms of traditional folk architecture found throughout the Carpathian region in Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland, Romania and the Czech Republic. My eventual goal is to visit and photograph all of these churches, and I will post the photos and a description of each of them here.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
This formerly Greek-Catholic wooden church dedicated to the Nativity of the Virgin Mary lies in the small village of Hoszowczyk in the south-eastern corner of Poland, just a few kilometres from the Ukrainian border. It was built in 1926, making it one of the youngest wooden churches found in this region of the country.
The church is located in a part of the Carpathian mountains which was historically inhabited by Boykos (Rusyns) and it was constructed as a Boyko Greek-Catholic church, but its design shows direct influence of the Ukrainian Hutsul architectural style in its Greek cross-shaped floor plan and large central dome placed above the nave. The church in the neighbouring village of Hoszów also shows traces of the same Hutsul influence.
Following World War Two the Boyko population of the region was forcibly expelled, and Roman Catholic Poles were encouraged to settle in their place. The Communist authorities closed the church in 1951 and it was then used as a storage building. In 1970 the church was given to the local Roman Catholic parish, which refurbished the church and began using it to hold Roman Catholic services. During renovations made in 2002 a large cache of ammunition from World War Two was discovered hidden in the sanctuary.
Like many wooden churches in this region of Poland, the roofs and central dome are covered in a layer of sheet metal in place of the original wooden tiles. During the Communist period it was considered costly and unnecessary to maintain the wooden roofs, so sheet metal was used as a longer-lasting replacement. At present, several churches with metal roofs in Poland are being restored to their original all-wood appearance, but it will take many more years before this process is completed.
Directly beside the church there is a small former Greek-Catholic cemetery with a handful of tombstones, as well as several graves of World War Two soldiers. The church is not usually open to visitors without prior arrangement, though when I visited the caretaker was cleaning the carpets and she permitted me to go in. The interior contains modern Roman Catholic fittings and is of minimal historical interest.
The village of Hoszowczyk is not serviced by buses, but it is a two-kilometre walk west of Hoszów which is on the main road running south from Ustrzyki Dolne along which buses run quite frequently. Ustrzyki Dolne is connected by bus with Sanok, Krosno and the regional city of Rzeszów, which has onward train and bus connections with the rest of the country. Sanok makes a convenient base for a tour of the wooden churches in the region, as well as having the best outdoor architecture museum in Poland with four impressive wooden churches.