Orthodox Church of St. Cosmas and Damian

Cerkiew prawosławna pw. Śśw. Kosmy i Damiana

One of the Orthodox churches in the Lemko Region, the Orthodox Church of St. Cosmas and Damian in Bartne, was built in 1928. Unlike the typical tower churches of the western Lemko region, its architectural form evokes Boyko churches, unheard of in Małopolska. The church has three sections on a longitudinal axis with a wider nave in the centre. It has a vestibule on the western side and a polygonal enclosed chancel on the eastern side. Part of the Gorlicki estate, the village of Bartne firmly adhered to their forefathers’ faith and  resisted the Union of Brest for a long time. In 1743, several families left for right-bank Ukraine, not wanting to change their faith. Among them was Wasyl Szkurat – the father of the famous composer Dmitry Bortniansky. After the collapse of Austria-Hungary and the return of four fifths of the villages to Orthodox Christianity, it was decided that a new church should be built, since the existing one could not be used. The first Divine Office was held on March 18, 1928. The church's foundations were consecrated on September 30th, and the roof was put on the structure at the end of November. Construction was carried out economically. Contractors were expensive, and since they had only modest financial resources, the residents themselves did the work. and was by. The Orthodox church in Krzywa was used as a model during construction, scaling the structure down by about 50%. Unfortunately, several important mistakes were made during the construction: atop wetland and gravel, lack of drainage, lack of wall stabilisation (only dowels were used), insufficiently long thatch, and the use of uncured wood. These mistakes resulted significant degradation, but fortunately, it has undergone a thorough renovation in recent years. Inside, you can see many elements of historical furnishings, for example: the iconostasis donated by Pochayiv Lavra in 1934, 18th-century icons of prophets (an example of Carpathian iconography), icons of Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and four icons by Teofil Kopystiański, a student of Matejko. The contemporary colour scheme and Byzantine-style polychrome are noteworthy as is the tabernacle and the Epitaphios that was donated by American emigrants from Bartne. Next to the church is a statue of Dmitry Bortniansky, a Bartne native. The stone statue is the work of Zdzisław Thol, a sculptor from Gorlice who uniquely captured the composer's features. The figure emerges from stone like Dmitry's music sprouted from his roots, from his Lemko heart. Bortniansky leans to the side, listening to the music of the nearby church, the wind, and the mountains; absorbed in his thoughts, he jots down music notes. The sculpture's proportions are elongated, giving it a mystical eastern character. It is striking in its simplicity but, at the same time, it inspires the viewer to stop and reflect.


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