Parish church of St John the Apostle and Evangelist, Bydgoszcz
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Parish church of St John the Apostle and Evangelist

Bydgoszcz

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The church, located in the old Fordon district of Bydgoszcz, enjoys the status of a local landmark, with its distinctive tower instantly defining the surrounding landscape.

History

The first members of the local Evangelical community have settled in the once-separate town of Fordon after 1772. Most of them were German settlers who initially formed part of the larger community in Bydgoszcz, formed in 1773. A separate Evangelical community in Fordon was established in 1822, with the newly formed Evangelical Uniate community comprising about 2 thousand faithful from 36 neighbouring towns and villages. During the period in question, the local church remained an Evangelical Uniate place of worship, with the supervision thereof exercised by the Superintendent General in Poznań. In 1824, a pastor’s house was erected nearby, also serving as an Evangelical school which remained open until 1888. The community also had at its disposal an Evangelical cemetery which was located right next to the Catholic one. Between 1850 and 1914, the Evangelical parish in Fordon experienced a period of rapid growth, with the majority of its members being Germans, who also accounted for most of the population of both the town of Fordon and the surrounding area. After World War I, the community consisted of about 900 individuals, with barely 300 being left before World War II broke out.

The construction of the church began in 1877 and was completed in 1879, although the church has only received all of its interior fixtures and fittings by 1892.

The church was designed in the Gothic Revival style, its façades made of exposed red clinker brick. The current tower and sacristy were added during the first decade of the 20th century. The church was named after St John the Apostle and came equipped with a pair of bells as well as with a pipe organ manufactured by Wilhelm Sauer in Frankfurt. In 1929, on the 50th anniversary of its construction, the church underwent renovation works. It was during that period that the great altar cloth was made and that the chancel received its painted decorations. A pair of bells was also installed inside the tower during that period. The church continued to serve its original purpose until 1945, when it was taken over by the office of the Bydgoszcz district governor. Towards the end of the 1940s, the building served as a granary, while in the 1950s it became a storage facility for protective clothing.

During the 1970s, the church, dilapidated and abandoned, was scheduled for demolition. However, the intense efforts of the parish priest of the St Nicholas parish have ultimately saved the church from imminent destruction, with the ownership of the building being transferred to the parish in 1983. In years 1983-1985, a comprehensive restoration was conducted, while on November 1, 1985, the church was consecrated. The intention of the parish administration at the time was that the church would serve as the “Emaus” Academic Ministry Centre. In the year 1990, a new parish of John the Apostle and Evangelist was established. Also in the 1990s, the church received new interior fittings, including pews, confessionals, tabernacle, chalices as well as liturgical vestments and receptacles for the Eucharist. In 2001, a system of external lights illuminating the church at night was installed.

Description

The church, designed in the Gothic Revival style and oriented towards the east, is a three-nave brick basilica church, its east-facing chancel featuring a semi-hexagonal apse and adjoined by a sacristy. A tall, square tower with a hexagonal spire is positioned on the axis of the southern façade. The vestibule on its ground-floor level originally served as the main entrance. The walls of the church are reinforced with buttresses. Some of the window openings take the form of rose windows, while others are topped with pointed and segmental arches.

The Gothic Revival interiors feature massive galleries - a typical feature of Evangelical churches. The side aisles feature flat ceilings, while the ceiling of the nave follows the outline of the gable roof above.

The interior fixtures and fittings originate from the 1990s.

The monument is open to visitors. Viewing of the church is only possible by prior telephone appointment.

compiled by Krzysztof Bartowski, Historical Monument and National Heritage Documentation and Popularisation Department of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Cultural Centre in Bydgoszcz, 10-12-2014 - 20-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Parucka K., Raczyńska E. Katalog zabytków województwa bydgoskiego. Bydgoszcz 1997,
  • Biegański Z. (ed.), Dzieje Fordonu i okolic. Bydgoszcz, 1997,
  • Biskup M. (ed.): Historia Bydgoszczy. vol. 1. Warsaw-Poznań, 1991,
  • Derenda J. Piękna stara Bydgoszcz. vol. 1, Bydgoszcz 2006,
  • Książek P. Historia kościoła pw. śś. Jana Apostoła i Ewangelisty w Fordonie. (in:) Kalendarz Bydgoski 1998, Bydgoszcz 1998,
  • Parucka K. Zabytki Bydgoszczy, Bydgoszcz 2008.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1877-1879 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: gen. Władysława Sikorskiego 8, Bydgoszcz
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district Bydgoszcz, commune Bydgoszcz
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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