Wrocław, University of Wrocław
After World War 2, Wrocław was one of the cities that received the Orthodox population of Poland, forcibly relocated from the eastern territories. Thus, a need arose to create parishes for the new inhabitants, in the existing Roman-Catholic or Protestant churches. In 1963, the old church of St Barbara was transformed into an Orthodox cathedral of the Nativity of the Holy Mother of God, while in 1970 an Orthodox parish of Sts Cyril and Methodius was created.
The request to adapt the interiors of both churches to the needs of the Orthodox liturgy was directed to Adam Stalony-Dobrzański and Jerzy Nowosielski, Orthodox Catholic artists from Cracow. The results of their collaboration were comprehensive conceptions for the church interiors. Some of the concepts for the polychrome, iconostases or stained glass were never realized. The remaining traces are fragments of designs, sketches, mentions and iconographic descriptions.
Adam Stalony-Dobrzański – a painter, stained-glass artist, graphic artist, art conservator, and lecturer at the Fine Arts Academy in Cracow – realized stained glass projects for church interiors in Poland from the 1950s. Also in Wrocław he committed to preparing stained glass designs for both Orthodox churches; only a few of the designs were actually realized.
In the Orthodox cathedral, there are three stained glass windows by Stalony-Dobrzański: in the side chapel of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross there is a composition with scenes of Crucifixion Exaltation of the Holy Cross (1965); in the entrance door there is a stained glass window showing Mother of God Praying and the Evangelists (1964); and in the central window of the sanctuary, there is stained glass presenting Mother of God of the Sign with scenes from the life of Mary (1991).
In the church of Sts Cyril and Methodius, up to 2011 there was a semi-circular stained glass window showing the Mother of God Eleusa (1958). The window was manufactured during the filming of the documentary Witraże Dobrzańskiego, by Jerzy Łomnicki, and was a replica of a section of a stained glass window produced by Stalony-Dobrzański for the Orthodox church in Gródek Białostocki.
Stalony-Dobrzański’s works, still waiting to be more thoroughly examined and analysed, are original and recognizable, among others, owing to their association with the icon, the Byzantine-Ruthenian tradition and typology.
Keywords: Adam Stalony-Dobrzański, Jerzy Nowosielski, sacred art, Orthodox church, Wrocław, stained glass, icon