MĘCINA WIELKA - Orthodox Church of SS. Cosmas and Damian
The current wooden church witnessed bloody clashes between Austrian and Russian troops in 1915. Unfortunately, the building was also severely damaged as a result of the battle. Thanks to the involvement of the local community of the faithful, it was possible to use the church again.
IN MĘCINA WIELKA
This charming wooden Orthodox church constitutes another stop on the Wooden Churches Route in the Małopolska Region. Even though the church perfectly fits in with this collection, it also has its own individual and unique features.
The church was built in 1807, even if the Orthodox parish had been present since 1546. Back then there was a wooden Orthodox church in this place, but no source has survived until now that could present to us what it looked like. The current wooden church witnessed bloody clashes between Austrian and Russian troops in 1915. Unfortunately, the building was also severely damaged as a result of the battle. Thanks to the involvement of the local community of the faithful, it was possible to use the church again. In 1930, the inhabitants of Męcina Wielka, Wapienne and Pstrążne rebuilt the church with their joint contributions.
That is when the shape of the structure changed by adding a sacristy and a porch. Successive works concentrated on the roof which was covered with metal sheets thus changing the shape of the helms above the vestibule and the nave. The polichromy inside the church was executed by Ilia Decyk from Sambor. It is worth remembering the name of this artist as he also renovated the iconostasis in the Orthodox Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Smolnik, inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Operation Vistula changed the destiny of the parish. The Ukrainian population, the Boykos, the Dolinians and the Lemkos, as well as mixed Polish-Ukrainian families were resettled in order to deprive the Ukrainian Insurgent Army of the possibility to recruit new members. This also led to depopulation of Orthodox parishes. In 1951, the Orthodox church of Sts. Cosmas and Damian in Męcina Wielka was taken over by the Catholics, who founded their parish here. Right now, it is the Church of Our Lady, Queen of Poland.
This charming church is oriented, which means that its main altar is pointing east. From this direction Jesus Christ is to come again during the Last Judgment. The post-frame massive tower is a characteristic feature of the structure. It has additional space on the sides /zachaty/. This space is created by placing light wooden walls under wide eaves. In peasants’ huts this space was used to store straw and hay, and this way the homes were better insulated. The churches of the Lemkos in the Low Beskids also benefited from this solution, as it was certainly extremely useful during harsh winters.
Inside the church, the visitors should pay attention to the 19th century iconostasis, which nowadays performs only a decorative function, as it is a Catholic church. Among the icons that can be admired here, it is worth stressing those depicting the 12 great feasts in the Churches of the Byzantine tradition.
MĘCINA WIELKA | Orthodox Church of SS. Cosmas and Damian
COFUNDED BY THE MINISTER OF CULTURE AND NATIONAL HERITAGE
ORIGINATING FROM CULTURE PROMOTION FUND