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4_02/2002

ECHO �LONSKA

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It’s the past or that is the future!

My proposal of distinguishing the sacral buildings in the Upper Silesian Region - Poland by the Europa Nostra association in the year 2000

Europa Nostra Awards 2000 -

St. Valentine Wooden Church in Bierun Stary

All over the world, the Upper Silesian Region, situated centrally in the South of Poland at the foot of the Beskiden mountains is associated only with its heavy steel mills, coal-mines and power plants.

But there is more than that. The inhabitants of Silesia are and always have been very special people. They have been brought up within a particular Christian culture and very strongly attached to the land of their ancestors. During the past thousand years they have been speaking three languages having been in contact with three cultures.

This particular character of an inhabitant as well as the character of this geographical region in Europe is partly due to the existence of small wooden churches scattered throughout all of the Upper Silesia specially nearby towns: Raciborz, Gliwice, Rybnik, Pszczyna, Bierun Stary.

These churches have been built since the time the first Cistercian - monks came from the West to Rudy Raciborskie. Those monks were spreading Christian faith, culture and Europe economics in that region. Small wooden churches were often built on forest and wet soil and they still exist having survived since the XVII century.Their extra charm is the result of sacral architecture. Let these miracles, created by the people of that region survive the coming centuries and help Europe cherish and continue its uniqueness, tradition and culture into the third millennium.

St Valentine Wooden Church in Bierun Stary was built during the time of the 30-years War in 1623 - 1626. At the time regent of this land, Free State of Pszczyna (Pless) - Seyfryd II Promnitz was still under age. His representative was Jan Ulrich Schaffgotsch, who represented the catholic side of an Austria monarchy. The Stary Bierun - a small town belonging to the Pszczyna State was situated on the border of three big monarchies - Russia, Austria and Germany.

Their were constant robbery and destruction raids. The citizens rebuilt, renovated and protected the relics. The last fire of this 350 year old building took place in 1971 as the result of a bad electric installation. The second one was done later by a mentally ill incendiary. The f

ire in 1971 destroyed all the roof and ceiling but all the figures, paintings und altars were protected.The cost are being paid by people belonging to the parish.

A conservatory inventory and technical plans were done for the Bierun parish by Katowice team with Eng. W. Suckert und Eng. K. Kindle, Kudla and Schneider. There were preserved an old structure of “orchid bounds” of the roof which as 350 years ago was the soul of wooden churches with high roofs (look figures).

Lumberman from the area of Polish High Tatra mountains, from Chyzno prepared wood from the evergreen trees. The beams were made by the woodcutters from Skawina (Krakau) - Mr Ficek and Pavelka. The technical maintenance and oversee were done by the priest dr Jerzy Nyga and his brother Eugeniusz. They have been helped by the craftsman Rapacz and Knecht - people from this land - for people of this land, for Europe.

Member of Europa Nostra and Pan-Europa

Peter Karl Sczepanek

Peter Karl Sczepanek 
Holzweg 40, 40789 Monheim am Rhein
Tel/Fax 02173-66742

Monheim/Rh, den 25.09.2000

sczepanek@gmx.de
www.Silesiana.gmxhome.de
w Rheinische Post:
www.rp-online.de
search: Sczepanek
Silesia-Info:
www.Slonsk.com
www.EchoSlonska.com



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