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Place of ruffians’ death

Punkt na szlaku: On the ruffians’ paths

In Lipnica Wielka in Orava, next to the church there is a stone figure of the Mother of God of Immaculate Conception, called also the figure of the Holy Family. According to tradition it was founded on the place of Gromadzka gallows, where the last Orava ruffian died – so-called Białoń. read more

In Lipnica Wielka, at the square near the church, separated today from the shrine with the main road leading through the village, there is a stone figure of the Mother of God of Immaculate Conception, also called the figure of the Holy Family – one of the most beautiful in the Polish Orava. According to tradition it was founded on the place of Gromadzka gallows, where the last Orava ruffian died – so-called Białoń.

Nothing is known for sure about the ruffian Białoń. According to local tradition written down almost half a century ago, his name was Jan, Jano. He was marauding on the territory of Orava (also the present day Slovak part), and allegedly he also killed in Podhale and in the vicinity of Sidzina. The legend says that thanks to unusual skill of very fast running he could move to large distance to commit robberies. Most probably he came from Kiczory or from Lipnica Wielka (Kiczory used to be a hamlet of Lipnica Wielka, independent since the 1st of January, 1984). He became a ruffian after he beat up hajduk supervising peasants at serfdom. It is unknown whether he had companions and what type of. According to the tradition, his hiding places were located at Babia Góra. The legend says that he founded in Lipnica Wielka the new Luke the Evangelist Church. According to other version the church was constructed on the place of the gallows where he died.

The place where the figure is standing is the former market square. Not a long time ago, local market and fairs were organized here. During the Hungarian times (for a long period of time Orava belonged to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy), at the same time it was the “place of justice”, that is the place of public executions. The Gromadzka gallows was located here. According to tradition, the last Orava ruffian – Białoń was hanged there. Thanks to the money found at the convict, Lipnice inhabitants founded the figure in order not to make their hands dirty with blood-stained gold. According to another version, the figure was founded by the convict’s companions – most probably by their harnaś.

Allegedly, Białoń lived in the 17th or 18th century, and according to some versions, the events took place during 1889 – 1918 (!) when the priest Józef Bąk was the rector of the Lipnice parish.

The figure comes from famous in Orava stone workshop in Biały Potok (today Slovakia – In Slovak Oravský Biely Potok). It is a column on a pedestal crowned with impressive head, on which the monument of Madonna is standing. This pedestal has two parts: lower part is similar to a cube, upper part is tetrahedral. It is standing on a new foundation. On its front side there is a relief (almost solid) of a figure of the Saint Joseph with a lily in his hand. Below there is a text of a prayer: S. JOSEPHE ORA PRO NOBIS. On the side wall of the pedestal there is a Latin foundation inscription with the date 1759 (EREXIT HONORI SSI/ IESU AC MARIAE ET DIVI/ IOSEPHI A.R.P. IGNAT/ IABLONSZKI PARÓ/ NIZNENSIS ANNO/ DNI 1759 DIE 27/7. BRIS). It shows, that in fact the founder of the figure was the first vicar of Lipnica coming from Jabłonka – priest Ignacy Jabłoński (first mention about him dates exactly to 1759), and it was founded to worship Jesus and Maria and the Saint Joseph.

The column standing on the pedestal is adorned with a relief placed on the front showing Christ the Salvator (Resurrected) with a large cross carried in both hands standing on a bouquet of roses, under which there is the skull of the first father Adam. Here, on both sides of the bunch of roses there are heads of angles with wings – identification mark of the stone workshop in Biały Potok. The figure located in the column shows the figure of the Immaculate Mother of God in a crown and royal cloth. She is standing on a globe entoured by a snake. The figure has polychrome. It was repainted in 1982.

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