The Greek Catholic church of Lukov – Venécia, located 19 kilometres west of Bardejov, was originally located in the village of Nowa Wieś near Nowy Sącz, Poland. The inhabitants of Venécia bought the church, dismantled it, took it home and rebuilt it anew. Their church was consecrated in 1708 when the buildingwas dedicated to new patrons – Saints Cosmas and Damian.

The south wall of the church contains a donated icon of Hodegetria with an inscription from 1654 which indicates church’s foreign origin and distinct dedication. 

The church is a three part structure with three towers and crosses. The main tower holds two bells. The former bell is dated to 1755, the latter to 1886. Unusuallythe lower part of the tower is open and accessible. The exposed space spreads further over thetower’s girth making it a unique feature among churches of the type.

Another peculiarity is a cellar located under the sanctuary and the fact that the entrance doors to the church are positioned from the south and not west.

The interior of the building is dominated by an eighteenth century iconostasis composed of four rows. The first row of icons depict several figures – Saint Nicolas the Bishop, Hodegetria, Christ the Teacher as well as the patron saints of the church Cosmas and Damian. The royal doors are adorned by a depiction of grape and six medallions – each depicting an evangelist and scenes from the Annunciation.

The iconostasis includes unusual medallions in its second row. They show the most important twelve annual feast days. The middle of the second row contains the Veil of Veronica. The spot is usually reserved for the icon of the Last Supper

The third row holds an icon of Christ the Pantocrator. The figure of Christ is flanked by two praying angels. The fourth row is divided into two levels and depicts Old Testament figures– patriarchs, prophets, judges and kings. The final icon on the iconostasis depicts a scene from the Calvary whereby Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist stand close to the crucified Jesus.

The south side of the church contains a seventeenth century icon of Hodegetria. While her left hand holds Christ, her right points out toward Jesus as the only righteouspath in the life of a man.

The north wall contains an icon of the minor Deesis, a sixteenth century icon of the Last Judgment as well two icons painted on glass as a memento to the bygone times of famous local glassmakers. These icons depict Christ on cross and the Nursing Theotokos respectively.

The sanctuary comprises a baroque altar with the depiction of Holy Trinity and a scene of Noah’s sacrifice after the flood.

The church underwent complex reconstruction between 2005 and 2008.

Mass is held only on Easter Monday, on the feast day of Saints Comas and Damian, Pentecost and during the first week of July.


Translated by:
Mgr. Samuel Beňa, M.A.