Jesuit college and church complex, currently the Parish Church of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Secondary School Complex, Chojnice
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Jesuit college and church complex, currently the Parish Church of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Secondary School Complex

Chojnice

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It is an example of a Jesuit college and church designed in the late Baroque style typical of the Greater Poland region. The church is characterised by its hall and gallery interior, two-tower front façade, linear architectural decorations and rich illusionistic wall paintings, which are characteristic of the region and the time of creation. The complex is one of the dominant feature in the townscape and is particularly well exposed from the east.

History

Jesuits were invited to Chojnice by Jan Doręgowski, parish priest of Chojnice, in 1620. They were involved in missionary work and running a school. The first church complex was probably built of wood. The brick church was built in 1733-1744 under the supervision of monastery architect Jan Zellner (Selner) from Poznań. The wall paintings were made by Fanciszek Haeflich, painter from Chojnice. A monastery building was erected between 1744 and 1756. In 1749, the Jesuit residence was raised to the rank of college. In 1780, by decree of Frederick II, King of Prussia, the monastery was dissolved. The collage was converted into a Catholic junior high school in 1815. A lecture hall was added to the church in 1863. Between 1939 and 1945 the church was used by Protestants. During that period, the wall paintings were covered with plaster. The dome of the church tower was destroyed during military operations in 1945. In 1955-1958 and 1966, the entire complex was restored. In 1970, the wall paintings were revealed from under the plaster applied by Protestants.

Description

The complex is located in the centre of the village in Nowe Miasto and Gimnazjalna Streets. It adjoins the remains of the medieval defensive walls and moat to the east. It neighbours the Parish Church of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist to the south, tenement buildings to the west, and modern school building and the adjacent green area to the north.

The complex consists of a church, former college building, and lecture hall building. The church is oriented. To the north, it adjoins the college building consisting of two wings arranged in the shape of the letter “L”. The church and wings of the college form a rectangular courtyard open to the east. To the east, the church adjoins a lecture hall, and the college building adjoins a modern gym (located on the site of the former moat).

All buildings are made of brick and plastered. The church and the college are designed in the Late Baroque style. The church is set on a rectangular floor plan. The church has a nave-and-two-aisle layout, two bays, and hall and gallery interior. It features a single-bay chancel terminating in a semicircular arch, with a sacristy and porch on the sides. The sacristy and porch are surmounted by loges. Inaccessible crypts are located under the chancel. The main nave of the body is as high and wide as the chancel. The side aisles are narrow, made up of pairs of chapels interconnected with passages, separated by piers with arcades from the main nave. The chapels are surmounted by galleries. The church is cuboidal in shape, covered with a gable roof. Its front façade features two towers and a shallow porch protruding from the façade face. The rectangular towers are topped with bulbous domes with lanterns. The façades feature flat linear decorations (except for the north façade which is smooth), pilasters with Ionic capitals, broken entablature, profiled cornices, window surrounds, panels and ornaments with motifs of palmettes, bands, and interlocking S-patterns. The eastern façade is crowned with a gable with triangular pediments and wave-shaped slopes. The nave and aisles are covered with sail vaults, whereas the chancel with a hemispherical vault. The piers between the nave and aisles feature recessed corners and composite pilasters. Cornices are profiled. The buildings is lavishly decorated with stucco and paintings. The wall paintings depict scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary and Polish and Jesuit saints. The main nave is crowned by an illusionistic cupola. The galleries are enclosed by wooden openwork balustrades. The original fittings from the period of construction of the church include altars, pulpit, and pews.

The former college building has two wings and two storeys. The interior features a single-bay layout with corridors on the courtyard side. The building is cuboid in shape and covered with a gable roof. The façades are pierced by window openings framed by surrounds. The window sills are decorated with panels. The front façade features pilasters in giant order, with composite capitals. The space between the stores is adorned with circular panels. On the axis, the portal is framed by half-columns and topped with a circular panel and segmental arch. Alongside the façade is a bricked-up gate framed by surrounds similar to that around the portal. The top sections of the wings are crowned with triangular pediments and undulating slopes. The corridors of the ground floor are covered with sail vaults with arches; the remaining rooms are fitted with sail vaults and ceilings. The upper floors underwent alterations. The basements feature barrel vaults.

The lecture hall building was designed in the Renaissance Revival style. It was built using the medieval town rampart. The first floor features a spacious lecture hall with semicircular-arched windows.

The church is open to visitors. The college building can be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Beata Dygulska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 07-09-2015.

Bibliography

  • Dzieje Chojnic, red. K. Ostrowski, Chojnice 2003, str. 208-211;
  • Heise J., Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmaeler der Provinz Westpreussen, Pommerellen, H. 8, Kreise Konitz, Danzig 1884-1887, str. 376-379;
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t. XI: Dawne województwo bydgoskie, z. 5: Chojnice, Czersk i okolice, oprac. P. Pałamarz, J. T. Petrus, Warszawa1979, str. 18-25

General information

  • Type: monastery
  • Chronology: 1. poł. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Pocztowa 2, Nowe Miasto 4-6 , Chojnice
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district chojnicki, commune Chojnice (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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