Filial Church of the Holy Trinity, Cieszyn
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Filial Church of the Holy Trinity

Cieszyn

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The church is one of the Evangelical churches built in Upper and Lower Silesia in the 16th century. At the same time, it is one of the oldest Evangelical churches in Silesia, whose layout is modelled on medieval church floor plans consisting of one nave with an individuated chancel.

History

The history of the present Filial Church of the Holy Trinity goes back to the last quarter of the 16th century and is related to a major epidemic that swept Cieszyn at that time. In 1585, Duchess Sidonia Katharina presented the city with sections of gardens located outside the city walls, in which approx. 3,000 people who died during the epidemic were buried and where a wooden chapel was built. In 1594, the wooden chapel was replaced with a Late-Gothic church which has survived to this day, intended for the Evangelical community. In 1654, as Duke Adam Wenceslaus converted to Catholicism, the church was handed over to Catholics as a filial unit of the Church of St Mary Magdalene, whereas the cemetery was used by the Evangelical community until the 18th century. According to various sources, in 1659 or 1694, the church was extended on the south side with a burial chapel of the town mayor Andrzej Windau. Probably also at that time, the west façade was redesigned in the Renaissance style. At the beginning of the 19th century, the church interior was redesigned in the Gothic Revival style, adjusting new fittings, including altars and a music gallery, accordingly. In 1864, the 17th-century burial chapel was replaced with a Gothic Revival tower, containing a porch with a side entrance. As the cemetery neighbouring the church was closed down and demolished, at the beginning of the 20th century, the most valuable gravestones and epitaph plaques were incorporated into the church façades.

Description

The church was built outside the contemporary medieval city walls, within a cemetery established in 1585, to the north of the old parts of the city and the present Michejdy Street, in the immediate vicinity of a Fatebenefratelli monastery complex from the late 17th century.

The Late-Gothic, oriented church, made of brick, consists of a rectangular, three-bay nave and a slightly lower, two-bay chancel, terminating in a semi-hexagon. The chancel and the nave have separate gable roofs. A rectangular sacristy annexe, covered with a mono-pitched roof, adjoins the chancel on the north side. The dominant feature of the structure, constituting its southern part, is the Gothic Revival tower built on a square floor plan, octagonal in the upper parts, surmounted by a tented roof, containing a side entrance porch at the ground floor level. The façades of the nave and the chancel, divided by means of buttresses, pointed-arched window openings, and profiled portals, are Late-Gothic in character. The west façade, Renaissance in character, looks different — it is topped with a gable divided into three levels by means of cornices and decorated with volutes, niches, and pilasters.

The interiors of the nave and the chancel are clearly separated by means of a pointed chancel arch. The chancel is covered with a groin vault and the nave — with a barrel vault with lunettes, adorned with geometric stucco decorations reaching the columns situated between window openings. In the western part of the nave, there is a brick choir gallery from the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, supported by three arcades resting on piers and topped with a sail vault.

The original elements of the interior include the main altar dated at the 2nd quarter of the 18th century, with sculptures of St Teresa and St Jadwiga and paintings depicting the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River and two side altars from the 19th century, with images of St Tobias with an angel and of St Sebastian. Moreover, in the Gothic Revival south tower, there is a bell from 1641 with a coat of arms of Elizabeth Lucretia. The church façades incorporate three Baroque stone epitaph plaques from the 17th century.

The church is open to visitors directly before and after Masses (the days and times vary depending on the season).

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 11-08-2014.

Bibliography

  • Harasimowicz J., Treści i funkcje ideowe sztuki śląskiej Reformacji 1520-1650, Wrocław 1986.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, T. VI, woj. katowickie, z. 3: Miasto Cieszyn i powiat cieszyński, red. I. Rejduch-Samkowa, J. Samek.
  • Spyra J., Via sacra. Kościoły i klasztory w Cieszynie i Czeskim Cieszynie, Cieszyn 2008.
  • Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, red. S. Brzezicki, C. Nielsen, Warszawa 2006.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1594 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Londzina , Cieszyn
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district cieszyński, commune Cieszyn
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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