St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, Trybsz

The church was built in 1567. The entire structure of the church and its paintings were thoroughly restored and renovated. The larch timber church was built on the east-west axis. A vestry used to adjoin the chancel on the northern side; when it was demolished, a portal with a cut-out lintel called an ‘ogee arch’ remained. The church interior was covered with polychromes in 1647. The subject matter of the paintings is related to a specific historical and regional context. In the mid-16th century, the Horwath-Palocsay family who owned the Dunajec region converted to Protestantism. The Catholic faith returned in 1639 and the restoration of Catholicism started at that time, so the figure of Holy Mary prevails in the paintings.  The polychrome is one of the earliest implementations of Baroque wall painting in southern Poland. Its author is unknown. The head wall of the chancel features figures of Moses and Aaron and of St. Elisabeth, St. Stanislaus and St. John Cantius (he was depicted among the saints many years before his canonisation in 1767) and St. Peter. At the bottom of the left-hand side wall is a scene which depicts St. Elisabeth of Hungary. The bottom right of the southern side depicts the Doctors of the Church: St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Gregory and St. Ambrose. Figures of the Apostles can be seen above them. Beneath the Apostles are texts from articles of the Apostles’ Creed. The northern wall of the chancel shows scenes related to Holy Mary. The first scene depicts Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, further paintings show Mary in the scene of the Annunciation and the Visitation. A scene depicting Christ’s triumph over death is painted above the door to the vestry. The rainbow walls feature St. George fighting a dragon on the left and St. Martin to the right. Polychromes on the top wall of the northern nave depict the Nativity, Adoration of the Three Kings and the Appearance of the Risen Christ to Mary. The chancel ceiling depicts the Assumption of Mary and her coronation in heaven. The entire Mariological composition ends with the illustration of Mary's Seven Joys. The bottom wall area depicts the Judgement of Blood taking place in Caiaphas’ palace. Members of the Sanhedrin hold tablets inscribed with their names and the decisions made by them. This scene refers to the apocryphal gospels that mentioned the content of the Great Council and judgements passed by its individual members. A similar painting dating back to 1626 is in the Corpus Christi Church in Krakow. The southern wall of the nave depicts a Passion scene with Jesus and Arma Christi – instruments of the Passion. Paintings on the balustrade of the choir depict the seven Deadly Sins, with human and animal figures symbolising the sins. A peacock and a lady in a wide dress symbolise pride, a man with bags full of money and a dog are symbols of greed. A scene of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is depicted on the ceiling. The background shows a landscape with hills, a river, castles and mountain peaks. It is the landscape of Pieniny with castles of Czorsztyn and Niedzica with a view of the Belianske Tatras from the nearby hills. It is the first northern panorama of the Tatras and the oldest surviving panorama of the Tatras. Another composition on the chancel ceiling shows the crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the Holy Trinity. The next scene on the ceiling depicts the Last Judgement. Jesus Christ as the Judge is surrounded by the Mother of God and St. John the Baptist, and groups of saints who intercede on behalf of humanity. Next to Christ is the lily of mercy and the sword of punishment. There are Tatra mountains visible in this scene. The pulpit appeared in the church in 1787. It is decorated with paintings depicting Christ with the Samaritan woman at the well and the merciful Samaritan.

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