The Orthodox Church

The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Poland has a Metropolitan resident in Warsaw, and most of its faithful are of Belarusian or Ukrainian nationality and concentrated in eastern Poland. When in the late 1950's Lemkos returned to their native villages in significant numbers, some Orthodox parishes were reestablished, although most of the former Lemko churches had been taken over by the new Polish settlers and are used as Roman Catholic churches. In response to the "new" Orthodox population in the region, the Orthodox Church established the Eparchy of Przemysl/Peremyshl' and Nowy Sacz in 1983 with its see in Sanok.178 Its bishop, Adam Dubec' is a native of the Lemko Region. Church services in the Lemko Region are generally conducted in Old Church Slavonic, whereas some Orthodox churches in Poland use the Polish language.

Some Orthodox communities, denied the use of the former Lemko village churches, have constructed new places of worship. The first of these was begun in the village of Zyndranova I 1982 and completed in 1985. Saint Nicholas Church of Zyndranova was the first new Lemko church built in the Lemko Region since World War II. The church's icon screen is made up of icons and framings Fedor Goch saved from destroyed Lemko churches in the area. An iron plaque in the church indicates that it was built to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the Cyrillo-Methodian mission in the Lemko Region and the Millennium of Christianity in Kievan Rus'. The second church was begun in Krynica in august 1982, but is still unfinished. Some churches have been renovated, such as in Rozilje, Gorlice county, begun in 1986; the interior renovation (including the new icon screen and icons) was completed in February 1993.

A new Orthodox church was constructed in Gorlice in the late 1980's to sever the local Lemko population. The church, named Holy Trinity, is dedicated to the memory of Father Maksym Sandovych, a Lemko Orthodox priest who was killed by Austrian government authorities in 1914. The completed church was consecrated September 8, 1991 in an impressive ceremony officiated by Metropolitan Vasylij of Warsaw and Bishop Adam of the Przemysl/Nowy Sacz Eparchy. The interior of the church contains the icon screen which was transferred from the church in Poljany (Krosno county) which is presently used as a Roman Catholic church. At the end of the rite of consecration, a commemorative plaque was blessed and placed by the church. The inscription on the plaque was in Lemko language and reads as follows: The Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity
the monument to honor the martyrdom
of the Priest Maksym Sandovych
a great son of the Lemko Region
murdered for the Orthodox faith
by the gendarmes of the Austrian regime
on September 6, 1914
in Gorlice179

The Orthodox Church of Poland intends to canonize Father Sandovych on September 11, 1994.180 Sandovych will thus become the first Lemko saint of the Orthodox Church.

The tradition of otpust was revived on July 12, 1992 on the hill "Javir" in the village of Wysowa/Vysova (Gorlice county); Bishop Adam was present along with Orthodox Lemkos from the Lemko Region.

The churches in Krynica, Zyndranova, and Poljany are shown in Appendix XI; for a list of Orthodox parishes in the Lemko Region, see Appendix XII.

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