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Orthodox Church in Powroźnik

Group visits only (at least 8 persons) upon previous booking (phone no. +48 694 292 927).

The Orthodox Church of St James the Less the Apostle in Powroźnik is the oldest Lemko shrine in Poland and one of the oldest ones in the Carpathians. Constructed in 1600, after a flood it was relocated uphill, to a place ca. 150 m away from the original site. That took place in the years 1813-1814, with some changes to the church construction. A new presbytery was built, and the old one was changed to a sacristy. In 1878 a main, post-frame construction tower was added. After World War II most Lemkos were relocated under Operation Vistula (forced resettlement of Ukrainians, Boykos and Lemkos from south-eastern Poland to the territories in the west regained from Germany – which was to cut the support base for the Ukrainian UPA guerrilla). As there were very few Orthodox minority left, in 1951 the church was taken over by the Roman Catholic church. In 1965 the building was renovated. In 2013 the church was entered, along with a number of other Orthodox churches in Poland and Ukraine, on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

The building, like other West Lemko shrines, consists of three parts. It has one nave and is built of wood following the cabin log construction technique. In the presbytery there is a ceiling with a bezel. In the sacristy a cradle-shaped ceiling. The outside walls and the roof are covered with wood shingles. The building is crowned with three onion domes with blind lanterns. Inside it is worthwhile to pay attention to the 1637 polychrome and to the 17th century baroque main altar with a Mother of God with Child icon, as well as the iconostasis which now serves as a background to the altar. There are also other unique icons in side altars, a 1700 Rococo pulpit, and a 1615 church bell (as the legend has it, it can scare away thunderstorms). It is worthwhile paying attention to other icons: The Last Judgment of 1623 and The Lamentation of Christ of 1646. It should be noted that the building has windows only on its southern side. That protected the inside from northern snows and winds, while allowing the light to come in from the south.

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