Parish Church of St Lawrence the Martyr, Brzezie
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Parish Church of St Lawrence the Martyr

Brzezie

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It is an example of a half-timbered church from the first quarter of the 19th century, built using traditional construction technology common to rural religious buildings in Pomerania between the 16th century and the 19th century. It is one of the most interesting buildings of its kind in the region, distinguished by a large size and a multi-part body and a three-aisled floor plan, created as a result of the extension of the structure in 1923.

History

According to documents preserved, the village was founded in 1590. In 1624, the site was occupied by a church belonging to the parish in Koczała. In the 17th century, most of the villagers converted to Protestantism, but the church held one Mass per month, which was celebrated by a priest from Koczała. After the First Partition of Poland, some of the residents returned to Catholicism. In 1812, the church in Brzezie that has survived to this day was built in 1812 on the site formerly occupied by a church which was destroyed in a fire. The new church was originally a single-nave building terminating in a five-sided chancel. The interior featured some of the fixtures and fittings recovered from the burned-down church. In 1864, an independent parish was established in Brzezie. In 1923, the church was extended by adding two side aisles, porch and annexes to the chancel. Side galleries were constructed in the interior (in the added side aisles). The parish was revived in 1947.

Description

The church is located in the centre of the village, on the village square. The churchyard was originally used as a graveyard; one gravestone from the late 19th century has been preserved to this day.

The building was erected on a rectangular floor plan. It consists of a nave and two aisles. The main nave is slightly longer than the side aisles and protrudes in a westerly direction. To the east, there is a chancel closed off on five sides and flanked by two annexes, which are extensions to the side aisles. To the west, a rectangular porch which is narrower than the main nave is located along the axis of the church.

The body of the church is heavily fragmented. The main body is composed of a nave and two side aisles, the façades of which are as high as the façades of the main nave. The main nave is covered with a gable roof, and each of the side aisles with two gable roofs with hip ends, lower than the roof of the main nave, with roof ridges positioned perpendicularly to the axis of the main nave. The main nave terminates in a chancel closed off on five sides to the east and covered with a roof consisting of five sections. Two small single-storey annexes are located on both sides of the chancel. To the west, a two-storey porch narrower than the nave leads to the main nave. The ceilings of the nave incorporate a single-storey tower covered with a multi-section bulbous dome with a lantern. The interior of the church features a hall layout with galleries spaced along the western wall and over the side aisles.

The church is set on a stone foundation. It features a half-timbered structure with brick infills and is covered with plaster. The tower is made of wood and features a post-and-frame structure. The gable end of the front wall and the tower are covered with weatherboards. The roof rests on a rafter and queen-post roof truss. The roofing is made of copper sheet metal. The beamed ceiling features wooden board linings and a crown moulding in the chancel, and is decorated with paintings. The porch is characterised by the original brick floor.

The façades are basically without architectural detail, with the exception of profiled wooden cornices running below the eaves and window and door surrounds. The clearly apparent structure of the building featuring a dense checkerboard arrangement of posts and beams and the materials and colours of the wooden structure contrasted with plastered infills serve as a decoration.

More interesting interior decorations and fittings include a wooden gallery with decoratively profiled pillars and angle braces and a panel balustrade finished with an apron motif at the bottom. The ceiling of the church is adorned with neo-Baroque grisaille paintings with figural scenes, religious symbols, and foliate scrollwork; the paintings date from the 1930s. The church features three preserved items of historic window joinery placed in the chancel and two doors from the porch to the nave and to the northern annex, featuring a frame-and-panel structure, and covered with wooden boards.

Some of the historic fixtures and fittings of the church come from the former church. These include: Rococo main altar from the 18th c., pulpit and baptismal font from the second half of the 18th c., copper baptismal font from the 17th c., wooden crucifix from the 18th c., neo-Baroque sculptures depicting the Immaculate Heart of May and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus from the late 19th c., neo-Baroque confessionals from the first quarter of the 20th c., neo-Baroque pipe organ casing with the instrument from the 20th c., and four bells including one red-bronze bell from the early 19th c. and three steel bells from the 1920s.

The church is open during services.

compiled by Beata Dygulska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 1-07-2014.

Bibliography

  • Sadkowski T., Drewniana architektura sakralna na Pomorzu Gdańskim w XVIII-XX w., Gdańsk 1977.
  • Fryda M., Kościoły Człuchowa i okolicy, Człuchów 1995, s.14.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XIX w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Brzezie
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district człuchowski, commune Rzeczenica
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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