POLISH VERSION HEARE
Project title: „Renovation of the historic wooden church in Wólka Niedźwiedzka”.
Objective of the project: Preserving and increasing the accessibility of the historic wooden church in Wólka Niedźwiedzka as a regional tourist attraction of Podkarpacie, leading to increasing the tourist attractiveness of the area of the Sokołów Małopolski commune.
Beneficiary: Roman Catholic Parish of St. Our Lady Queen of Poland in Wólka Niedźwiedzka.
The historic church of Our Lady Queen of Poland, , located on a small hill, right next to the road from Sokołów Małopolski to Leżajsk, is a pearl of sacral architecture in Podkarpacie.
The church has been standing in Wólka Niedźwiedzka since 1912, when it was bought and moved from Wola Zarczycka, 10 km away. It was built, as can be found in the parish chronicles, in 1576, the year in which, after the escape of Henry Valois, Stefan Batory sat on the throne of Poland.
The wooden temple, originally dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ, suffered during the Tatar invasion in 1624, fortunately has survived to this day.In the mentioned year 1912, after the brick church was built in Wola Zarczycka, the existing wooden temple with all its furnishings was sold to the inhabitants of Wólka Niedźwiedzka. Piece by piece, the church was dismantled and reassembled. Valuable interior furnishings came with it. The joy of the villagers was great. They set up a committee to renovate the monument and create a parish. The committee, composed of the head of the school and the farmers, worked efficiently. People from Wólka and the area willingly made donations and worked together on the construction of the temple. It was consecrated on July 6, 1913 by Józef Gryziecki, parish priest from Wola Zarczycka. At that time, the first so-called primitive mass, young priest Adam Osetek. The inhabitants of Wólka Niedźwiedzka remembered the great masses of people from the surrounding villages full filled the church. Since the work on the organization of the new parish was far from being completed, some residents appealed to their compatriots in the United States for help with further work, including the construction of the vicarage. An independent parish in Wólka Niedźwiedzka was established in 1927.
In the church, you can see the remains of polychrome, which were unveiled during the renovation works in 2018. The original ones are in the presbytery and reconstructed on columns at the entrance to the sacristy. Research is still in progress, but it is possible that the paintings still remember the times when the church was built. During the renovation, the larch boards covering the entire original surface of the arcades separating the naves were removed. Some of the beams have preserved fragments of historical wall polychromes, historic painting decorations, inscriptions and floral motifs. Unfortunately, most of the polychromes, especially in the central nave, were strongly marked by the passage of time, preventing their full reconstruction. Particularly noteworthy are the so-called Zacheuszki visible at the sacristy, i.e. places marked with chrism oil used for the consecration of the church, candlesticks or lamps are placed under them, the ones we see in the nave were recreated on the basis of the original preserved in the chancel. As a whole, the interior of the temple is designed consistently, a certain austerity that is characterized by it harmonizes well with the colorful accents of paintings and decorations.
The main altar was brought to Wólka together with the church in 1912. In the altar between two columns there is a large painting of Our Lady Queen of Poland, painted on canvas, consecrated in 1928. It is worth knowing that in the original altar there was a bolt from 1824 with a picture of the Transfiguration painted on canvas, originally the church was dedicated to the Transfiguration, and now Our Lady Queen of Poland. Above the image there is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and above it an image of God the Father, to whom angels with musical instruments play placed on the sides. These figures and the angels below are carved in wood and gilded. The tabernacle was also covered with wood.
The hanging pulpit is distinguished by its color and shape, it is a luxury from the Baroque period from the second half of the 17th century. For hundreds of years, the pulpit was used by priests to preach. In the 20th century, as in other temples, due to the development of sound technology, the use of the pulpit was no longer necessary. Stairs decorated with floral ornaments lead to the pulpit, and at its bottom there is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.
There are two side altars in the church. One of them is the altar of Our Lady Immaculate. The Mother of God, painted against a landscape, stands on the globe, treading on the tempting serpent, a symbol of original sin. The way it is presented refers to the apocalypse of Saint John the Apostle, in which there is a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a wreath of twelve stars above her head. Saint Joseph’s Second Altar: St. Traditionally, Joseph is depicted in the form of an old man holding a lily in his hand, a symbol of purity, which refers to the theme of Mary’s immaculate conception. Both altars are made of linden wood and the robes of the figures were stamped in zinc sheet and gilded, the altars were restored in the years 2002 to 2010. Unfortunately, the sources do not give the authors or the times of their creation.
The Baroque baptismal font also came with the church from Wola Zarczycka. On the lid there are carved wood figures of Jesus and John the Baptist, this is the scene of the Savior’s baptism in the Jordan River. The lid and the part containing the vessel with holy water are gilded, on the joint of the chalice there are three gilded bas-reliefs in the shape of large roses. In Christian symbolism, the rose refers especially to the martyrdom of Christ and to the Mother of God.
There is an organ above the main entrance to the church. They were built in 1934 by master Wojciech Ryczaj from Blizne, a town located 100 km from Wólka Niedzwiedzka. Parishioners managed to collect funds for this purpose. The organ was consecrated in 1935 by priest Ludwik Bukała, dean of Sandomierz. The instrument is divided into three polychrome and gilded segments. The organ has nine voices, here it is worth explaining that organ pipes are grouped into voices characterized by specific sound properties, i.e. one voice consists of as many pipes as the instrument has keys in a given section. Organ voices have unusual names, e.g. principal, forest flute, night horn. In 2001, a thorough inspection, renovation and tuning of our organs was carried out.
The construction of the church
The church is built of larch wood, after the reconstruction in 1912 it was raised by two meters, and in 1921 a vestibule was added in front of the main entrance. The church, both inside and outside, is boarded with fir boards. Originally, the roof of the temple was covered with shingles, then it was covered with tiles, and then with red sheet metal. The culmination of the body of the church is a small turret with a bell, which announces the beginning of the mass.
The church’s steel belfry was built in 1971. The oldest of the three bells with the image of St. Adalbert and the inscription Adalbertus, i.e. Wojciech was made in 1925. It weighs 170 kilograms, this bell was hidden for the entire period of World War II in the courtyard of one of the parishioners and thus it was saved. The Wojciech bell sounded again at the resurrection just after the end of hostilities. Another one weighing 270 kilograms with the inscription my name Maryja was founded by the parishioners in 1971. The last of the bells, the heaviest weighing 430 kilograms with the inscription my name John the Baptist, was funded a year later by parishioners and families from the United States.