St. Michael the Archangel Greek orthodox church in Pielgrzymka

Pielgrzymka is a village located in South-East Poland, in Beskid Niski, a few miles near Nowy Żmigród.

Till 1946 it was the Lemko village. In 1785 Pielgrzymka was inhabited by 638 Greek Catholics, 48 Roman Catholics and 8 Jews. After 1947 during the “operation Vistula”, Boykos and Lemkos living in this part of Poland were forced by the communist authorities to displace to the western Polish territories. The church was abandoned and ruined. Some Lemko families came back to Pielgrzymka and in 1960 the orthodox parish had been re-established there.

The wooden church in Pielgrzymka was built at the end of 18th or in 19th century (the exact dates are not known). This is typical construction for the Łemko churches. The building is composed from three main parts: the presbytery, the nave and the vestibule, above which there is a belfry tower.

Inside, the walls are covered with polychrome paintings from the 19th century.

The iconostasis in the orthodox church in Pielgrzymka. Source:

In the side altar there is a miraculous icon of Holy Mary Hodegetria. This is the iconographic type when she is holding the Child Jesus at her side, while pointing to Him as the source of salvation for mankind. In the Western Church this type of icon is sometimes called “Our Lady of the Way”.

There is the legend that this icon was miraculously brought from Hungary and appeared in Pielgrzymka on the linden tree, growing next to the church. According to the legend, the Hungarian owners of the painting came to Pielgrzymka to retrieve it back. They loaded it into the cart, but the horses would not move, grounded to the place where they stood. People treated this as a sign from God and the icon remained in Pielgrzymka.

The miraculous icon from the church in Pielgrzymka, source:

Some of the old icons from Pielgrzymka are currently stored in the museums in Łańcut Palace and in the open air museum in Sanok, where they are exhibited to the public.

There is an excellent website of the Church in Pielgrzymka, with a virtual tour in the church’s interior with beautiful sacred music:


Magdalena i Artur Michniewscy, Marta Duda, Cerkwie drewniane Karpat. Polska i Słowacja, Wydawnictwo Rewasz, Pruszków, 2003

Website about the architecture of Pielgrzymka church (in Polish only) :

Click here to see the details of our ready-made tour ‘Wooden treasures of southern Poland’:

Aga Pawlus
PolishOrigins Team

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