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    A new historical monument in Lesser Poland

    The 17th-century wooden church of St John the Baptist in Orawka has been a historical monument since Tuesday (20 Apr). The regulation in this matter was signed by President Andrzej Duda.

    “Orawka – Church of St. John the Baptist (…) is recognised as a monument of history (…) because of its historical, artistic and scientific values of the oldest Catholic and today the only wooden church in the Polish part of the Upper Orawa region, which, thanks to its unique artistic class and authenticity of architecture, interior decoration and furnishing, is the most valuable document of the history and material culture of this region of Poland, and in the time when this region was outside the borders of our country, it played a significant role in maintaining the national and religious identity of Polish settlers and their descendants,’ – was written in the regulation published on April 19.


    The Society of Friends of Orava, headed by the parish priest-host of the church, priest Adam Gabrys, has been trying to get the church in Orawka included on the list of historical monuments since January 2018.


    Orawka is a small village in the Nowy Targ district, not far from the border with Slovakia, located on the lands of the Upper Orawa, which in the past belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary.


    The wooden church in the centre of the village was built in the middle of the 17th century. The interior of the church is covered with polychromes from 1711 depicting, among others, the life of St. John the Baptist, the Decalogue and images of 49 Hungarian saints. The church has an organ from 1670.


    The church in Orawka is famous for its four Lenten curtains painted with Passion motifs. The curtains, also known as tires, shawls or Lenten cloths, can only be seen for ten days a year – during Lent. The oldest Lenten painting is the “Pieta beneath the cross” from 1676. Other works from the 19th century are “The Flagellation of Christ”, “The Penitent Mary Magdalene” and “Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows”.


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