Grywałd – St Martin’s Church


   The church of St. Martin in Grywałd was erected in the second half of fifteenth century on the site of an earlier temple. Legend has it that even earlier this place was a pagan shrine. The temple was originally under royal patronage, held by successive tenutarians of the Czorsztyn starosty. Before 1618, the church was rebuilt. The changes mainly concerned on the roof structure and ceilings. During this period, the tower was also added, and the interior was covered with polychrome. In 1845, the sacristy and the porch were added. At the beginning of the 20th century, the church was already very neglected, but a thorough renovation was carried out only in 1937. Another major renovation work took place in 2000, the shingle cover was then replaced entirely.


   The church was built as a building orientated towards the sides of the world, and covered with shingles. Initially, it consisted of a square nave of a log structure, as well as a log, narrower chancel on the rectangular plan, on the eastern side. Later, a four-sided tower tower was added on the west side, a sacristy was attached to the presbytery from the north, and a porch to the nave from the south. The tower and the northern part of the nave were surrounded by boarded arcades. The chancel and the nave were covered with separate gable roofs, while a small tetrahedral ridge turret was placed in the roof above the nave, probably as a result of the rebuilding. It is presumed that the church originally had a single-ridge roof, typical of the Lesser Poland Gothic churches, in a “zaskrzynieniowy” (chest) system. The tower received an overhanging porch and was covered with a steep, pitched hip roof.
   The church was erected in a log frame construction. This structure in the 15th-century churches in the Lesser Poland region was shaped in a characteristic way, slightly narrowing towards the top of individual frames, which resulted in visible slope of the external face towards the interior of the building. The method of connecting frames in the corners was varied, but regardless of how the logs were joined at the corners, the connections were always accompanied by so-called covered peg, i.e. the element stiffening the bond itself. This was the basic factor distinguishing the early medieval, primitive construction from that used by professional carpenters from the period of late Gothic.
   The interior is covered with flat ceilings, and the nave from the presbytery is separated by a semicircular closed chancel ach. The southern entrance to the church is in the gothic, pointed portal. Similar one also existed in the western entrance, but it was removed by widening the openning. The walls of the church were originally covered with rich painting decor.

Current state

   The church has retained its original Gothic character to this day, particularly distinct from the outside. Inside the walls are covered with significantly damaged polychrome, containing figural and ornamental motifs. The medieval elements of the church’s equipment include a late-Gothic triptych from the 16th century.

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Brykowski R., Kornecki M., Drewniane kościoły w Małopolsce południowej, Wrocław 1984.
Brykowski R., Drewniana architektura kościelna w Małopolsce XV wieku, Warszawa 1981.
Cisowski B., Duda M., Szlak architektury drewnianej. Małopolska, Kraków 2005.
Kornecki M., Gotyckie kościoły drewniane na Podhalu, Kraków 1987.

Webpage, Kościół Św. Marcina.