ORAWKA - Church of St. John the Baptist

This church dates back to the 17th century. In 1728 a presbytery was added. In the same century, the work on magnificent polychromy started. It depicts not only scenes from the life of John the Baptist, images of the Decalogue, but also representations of 49 saints. 

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Church

IN ORAWKA

When visiting the Wooden Architecture Route in the Małopolska Region, you cannot miss this church. This is the oldest church and the first parish of the Polish part of Orava. On the outside, the light structure is covered with shingles, and its bell tower adds to its slenderness. However, it is its richly decorated interior that takes your breath away.   

This church dates back to the 17th century. In 1728 a presbytery was added. In the same century, the work on magnificent polychromy started. It depicts not only scenes from the life of John the Baptist, images of the Decalogue, but also representations of 49 saints. 

Representations of devils deserve the attention of visitors. You can find thirteen of them in the church and it is no coincidence. In the Baroque period, the sacred art was strongly influenced by Counter-Reformation. Church decorations served not only as an ornament, but also presented sacred texts, gave instructions on how to behave in life and cautioned against sin. The thirteen devils in Orawka precisely perform this function.

We will also find here some important historical personalities, like Emperor Ferdinand III or Archbishop Jerzy Lippay de Sombor. Historians’ archives contain letters that this clergyman wrote to the Emperor as “a righteous Hungarian to another righteous Hungarian”. He asked the ruler of the Catholic empire for support against growing clout of the Protestants.

The Church of St. John the Baptist in Orawka was funded partly by the faithful, partly by Father Jan Sczechowicz, who looked after the construction and partly thanks to the funds allocated by the archbishop. The archbishop’s coat of arms can be found among the decorations of the church. Interestingly, to this day, many writings and letters of the high-churchman have been preserved, and they show his fascinating interests. In addition to theology or administration, he was consumed by alchemy, among others. He wrote a manuscript in which he argued that transmutation of other metals into gold was within reach of people. Botany was another scientific passion of the archbishop. He explored it in the gardens of his older brother Jerzy. 

Let us go back to the Orawka church. The oldest part of the church has a log structure i.e. without the use of nails, built between 1650 and 1656. The altars that we can admire inside date back to the 17th and the 18th centuries, and constitute a classic example of Baroque art.

One of the oldest treasures is the wooden sculpture of the Pensive Christ from the turn of the 15th and the 16th centuries.

Source:
orawka-kosciol.pl/

ORAWKA | Church of St. John the Baptist

COFUNDED BY THE MINISTER OF CULTURE AND NATIONAL HERITAGE
ORIGINATING FROM CULTURE PROMOTION FUND

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