Catholic Church of St John the Baptist, Giecz
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Catholic Church of St John the Baptist

Giecz

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The Church of St John the Baptist in Grodziszczko is a typical example of rural wooden ecclesiastical architecture of Greater Poland. It is located within the area of a former Piast hillfort, one of the most important centres of power in the early history of Poland’s statehood.

History

Grodziszczko (referred to as “Grodzisko” until the late 18th century) is a village which used an early-Piast hillfort, called Giecz, as the basis for its development. The hillfort, a major centre of power of Mieszko I and Bolesław Chrobry [Bolesław “the Brave”], was destroyed in 1038 during a raid by Bretislav I, Duke of Bohemia. It was reconstructed, however, it was burnt down again in the 1st half of the 13th century, during fights between Henry the Bearded and Władysław Odonic. In 1331, the hillfort was destroyed by the Teutonic Knights. From then on, despite the fact that it remained the seat of castellans from the 13th to the 15th century, it was declining in importance. Eventually, it became the property of the Dryja-Chłapowski family. The name “Giecz” was taken over by a nearby trade settlement where there is still a Romanesque stone church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The site where the hillfort was located (a subject of extensive archaeological research since 1948) is now called “Grodziszczko”.

The first church in this area, mentioned in written records dating from 1250, was probably built in the 11th century. The Church of St John the Baptist was erected in 1767 or, according to other sources, in 1717. The free-standing bell tower by the church was constructed in the 17th century. The church was renovated in the years 1887, 1936, 1969, and 1987-1988.

Description

The village of Grodziszczko is located 12 km to the north-east of Środa Wielkopolska. The Church of St John the Baptist is located in the northern part of a park covering the vast, elongated valley where the former hillfort of Giecz used to be located. The settlement was laid out by a lake, no longer existing, which was fed by the small Moskawa River.

The church has a wooden log structure covered with weatherboards, resting on a stone and brick wall base. It is oriented to the east. The walls are reinforced with vertical supports. The nave is adjoined by a lower and narrower chancel, terminating in a semi-hexagon, on the east side and a porch on the west side. A sacristy adjoins the north wall of the chancel. The church has a two-ridge roof covered with wood shingles, surmounted by a square steeple topped with a conical cupola covered with sheet metal.

The interior is covered with a flat ceiling. Inside the church, there is a music gallery resting on two profiled posts with braces. The church fittings include Rococo altars, an ambo from 1770, and a Baroque baptismal font. A brick rectory was built to the north of the church in 1905. West of the church, there is an open wooden bell tower set on top of a former hillfort rampart, made of earth and wood.

An archaeological museum (“reserve”) operates within the area of the former hillfort; it is managed by a local branch of the Museum of the First Piasts at Lednica.

The church can be visited from the outside. Holy Masses: Sunday at 11:30 AM, weekdays: Wednesday at 4.00 PM, public holidays falling on weekdays at 11:00 AM.

compiled by Tomasz Łuczak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 16-11-2015.

Bibliography

  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. 5, Woj. wielkopolskie, red. Ruszczyńska Teresa, Sławska Aniela, z. 24, Pow. średzki, Warszawa 1964, s. 6.
  • Kościoły drewniane w Wielkopolsce, red. Mariusz Grzebalski, Poznań 2004, s. 73.
  • Kościół paraf. pw. św. Jana Chrzciciela w Grodziszczku, Karta ewidencji zabytków architektury i budownictwa, opr. Krzysztof Jodłowski, 1995, ze zbiorów Archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Poznaniu
  • Wielkopolska. Słownik krajoznawczy, red. Łęcki Włodzimierz, Poznań 2002, s. 76.
  • http://kosciolydrewniane.pl - odsłona z listopada 2015 r.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1767 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Giecz 1
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district średzki, commune Dominowo
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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