The pilgrimage church of the Holy Cross in Braniewo, currently the parish and monastic church of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists), Braniewo
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The pilgrimage church of the Holy Cross in Braniewo, currently the parish and monastic church of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (the Redemptorists)

Braniewo

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An example of Baroque ecclesiastical architecture with surviving original fittings from the Baroque period. The only surviving church in Warmia built on a Greek cross floorplan.

History

Braniewo, the oldest town in Warmia, first established in 1254, was initially the seat of Warmia bishops and later the main town of the Prince-Bishopric of Warmia. In 1565, cardinal Stanisław Hozjusz established the first Jesuit college in Poland in Braniewo. The Baroque church of the Holy Cross was built in 1722 - 1747, its construction having been inspired by the rector of the Jesuit college Teofil Zabłocki, with financial support from archbishop Teodor Potocki; it replaced an earlier wooden pilgrimage temple connected with the cult of the painting of bleeding Christ, which had been desecrated by Swedish soldiers in 1626. Following the liquidation of the Jesuit order in 1773, the sanctuary lost most of its importance and which was taken over by the priests from the parish church of St Catherine in 1811. In years 1927 - 29, a monastery of the Redemptorists, who came to Braniewo from Bonn, was built near the church. After 1945, the church was taken over by Polish Redemptorists who reconstructed the monastery destroyed during the war and restored the church e.g. by renovating organs and repairing the dome which had suffered extensive damage during the war.The church became established as a pilgrimage destination due to the fact that it formed a manifest of Catholic faith in an area located directly adjacent to the Protestant Kingdom of Prussia, which coincided with the rising popularity of the pilgrimage movement in Warmia in the 17th and 18th centuries. It is considered to be one of the so-called pilgrimage churches of Warmia, all of them designed in the Baroque style (Glotowo, Chwalęcin, Krosno, Międzylesie Lidzbarskie, Święta Lipka).

Description

The church is located in north-western part of the town, on the left bank of the Pasłęka river. It is a brick building built on a floor plan of a Greek cross, its facades featuring exposed brick with no plaster finish; a complex of monastery buildings adjoins the church from the east. The church features a chancel flanked by a pair of sacristies. A dome rises above the section when the arms of the church intersect, supported by a tholobate and pendentives and crowned with a lantern. Inside the church, in its central part, there is a tholobate resting on pendentives, designed to support the dome above. The windows of the church in the chancel are topped with segmental arches, while the sacristies feature oval windows. The facades are partitioned in an analogous manner, with a frieze beneath the eaves and niches with wooden figures (Mother of God and the Man of Sorrows) from 1740, made by Jan Chrystian Schmidt from Reszel; sculptures of St Adalbert, and St Francis Xavier) from the early 19th century, made by Charles Jaroszewicz, grace the southern facade of the church. The figures of St Peter and the Virgin Mary with the Infant Jesus adorn and eastern facades of the building. The church is covered with intersecting hip roofs covered with ceramic roof tiles and accentuated by small dormers. The interior is quite uniform in terms of style, containing Late Baroque fittings the most valuable of which include the main altar from 1738, incorporating the painting of the Throne of Mercy, believed to possess miraculous qualities. The side altars made by Jan Chrystian Schmidt from Reszel should also be mentioned at this point. The church also features a pulpit made by Jan Frey, antique confessionals and an organ gallery built ca. 1740.

Accessible structure. The building may be visited upon prior telephone appointment.

Compiled by Maurycy Domino, 4.12.2014.

 

Bibliography

  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce. Seria Nowa, t. 2: Województwo elbląskie, z.1: Braniewo, Frombork, Orneta i Okolice, Warszawa 1980, p. 20-23.   
  • Poklewski J., Kościoły odpustowe na Warmii, [w:] Sztuka pobrzeża Bałtyku, Warszawa 1978, p. 341-354.
  • Rzempołuch A., Przewodnik po zabytkach sztuki dawnych Prus Wschodnich, Olsztyn1992, p. 25-26.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1722-1747
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Świętokrzyska 10, Braniewo
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district braniewski, commune Braniewo (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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