The church of Archangel Michael was an orthodox church, situated in Warsaw, Poland. Recognized as symbols of Russian Power during the second Polish Republic, it was one of the military churches built to serve the Russian troops stationed in Warsaw, specifically the Lithuanian Regiment, constructed in 1894 within a period of increased investment in the church building. The building of the church took place under the last reigns of Alexander III and the beginning of the rule of Nicholas II in the western borderlines of the Russian Empire. The church of the Archangel Michael is a fine example of orthodox churches built to serve and supply their churches for individual Russian military units.

The church stood on the square in front of the new palace in Warsaw (at 12 Ujazdowskie Avenue), adding symbolism to it. The particular area in the 1890s served as an attraction for wealthy Russian civilians. The entire design and construction was engineered by Captain Lüders and carried out between 1892 and 1894. 

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View of the Orthodox Church ©Wikipedia.org

Architecturally, the formation was considered one of the most successful orthodox churches built by the Russian regiments in Warsaw. The church was designed in regards to the surrounding environment (specifically the parks), which made it different from the other orthodox churches. The nature of the church and the intention of development made the architecture more elite. 

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View of the church from Ujazadow Park ©Wikipedia.org

Designed in a late variety of Russian Revival Architecture, the church consisted of five domes with crosses and a bell tower, with an additional dome over the entrance. The Domes are preserved with galvanized zinc and green paint. There was a small onion-shaped domed bell tower just above the gateway, and the central church portals supported the rich columns and flanked by two small ones.

The interiors, as well as the exteriors, were covered with rich details. The interiors of the church consist of frescos on the walls by painter Aleksandr Murashko. The interior of the domes was glided, and the floor of the church was laid out in Terracotta. 

As the Russian troops left Warsaw after world war 1(in 1915), the church lost its purpose, and hence was abandoned. Due to its relinquishment, the church fell into disrepair. Eventually, it was used as a parish church of the Evangelical Church for a short period, but because of its past relations with the Russian Authorities in Warsaw, the church was demolished in 1923. 

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Interior of the newly built church ©Wikipedia.org

The primary reason for its demolition was its atrocious condition due to desertion and lack of maintenance. The demise of the Church of Archangel Michael led to becoming one of the episodes of regaining of churches from the orthodox church constructions led by Russian Troops.

After the year 1945, the church was amongst the first ones to be fully erected in the capital of Poland. The architect of this church, Władysław Pieńkowski ( 1907–1991 ), played a considerable influence in the post-war church architecture in Poland. The construction of the church relied on the dynamic changes in the balance of the political forces. The architectural design had to be reworked, despite their patronage and years of repeating halting and extension of construction over the years. 

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Exterior view of the gothic revival architecture in the church ©Wikipedia.org

The layout dates into three particular stages, from 1948-51, the subsequent one from the year 1954, and a final one from 1956–1961. The evolution of its design moved from the initial continuation of typical pre-war Modernised Revivalism forms to an eccentric reference to Socialist Realism, to finally into rigorous Modernism. A large-scale application of prefabricated elements has been observed in the ornamentation of the edifice. The prefabrication of this church resonates with valuable events of political (The Thaw), as well as the religious nature (the second Vatican council).

The church is a fine example of tracing the history of the design of Warsaw Churches and clarifying its connection with contemporaneous church architecture in Poland. 

Ansha Kohli
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Ansha Kohli is whimsical andenigmatic when it comes to her life. Wanting to pursue a career in architecture journalism after completing her graduation, she is on the road to seek something new and exciting, and subsequently enthusiastic to share as well as understand different philosophies associated with art and architecture.

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