Rosary Chapel of St Lawrence, Czernichów
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Rosary Chapel of St Lawrence



Rosary Chapel resting on the very top of a hill, in the former village of Czernichówek. A modest, late Baroque sacred structure, associated with the activity of the Confraternity of the Rosary, which—after a short period of splendour—many a time went into ruin and during subsequent reconstructions, lost its style values in favour of utility features.


The Rosary Chapel was built before 1687, founded by priest Wawrzyniec Kamerer. It was located on a hill and dedicated to St Lawrence, the patron saint of the founder. The structure is connected with the local Confraternity of the Rosary, created in 1665. The Confraternity was established in 1665 by the Cracow Dominican monastery which specialised in this form of devotion; the endowment was started to be formed already in 1652. On 1 June 1687, John III Sobieski provided an endowment to the Confraternity and founded the chapel’s prebendary; he confirmed earlier privileges and endowments. Probably the first chapel was made of wooden and only in the 1680s it was bricked. Its first description was drawn up during a bishop’s inspection in 1703. It was built on a sloppy hill, on the so-called abbey field, and consecrated by bishop Oborski. It was octagonal in shape, with an octagonal cupola and a vault “constituting an extension of the walls”. It was topped with a double cupola “minore supra majorem”, decorated with painting. From the east, it had a brick sacristy where paraments were stored. Inside, there was a brick altar stone with an altar with a painting of St Joseph in it. There was also a choir with a seven-voice pipe organ, an ambo, and a light in front of the altar. It was built on rock. 20 years after it was built, its condition made it necessary to reconstruct it nearly “from scratch”. In accordance with the inspection decree, it was rebuilt and adorned with new painting decoration. Another inspection of 1748 describes the chapel and details of its fittings. An octagonal chapel with cupola ceiling had colourful stained glass windows, a cabinet-shaped altar with painted and gilded sculptures. The choir with the positive organ still exist. In the early 19th century, some rescue works were undertaken at the chapel. In 1820, after the aggregation of land, the endowment of the prebendary associated with the chapel along with the plot of land on which it was built, was transferred to the Commune as a mortgage property. The no-longer-needed sacristy was dismantled then. In 1880, the chapel is in ruins again. Its destruction is completed by the First World War. After the Second World War, the chapel no longer served cult purposes, it was abandoned and destined to fall into disrepair.


A brick, octagonal building with a tented roof. The steeple, due to its technical condition, was dismantled in 2005. The peripheral walls are made of lime stone. The central chapel, originally with a cupola ceiling, was built on the remains of ancient mausoleums and once had lavish décor and cult-related importance. It belongs to the most interesting varieties - it is octagonal: 8 is the perfect number, meaning salvation, resurrection - it is the shape given to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The cupola symbolised heavenly eternity. The chapel in its current condition, with a style-less roof deforming proportions and form of the Baroque building, incorporates in its shape and proportions of the projection a modular “ad quadratum” principle resulting from the relation of the sides of the octagon (each 4.35 m long) inscribed in a square. A mathematical analysis enables to hypothetically determine the height of the cupola, equal to the length of the octagon’s diagonal, 12 m.

The building can only be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Roman Marcinek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 20-03-2015.


  • G. Zań-Ograbek, Kaplica Różańcowa p.w. św. Wawrzyńca w Czernichowie w świetle źródeł historycznych, „Teki Krakowskie”, t. IX.
  • S. Tomkowicz, Powiat krakowski, „Teka Grona Konserwatorów Galicji Zachodniej”, T. II, Kraków 1906
  • Osadnictwo i krajobraz od schyłku średniowiecza po współczesność, [w:] Natura i kultura w krajobrazie Jury, praca zbiorowa pod red. Z. Nogi, Kraków 1997
  • M. Kornecki, Sztuka sakralna, [w:] Natura i kultura w krajobrazie Jury, Kraków 1993
  • J. Bogdanowski, Sztuka obronna, [w:] Natura i kultura w krajobrazie Jury, Kraków 1993
  • S. Kozioł, Dawniej niż dawno. Dokumenty, zapiski, wspomnienia z dziejów Czernichowa nad Wisłą, Kraków 1998.
  • J. Z. Łoziński, Grobowe kaplice kopułowe w Polsce 1520-1620, Warszawa 1973

General information

  • Type: chapel
  • Chronology: 2 poł. XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Czernichów
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district krakowski, commune Czernichów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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