A Catholic parish of St John the Baptist in Odrzechowa got the third prize in the II edition of the General Conservator Competition for the best educational project on heritage. The honour was given to the parish for the initiative entitled Odrzechowa Secrets. The prize was handed in the Wrocław Opera on 21 November during the solemn ceremony. The prize was handed to Odrzechowa’s parish priest Marian Bondal and Kazimierz Wolański, the village’s inhabitant and representative of the Association for Development of Odrzechowa village.
Priest Bondal, together with the association’s members and students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, as one of the initiators of saving the architectural monuments of Odrzechowa’s church, did not expect the honour. As we were designing the project, we never thought that we would be given something – as he says. It was a big surprise for us. Ten thousand zlotys that the parish got will be dedicated to the further renovation of monuments related to the old tabernacle from the Greek Catholic church in Odrzechowa. The Angel Doors are planned to be reconstructed. According to the parish priest, the project aims to enable getting to know the village and parish history not only when it comes to the village’s inhabitants, but also the visitors. If it turns out to be successful, also the third edition of Odrzechowa Secrets will be organized. Priest Bondal added also that there are plans to renovate some old monuments at the local cemetery.
The General Conservator Competition was directed to the owners or managers of historic objects that have been entered into the registry of monuments. The main aim of the initiative is promotion of actions related to popularization of the knowledge on cultural heritage and deepening the social awareness concerning the value of monuments. Prizes were handed in three categories: lectures, workshops, open-air activities and exhibitions, as well as multimedia projects. Odrzechowa Secrets got the third place in the first category.
Odrzechowa Secrets is a common project of Association for Development of Odrzechowa village and the students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw from the Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art, centered in the students’ circle of Craft and Protection of Non-material Cultural Heritage. The project’s goal is to renovate and conserve what has been left after the resettlements in the former Greek Catholic church of St John the Baptist in Odrzechowa which nowadays functions as a Catholic church. The centre of the XIXth c. church in the last decades has been rearranged unsuccessfully for several times. Some fragments of the original arrangement from the XVIII and XIX have been left, they have been covered by a conservator’s custody. These are elements of the iconostasis, lateral altars and icons that decorated the centre of the church. The fragments of the arrangement prove that the interior of the church used to reflect high standards of the sacred art of the end of the XIXth century.
The works started with bringing the saved elements from the church’s attic. The students, together with a group of the local firemen, took all the parts and inventoried them carefully – each of the elements was described and photographed. Then, the elements were pieced together. They succeeded to recreate 3 altars that dated back to different periods of the churchs’ existence, as well as the Angel Doors and Diaconal Doors. Because there were no pre-war photos concerning the church’s interior, only thanks to good memory of the village’s resettled inhabitants, it was possible to establish that one of the altars comes from the neighbouring village and it was transported to Odrzechowa after 1945.
The project included workshops on painting icons and folk graphics, the participants were the students, as well as children and youth from Odrzechowa. A dozen or so icon pictures were made that refer to the history of the church. Linocuts and photographic documentation including description of the project were exhibited among others in the Galician Town, the Museum of Folk Architecture in Sanok. Fragments of the found masterpieces are now secured, part of them has undergone conservation this year, there are plans to reconstruct some elements of the equipment. At the end of October, woodwork and woodcarving workshops took place within the project in Odrzechowa , the fruit of which was an exhibition construction for icons by Julian Pankiewicz. The icons come from an old iconostasis. The participants learned also woodcarving of elements that decorate an iconostasis.
The whole project has been realized thanks to the cooperation of the local parish priest Marian Bondal, the village’s inhabitants and interested students.
Phot. Official Facebook profile of the project.