Parish church of St Peter and Paul, Bidziny
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Parish church of St Peter and Paul

Bidziny

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An excellent example of provincial ecclesiastical architecture of the Late Baroque period, featuring a resplendent Rococo interior.

History

The very first mentions of the church in Bidziny date back to 1326, although little else is known today about the church in question. The existing church was funded in 1720 by Stanisław Aleksander Bidziński, the pantler (stolnik, an honorary court title in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) of the Wenden Province. Once the construction works were complete, the church was consecrated by Michał Kunicki, the bishop of Cracow, in the year 1730. During the second half of the 18th century as well as in the early 20th century, various maintenance and renovation works were being performed with varying degrees of intensity, covering both the church and its surroundings and resulting in the addition of a number of decorative flourishes. In years 1770-1780, the church received a new, Rococo interior décor, with the works being performed by the atelier of Maciej Polejowski, a renowned sculptor from Lviv who was also responsible for numerous projects carried out in the Sandomierz region. In 1842, a perimeter wall was erected around the church cemetery. Back then, the bell tower accompanying the church was still a wooden structure; the new, brick bell tower was erected in 1889 at the initiative of rev. Józef Skoczewski, who also made various other contributions insofar as the extension of the church was concerned, including the construction of the new rectory as well as the surviving statue of Christ which occupies the site of the now-defunct vicarage. In 1904, the gate leading into the former cemetery was constructed, surmounted by the statues of the patrons of the church – St Peter and St Paul. The complex of parish buildings surrounding the church in Bidziny was originally quite extensive; apart from the church, cemetery and bell tower, it also included a rectory with an orchard and garden, utility buildings as well as a wooden organist’s house erected in the first quarter of the 20th century, which has survived to the present day. In 1936, the façade of the church was restored, as evidenced by an inscription placed on the gable-end wall of the chancel. In 1977, the painted decorations gracing the interior were restored, while in the years 2001-2006, the roof cladding was replaced and the façades of the church and the former cemetery wall were all subjected to renovation works.

Description

The church is situated on a small hill in the western part of the village, in the middle of the former church cemetery surrounded by a perimeter wall, featuring a bell tower in the north-eastern corner. The church, oriented towards the east, is made of split stone and was designed in the Late Baroque style. Its compact, monumental silhouette consists of a two-bay nave designed on a rectangular floor plan, a lower and narrower chancel likewise erected on a rectangular floor plan as well as the western porch and the sacristy adjoining the northern wall of the chancel. The nave and the chancel are topped with tall gable roofs, with the nave roof being surmounted by a slender steeple. The façades of the church are partitioned with pilasters in a typical Baroque fashion, with paired pilasters at the corners. The walls are topped with a uniform, pronounced yet restrained crowning cornice with a subtly moulded profile. The western and eastern façade gables, with their arched blind windows, triangular pediments, volute-shaped edges and decorative obelisks, are a particularly impressive feature. Inside, the walls of the church are likewise partitioned with pilasters, with a semi-circular rood arch separating the nave and the chancel. The nave features a vaulted ceiling of the barrel type, with lunettes, whereas the chancel has a barrel vault supported by structural arches. The walls of the nave and the chancel are adorned with painted decorations. The wooden organ gallery features a curvilinear, profiled balustrade designed in the Rococo style, while both the main altarpiece and the two side altarpieces are examples of Late Baroque design. The interior of the church features an astounding profusion of sumptuous fixtures and fittings, including the epitaph plaques dedicated to the lords of the Bidziny manor and the owners of the surrounding villages, embedded in the walls of the structure.
The church is accompanied by a two-storey bell tower made of exposed split stone and brick, its austere façades adorned with brick lintels and cornices made of diagonally arranged brick. The bell tower – a typical example of late 19th/early 20th century Historicist design incorporating features of various architectural styles of the past – creates an intriguing contrast when juxtaposed with the refined, sophisticated Baroque silhouette of the church.

The site is open to visitors. The interiors may be explored by prior arrangement with the parish priest.

Compiled by Aleksandra Ziółkowska, 25-11-2015

Bibliography

  • Karty ewidencyjne zabytków architektury i budownictwa, Bidziny, Zespół kościoła, Kościół par. pw. św.św. Piotra i Pawła, Dzwonnica, Bramka, oprac. A. Adamczyk, 1991, Archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Kielcach, Delegatura w Sandomierzu.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. III, z. 7, Warszawa 1959.
  • Śmiechowski R., Parafia Bidziny, „Rocznik Diecezji Sandomierskiej na r. 1930”.
  • Wiśniewski J., Monografie kościołów w dekanacie opatowskim, Radom 1906. 

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1720 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Bidziny 31
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district opatowski, commune Wojciechowice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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