Parish Church of St Jadwiga, Grodzisk Wielkopolski
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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An example of a town church, originally built in the Gothic style in the 1st half of the 15th century and then redesigned in the Mannerist style in the 2nd quarter of the 17th century. The church is one of the most original examples of 17th century architecture in Greater Poland and even in the whole country. The plans for the redesign were drawn up by a renowned architect from Veneto or Lombardy - Krzysztof Bonadura Senior, who designed a number of buildings in Greater Poland during the 17th century. The church was founded by a prominent family from Greater Poland — the Opaliński family. The church boasts Baroque and Rococo interior fittings dating back to the 17th and 18th century.

History

The origins of Grodzisk Wielkopolski can be traced back to the early Middle Ages and are related to a hillfort and a trading settlement which had been established here, on a trade route leading from towns of Lower Silesia to Poznań. In the 2nd half of the 13th century, the lands were owned by a Cistercian monastery located in the nearby town of Paradyż; then they became the property of local knights. The oldest mention indicating that Grodzisk had a municipal character comes from 1303. From the 14th century, the town was owned by the Borko family; later, it was owned by the Ostroróg family (16th century) and the Opaliński family (early 17th century-late 18th century).

The church in Grodzisk was most likely founded after 1276, in connection with the establishment of the town itself. The oldest mentions regarding the church come from 1400 (the document also mentions a local vicar named Klemens) and 1426 (a likely date of the commencement of the construction of the Gothic building). In 1563, the contemporary owner of the land, Stanisław Ostroróg, handed the building over to Protestants. It was returned to the Catholic Church by Jan Ostroróg in 1593. In the 2nd quarter of the 17th century, owing to efforts made by Jan Opaliński, the voivode of Poznań, and his son Aleksander, the district governor (starosta) of Inowrocław, the church underwent major modifications and was extended, with parts of the Gothic walls of the nave, chancel, and tower kept as they were. The author of the redesign project was Krzysztof Bonadura Senior. The church was dedicated in 1648. The alteration works were completed in 1672, at a time when the owner of the surrounding lands was Jan Leopold Opaliński, the castellan of Nakło.

In 1769, the tower cupola was damaged. In 1864, the dome above the chancel was destroyed by fire. A year later, owing to efforts of Rev. Aleksander Prusinowski, the dome was reconstructed and new elements were placed on top of the tower; moreover, a sacristy was built onto the south wall of the chancel. In the years 1927-1930, thorough renovation works were carried out inside the church. The wall paintings coming from that period were made by Stanisław Wróblewski. The church was damaged during the German occupation of Poland. It was renovated in the years 1966-1967. The wall paintings by Stanisław and Teodor Szukała were made at that time.

Description

The Church of St Jadwiga (or Hedwig) is located in the centre of the town, behing a group of buildings standing west of the market square. The Mannerist building consists of a five-bay nave (with the floor plan of the westernmost bay tapering into a trapezium), a two-bay transept whose arms are made up of pairs of square chapels, and a one-bay chancel on the east side. The chancel has the same width as the nave and terminates in a semi-hexagon. The tower, built on a square floor plan, adjoins the nave on the west side. The chancel is flanked by two sacristies: an old sacristy, built on a square floor plan and located on its southern side, and — on its northern side — a new sacristy (built in 1865), having a rectangular floor plan and terminating in a semi-hexagon on the east side. A small square porch adjoins the nave on the south side. The remaining fragments of the original, Gothic church include parts of the outer walls of the nave, the lower section of the tower with its corner buttresses, and the buttressed rear section of the chancel. The nave is covered with a tall gable roof. The chancel features a dome on a tall tholobate. The side chapels are covered with smaller domes topped with lanterns. The dominant element of the building is the tall tower, crowned with a lantern with a cupola from 1865.

The church walls are made of brick and covered with plaster. The roofs, the domes, and the tower cupola are covered with sheet metal. Inside, there are brick vaults.

The walls of the nave, the chancel, and the tower are reinforced with stepped buttresses. Most of the windows are headed by semi-circular arches. Over the crowning cornice of the chancel, there is an octagonal tholobate framed by corner lesenes, with window openings set inside arcaded niches. The dome above the chancel is surmounted by a metal sculpture of St Florian. The facades of the transept chapels are partitioned by four rows of round-arched or rectangular niches; some of the niches contain windows. The corners and the central sections of those façades feature decorative horizontal and vertical plaster divisions. Above the crowning cornices of the chapels, there are pairs of domes surmounted by lanterns. The tower walls are also divided by a few rows of round-arched niches. The tower is crowned with a parapet and an onion-shaped cupola. In the side walls of the tower, there are entrance openings topped with semicircular arches.

The interior walls are divided by pillars adjacent to the walls and by herm pilasters, characteristic of interiors designed by Bonadura; the pilasters support crowning cornices and arches upon which the vaults rest. The pillars give the walls a strong plastic quality and the herm pilasters enliven the interior, making it appear more dynamic. The three west bays of the nave are covered with a barrel vault with lunettes and the transept bays are topped with cross-barrel vaults. The ceilings are adorned with decorative plasterwork. The chancel opens to the nave with a semicircular rood arch, flanked by a pair of slightly more protruding pillars, decorated with herm pilasters. The walls of the chancel are topped with a profiled cornice. Above the cornice rises the dome, consisting of sixteen individual coffers. The windows of the tholobate, divided by mullions, illuminate the altar, providing a contrast to the darkness of the nave. The transept chapels open to the nave with wide, semi-circular archways resting on pilasters and Corinthian columns. These passages, as well as the passages connecting the chapels themselves, indicate that the aim of the builders was to achieve a uniform spatial arrangement. The walls of the chapels are divided by arcaded niches adorned with rosettes. Similar rosettes can also be seen on the frieze of the entablature. The chapels are covered with coffered domes consisting of twelve sections each. The west bay of the nave incorporates a music gallery with three arched openings, supported by piers.

Valuable interior fittings include a set of Baroque and Rococo altars from the 18th century. The Late Baroque main altar was made in the 4th quarter of the 18th century. The central field of the altar incorporates a 19th-century painting by Rafał Hadziewicz (1856) depicting the Adoration of the Magi. The side altars are located in the transept chapels and in the nave. One of them, standing in the rear section of the southern chapel on the east side, features a painting of Our Lady of the Rosary with St Dominic and St Nicholas, made c. between 1640 and 1650 by Bartłomiej Strobel. Other noteworthy elements are a Renaissance stone baptismal font in the form of a chalice, dating back to the 16th/17th century, and a Late Renaissance pulpit with sculptures of the Four Evangelists decorating the balustrade.

The church can be visited both from the outside and inside. More information about the parish and the Holy Mass schedule can be found online at: www.grodziskjadwiga.parafialnastrona.pl.

compiled by Krzysztof Jodłowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 23-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Białostocki J., Kościół św. Jadwigi w Grodzisku Wielkopolskim, „Biuletyn Historii Sztuki”, XX, 1958, nr 1, s. 124-25.
  • Dubowski A., Zabytkowe kościoły Wielkopolski, Poznań 1956, s. 59-61.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. 5, z. 14: Powiat nowotomyski, Warszawa 1969, s. 11-14.
  • Kohte J., Verzeichnis der Kunstdenkmaeler der Provinz Posen, Bd. III, Berlin 1896, s. 65-70.
  • Kowalski J., Gotyk wielkopolski. Architektura sakralna XIII-XIV w., Poznań 2010, s. 314.
  • Kręglewska-Foksowicz E. [i in.], Sztuka baroku w Wielkopolsce, „Biuletyn Historii Sztuki” XX, 1958, nr 1, s. 54.
  • Tomala J., Murowana architektura romańska i gotycka w Wielkopolsce, t. 1: Architektura sakralna, Kalisz 2007, s. 176-77.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 2 ćw. XVII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kościelna , Grodzisk Wielkopolski
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district grodziski, commune Grodzisk Wielkopolski - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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