Evangelical church, Gierałcice
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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One of the five hall churches in the Opole region, stylistically established in the early 19th century as a typical example of the Protestant church architecture. The interior is strictly adopted to the requirements of the Protestant liturgy: a hall layout without a separate chancel and large galleries that counterweight the pulpit and altar. The importance of the preaching was highlighted by placing the pulpit over the altar.

History

A wooden funeral chapel of the Gierałtowski family from the turn of the 15th century, used by the Protestants for religious purposes from 1564, was elevated to the rank of a filial church in 1617. In 1694 the chapel was extended and a new church was erected. Further works took place in the years 1822-1823 and in 1889. According to Józef Matuszczyk, the present-day form of the church was shaped in the 1st quarter of the 19th century, which makes this temple of the newest wooden Evangelical church in the Opole region. Only the west part is left of the 17th-century building: the choir and tower and wall paintings over the ceiling of the east section are dated to the 17th century. From 1945 the church has been used as a branch of the Lutheran Parish in Wołczyn. Today, the renovation works are underway.

Description

The church is located in the south part of the village, on a rectangular cemetery plot overgrown with old trees. At the cemetery, there is a considerable number of preserved historic tombstones, including a few in the form of a truncated tree. The church is east-oriented, on the plan of an elongated rectangle, with a separate, three-sided east part, serving as the sacristy. A tower adjoins from the west with a square-like floor plan. The entrances are placed in the middle of the longer walls and from the east through the “sacristy.” The body of the church is formed by a rectangular corpus covered with a double-pitched roof, with three roof planes over the east closing and a massive tower topped with a high, octagonal roof with a vane dated “1889.” Sizeable window openings, closed with a flat arch, are placed on the façades in two rows, offering more light to the galleries and the space beneath. The church has no walkways or annexes, which makes it look austere.

The church was built of wood in a log and post-and-plank structure, on a brick base. Originally without boarding, today, the tower walls are covered with vertical weatherboard, and the rest of the church and roofs are shingled. The tower is a post-and-beam structure.

In the hall interior, the east part is separated by an altar wall; behind it, there is the sacristy with a storeroom on the upper floor and stairs leading to the pulpit, towering above the altar. At the west wall of the church, there is a choir with simple, paneled balustrade decorated with painted cartouches of the 17th century, resting on a folk sculpture of Moses from the mid-17th century. Along the side walls, there are galleries, supported by eight pillars, reaching up to the ceiling and performing the function of a structural component. Under the ceiling, between the pillars, there are decoratively cut strips. There is no access to the tower from inside the church. The sacristy is covered with a beam ceiling, the storeroom above it has a flat ceiling, covered with late Renaissance polychromy of coffers and rosettes; the remaining ceiling is flat, partitioned by strips hammered longitudinally on the boards. The entire interior of the church has a natural wood colour and is free from any painted decoration.

The rich fittings include, for example, a pulpit-like altar in the Regency-Rococo style, architectural and richly decorated; classicistic and folk painted organs, tombstones and numerous wooden Renaissance epitaphs. The tower bell was cast in 1694 by Georg Heller from Wrocław is decorated with heraldic cartouches.

The monument is open to visitors. Viewing of the interior by prior telephone arrangement.

Compiled by Ewa Kalbarczyk-Klak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Opole, 23-10-2014 r.

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t. VII, Województwo opolskie, z. 4: Powiat kluczborski, red. T. Chrzanowski i M. Kornecki, s. 17-18.
  • Emmerling D., Wierzgoń A., Opolskie kościoły drewniane, Opole 2006, s. 30-31.
  • Karta ewidencyjna zabytku architektury: Kościół ewangelicki, filialny, Gierałcice,  oprac. J. Kowalewski, 1996,  Archiwum WUOZ w Opolu.
  • Śląsk. Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce, oprac. zbiorowe, Warszawa 2006, s. 258-259.
  • Lutsch Hans, Verzeichnis der Kunstdenkmäler der Provinz Schlesien, Bd. 4: Die Kunstdenkmäler des Reg.-Bezirks Oppeln, Tl. 1, Breslau 1894, s. 11.
  • Burgmeister L., Wiggert E., Holztürme der preussischen  Ostprovinzen Schlesien, etc, Berlin 1905, s.38.
  • Matuszczyk J., Architektura drewnianych kościołów ewangelickich w powiecie kluczborskim, Rocznik Muzeum Górnośląskiego w Bytomiu, Sztuka, z. 4, Bytom 1968, s. 12 i nn.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: koniec XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Gierałcice
  • Location: Voivodeship opolskie, district kluczborski, commune Wołczyn - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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