Parish Church of St Lawrence, Dolistowo Stare
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish Church of St Lawrence

Dolistowo Stare


One of the earliest Classicist buildings to be erected in the Podlaskie province, preserved intact despite the passage of time. Its construction was funded by Izabela Branicka, who pioneered the use of Classicist design in these territories. It was designed by Jan Zschernig, her court architect, who is known to have cooperated with Szymon Bogumił Zug in the early years and who evidently used his works as an inspiration.


A church in Dolistowo Stare is known to have existed back in the second half of the 15th century, with the first written mentions thereof dating back to the early 16th century. The first churches to be erected here were wooden structures. In the first half of the 16th century, Krzysztof Wiesiołowski, the marshal of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and his wife Aleksandra Wiesiołowska née Sobieska have commenced the construction of a masonry church; in the end, however, only the crypt was completed, which was later used for family burials. Later on, Izabela Branicka took it upon herself to complete the project. In 1789, Jan Zschernig, an architect working in her employ, designed an aisleless, Classicist church, its overall shape being the result of the layout of existing foundations. The church was ultimately completed in 1791. Some of the fixtures and fittings (including the main altarpiece with crucifix and the baptismal font) were relocated here from the previous church. In 1841, a new pipe organ was purchased, while a two-storey bell tower made of field stone was erected next to the church. Between the 1970s and the 1980s, new wood shingle roof cladding was installed, with the façades receiving a new coat of paint. The interior fixtures and fittings were refurbished, with a new, wooden coffered ceiling being installed, adorned with painted decorations by Józef Łotowski. The most recent restoration works were carried out in the years 2009-2010 and involved the replacement of plasterwork and façade repainting as well as replacement of the wood shingle cladding with roof tiles.


The church is located in the middle of the village, within the church cemetery surrounded by a stone wall. The building is oriented towards the east. The site of the church lies on the left bank of the Biebrza river. The church was designed in the Classicist style.

It was erected on a rectangular floor plan as an aisleless church with an eastern apse. The chancel is flanked by low annexes designed on a rectangular plan, with the northern one serving as the sacristy, while the southern one performs the function of the treasury. The main body is covered with a gable roof, while the apse and the annexes feature a five-sided roof and shed roofs respectively.

The church is a brick structure, its roof clad with S-shaped roof tiles. The windows and doors are made of wood. The ceiling is likewise a wooden structure, rising high above the ceramic flooring of the nave.

The screen façade of the church is topped with a monumental entablature and a stepped roof parapet. The lower section of the façade is rusticated, with the middle axis with the entrance door flanked by a pair of pilasters supporting the architrave. A circular oculus is positioned directly above the entrance. The remaining façades of the church are devoid of decorative flourishes, save for the profiled crowning cornice; the windows are rectangular in shape and topped with segmental arches; each of the side façades also features a single, semi-circular blind window positioned roughly in the middle of its length.

The interior is graced by a coffered ceiling adorned with painted decorations. The organ gallery rising above the entrance to the church takes the form of a balcony supported by two Tuscan columns and two engaged columns, with the vestibule positioned directly below. The main altarpiece, adorned with fretwork decorations, features a mid-18th century crucifix; the two side altarpieces take the form of arcades supported by Corinthian columns, positioned inside niches dating back to the period when the church itself was built. The wooden baptismal font, designed in the Classicist style, dates back to the year 1792.

The building is accessible to visitors.

compiled by Aneta Kułak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 26-09-2014.


  • Dolistowska M., Z dziejów fundacji Pani Krakowskiej - kościół w Dolistowie Starym, “Biuletyn Konserwatorski Województwa Białostockiego”, issue 3, 1997, pp. 76-93.
  • Kułak A., Świątynie i sanktuaria, [in:] Z biegiem Biebrzy. Przewodnik historyczno - etnograficzny, A. Gaweł, G. Ryżewski (eds.), Białystok-Suchowola 2012, pp. 173-175.
  • Studniarek A., Borowik P., Jaświły. Z dziejów obszaru gminy w XIX i XX w., Białystok - Jaświły 2011, pp. 15-22.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1791 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Dolistowo Stare
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district moniecki, commune Jaświły
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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