The church of Saint Leonard in Lipnica was built at the end of the 15th century, although an unconfirmed local tradition attributes it to the date of the year 1141. This date can be read on an oak pillar inside the temple, which was to represent a Slav god from a pagan temple located here before the church construction. According to the researchers, this is a vertical beam of the cross, probably from the first Christian church built in the 12th / 13th century. At that time, altars were not used, and only crosses were placed in the temples.
In the 18th century, the church’s corpus was surrounded by open arcades, and in 1711 a baroque turret was added which was then a bell tower. In the nineteenth century, the western portal was added. The church has been renovated many times, but luckily it has never suffered any serious damages. It was last damaged by a flood in 1997. At that time, the water then laid foundations, got inside and destroyed the crypt. The temple was saved by the inhabitants of the village, tying it with ropes to powerful trees. After the flood subsided, thorough renovation works were quickly started.
It is a gothic temple, orientated, with a log structure, two-part with a chancel closed on three sides. The nave is wider, in the shape of a square. The roof of the temple is single-ridge, covered with shingles. According to the old tradition, the windows are only on the south side, and the entrance doors from the south and west. In the raw interior, the impression is made by ornamental and figural polychromes that tightly cover walls and ceiling. The oldest decoration of ceilings in the presbytery comes from the end of the 15th century, and in the nave from the 16th century.
The church has been preserved to this day almost unchanged since its inception and belongs to the most valuable monuments of Poland. In confirmation of this, in 2003, it was included, along with other wooden churches of southern Małopolska and Podkarpacie, on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Krasnowolski B., Leksykon zabytków architektury Małopolski, Warszawa 2013.
Szlak architektury drewnianej. Małopolska, Cisowski B., Duda M., Kraków 2005.