Wooden churches constitute the biggest and the most important type of wooden constructions. Their important position is due not only to the fact that they are the oldest constructions. It is so because they have harboured the best solutions to difficult technical problems which have not been the same in the case of housing and farm constructions. The artistic qualities have also been an important aspect in case of wooden churches. These constructions, which are dotted around Opole District, testify to the high technical skills and unique artistic and spatial solutions, where simplicity and functionality of resources have been major issues. The wooden churches may be encountered in the following locations: Czarnowąsy (it burnt down in 2005, but it was rebuilt and reopened in 2007), Dobrzeń Wielki, Ochodze, Popielów, Zakrzów Turawski, Bierdzany, Radomierowice and Kolanowice.
Bierdzany (the origins of the village date back to the 13th century) – St. Jadwiga Church was built in 1711. In 1410 there was a St. Valentine Church. The present day church is located in the centre of the village and is the only wooden parish church in entire Opole District. In 1961, during the renovation of the church, a beautiful polychrome was discovered. It features figural compositions showing the themes from Old and New Testament. At the side entrance doors there is a painting featuring the image of death, which is commonly known as "Death from Bierdzany" ("Bierdzańska Śmierć"). Sunday Masses take place at 8 am and 10 am, on weekdays at 6 pm (in summer), at 5 pm (in winter). Telephone: - 77 4213094.
Jadwiga (she lived in the years 1174-1243) was a daughter of Bertold and Agnes, the princes of Meran in Germany. She married Henryk Brodaty (Henry the Bearded) – a Prince of Silesia - and gave birth to 3 daughters and 4 sons. In 1209 the couple swore an oath of purity and funded Cistercian Convent in Trzebnica, where the first prioress was their first daughter – Gerthrude. From then on, Princess Jadwiga spent her remaining lifetime in the convent where she mourned, prayed and exercised care upon the sick and the poor. She was canonized 24 years after her death. She is usually pictured barefooted, with the crown on her head and the image of the church on the palm of her hand.
Czarnowąsy (the village was first mentioned in 1228 when the Prince of Opole, Casimir, moved the Premonstratesian convent from Rybnik . Prince Casimir donated to the sisters 23 villages belonging to the Principality of Opole, including Czarnowąsy, which later belonged to the convent until the year of 1810 (secularization date). St. Anne Church was built in 1687 on the graveyard on the initiative of the parish priest Balthasar Gebert and by a carpenter Krzysztof Młyński from Poręba. It is the church of baroque style on the masonry underpinning. It consists of a chancel, nave, two chapels and sacristy. The high altar dates back to late Baroque in the17th century, with sculptures of Joseph, Joachim, Barbara the Martyr and small angels. In the middle of the ceiling there is a painting of St. Anne, a patron of the church teaching Mary. The church burnt down completely in 2005. It was rebuilt and reopened to the public in 2007. Corpus Christi and St. Norbert Church in Czarnowąsy. Telephone: 77 4691084
Dobrzeń Wielki – it was first mentioned in 1228 as the village belonging to the convent in Czarnowąsy.
St. Roch Church is a wooden construction built in 1658, situated on the graveyard on the outskirts of the village. The baroque high altar from 1700 with the paining of St. Roch. 16 August is the day of pilgrimage commemorated on the occasion of name day of the patron; the cult of St. Roch is still lively and vibrant.
St. Roch lived in 15th century; he was born in Montpelier, France, in the rich family. Following the death of his parents, he gave away their wealth to the poor and set off on foot to Rome. Along the long route he stopped in the towns ravaged by the bubonic plague. Notwithstanding the dangers, he stayed on and helped those sick and in need. God vested in him a divine grace of healing the sick. The cult of St. Roch spread rapidly throughout all Europe ravaged by the bubonic plague. He is considered a patron protecting people and animals against the plague.
Kolanowice – the beginnings of the village date back to the 13th century. The wooden St. Barbara Church was built in 1473 in Opole as a parish church of Observance Friars. It was first built and perched in Opole right next to the so-called Bytom Gate, which later crumbled down and left nothing behind. In 1678 the Franciscan Friar Adam Areba strived to build a new wooden church. In 1811, after secularization, the church was sold to the village of Kolanowice. In 1812 the church was consecrated. The window sill at the organ gallery is ornamented with 12 painted scenes from St. Barbara's life (around the year of 1700). The baroque high altar from 1680 with sculptures of the Saints: Francis, Anthony, Jadwiga and the Archangel Micheal. The original constructions are also collator benches and the pulpit (17th century). Masses are held on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 5 pm.
Saint Barbara is a legendary saint who lived most probably in the 3rd century AD. She protects against sudden and unexpected death. However, in the very beginning she was also a patron of rafters and fishermen, later she exercised care upon miners and steelworkers as well as pharmacists. Her foremost attributes are, among others, a chalice with monstrance, which testifies to her invincible faith; a palm leaf and a sword, on the other hand, are the symbols of martyrdom; the tower with three windows symbolizes the place of her imprisonment.
St. Joseph Parish in the village of Węgry. Telephone: 77 4212484.
Ochodze – a wooden St. Martin and Mother of God the Queen of the World Church was built in 1702 in Komprachcice. In 1942 the church was relocated to Ochodze, which was due to the construction of the new bricked church. Particularly conspicuous is the pulpit dating back to 17th century and baptismal font of baroque and folk style. The late baroque figure of St. Martin is placed in the altar. The church tower is topped with characteristic cross called karawaka. It is the cross with two crosswise arms (the lower one is longer). In the 16th and 17th centuries this unique type of cross was considered to be the protection against the bubonic plague. The name originates from the Spanish city of Caravaca where such crosses were first carried during bubonic plague. Similar crosses were frequently placed on the churches and chapels which corroborates the assumption that Opole and its surroundings were frequently affected by epidemics of bubonic plague and cholera.
Masses are held on Sundays at 8 am and 10 am, Thursdays at 7 am, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 pm (from May to September), at 5 pm (from October to November), at 6 pm (from December to March). Telephone: 77 4646838
Popielów – the beginnings of the village date back to 13th century. On the graveyard in Popielów one may admire a wooden church built in 1654 as St. Andrew Church. In 1888 there was a new bricked church built in the village and the old wooden church was relocated to the graveyard. The baroque high altar dates back to the17th century, with the sculptures of St. John the Baptist and St. Andrew, traces of polychrome, and there are also old blacksmiths bars in the two windows. Right next to the church there is a stone figure of St. John Napomucen from 1865 made by Jerzy Marek from Mokre.
The parish of Blessed Virgin Mary the Queen of Angels in Popielów. Telephone: 77 4692040. Masses are held On 1 November at 2 pm, 2 November at 9 am, 4 pm and 6 pm.
Radomierowice – a wooden branch church of the Ascension of the Blessed Virgin Mary; the church is of a skeleton construction filled with the brick wall and plastered. It was built between 1786-1790 by the master of carpentry, Petzer, in accordance with the project design of the architect Christian Isemar. It was built on the outskirts of the village and designed for German colonists brought to the region by Friedrich II in order to develop forested areas surrounding Opole. Until 1945 the church was used by Protestants; today it is used by the Catholics.
The Parish of Mother of God the Snowy in Dąbrówka Dolna. Telephone: 77 4698058; Masses are held on Sundays at 10.30 am.
Zakrzów Turawski – a wooden SS Peter and Paul Church is perched on the graveyard on the outskirts of the village. It was built there in 1759 by a carpenter Florian Kowalczyk from Jełowa. One can get to the church following a path with farm buildings and houses to its sides (all of them characteristic of skeleton construction filled with brick wall, typical of German colonists from the period of reign of Friedrich II). Particularly noteworthy are the side altars of baroque and classical style, rococo style pulpit from 17the century and four fold paintings with the following inscriptions in Polish: “Christ on the Olive Hill”, “Entry into Jerusalem”, “The Last Supper”, “Mother of God the Painful” and paintings on the flat ceiling featuring scenes from New Testament.
Parish of St. Catherine the Alexandrine in Ligota Turwaska. Telephone: 77 4213020.
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