Parish church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Kamionna
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Parish church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary



An example of a relatively small, Late Gothic urban church distinguished by its elaborate architectural detailing which places this edifice firmly among the most outstanding buildings of its kind. The church features some surviving original interior fixtures and fittings, including Late Gothic choir stalls dating back to the early 16th century.


Kamionna - once the main fortified settlement of the local opole (a medieval unit of administration also known as the vicinia in Latin), was first mentioned in written sources back in 1261 and enjoyed municipal rights from the late 14th century onwards. The oldest mentions indicating that the settlement achieved the status of a town date back to 1402. Back in those days, Kamionna was a private town. Between the 14th and the 16th century, Kamionna remained in the hands of the Kamieńscy noble family of the Nałęcz coat of arms, having then passed to the Prusimski family, who owned it between the 17th and the early 19th century. In 1628, the town was chartered for the second time at the initiative of Krzysztof Prusimski. The charter was then renewed by Ludwik Prusimski in 1701. Kamionna lost its municipal rights in 1874.

The parish in Kamionna was most likely first established back in the 12th century, although the first mentions of the parish only date back to 1405. Very little is known about the first, wooden church of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary that stood there at the time. The existing brick and stone church, designed in the Late Gothic style, was erected in years 1499-1500, although some researches place its construction between the late 15th century and the first quarter of the 16th century. The founders of the church were the erstwhile owners of the town - the brothers Mikołaj and Dobrogost Kamieński (Mikołaj is traditionally believed to have been a Cistercian abbot in the nearby town of Bledzew, even though no sources confirm this fact). According to the original design, the church was intended as a two-nave basilica featuring a narrow side nave abutting the main nave to the north. In the end, however, the concept was changed so that the final design was that of a single-nave building. The construction works were carried out in two stages. During the first stage, the periphery walls as well as the sacristy and the tower have been erected. Once the walls were complete, the works were suspended for some time. During the second stage, the eastern and western gables were completed, with the church receiving its roof and, subsequently, the interior vaults. The tower was reinforced with buttresses and its upper section was also completed. The church was consecrated in 1570. During the war against Sweden, the church was destroyed, only to be reconstructed in the 1690s . The church suffered further damage in the course of the Napoleonic wars. In 1823, the western gable has collapsed and was rebuilt in the Gothic Revival style in 1834. Another series of renovation works was carried out in 1934.


The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is located in the south-western part of the town, west of the Market Square, on a tall promontory overlooking the Kamionna river. The church is surrounded by the former cemetery, partially circumscribed by a Late Gothic brick wall the western part of which doubles as a retaining wall. The sections where the original wall is missing were later filled in by constructing a new wall made of stone.

The Late Gothic church features an aisleless layout. Designed on an elongated rectangular floor plan, the church features a rectangular chancel in the east, its structure blended in with the corps the logis of the building. A sacristy with a small treasury, designed on a rectangular floor plan, abuts the chancel section to the north, with a round tower and a rectangular porch adjoining the nave on the same side of the building. In addition, there is a small, rectangular vestibule which abuts the building to the west. The church is covered with a tall gable roof. The sacristy and the porch feature mono-pitched roofs, while the vestibule is covered with a gable roof. A tall tower dominates the entire structure, featuring a cylindrical lower section and a square upper section with truncated corners, crowned with a conical roof.

The church is a brick building featuring the use of the so-called Polish bond (Gothic bond), positioned atop brick and stone foundations. Clinker bricks can be clearly seen in the wall structure. The church features exposed exterior brick walls, with the interior walls being covered with plaster. The roof is covered with ceramic roof tiles. The interior of the nave features a vault design combining elements of a stellar and lierne vault; the southern porch features a lierne vault, with a double barrel vault used for the sacristy.

Outside, the walls of the church are supported by two-stepped buttresses. Small niches topped with semicircular arches are incorporated into the buttresses. The windows are topped with semi-circular arches. The eastern façade, framed with buttresses, follows a two-axis design. Windows with stone tracery flank the middle buttress. The façade is crowned with a three-level, stepped gable, with each level separated from the others by a cornice; the gable itself is adorned with pinnacles and an ornamental fractable broken into individual sections by the said pinnacles, its edges flowing downwards, in the direction opposite to the slope of the roof. The individual levels of the gable are adorned with ornaments (interlocking or dual arcades, tracery motifs) arranged out of profiled bricks. The western façade is framed with corner buttresses. A small vestibule is positioned on the axis of the façade, featuring a rectangular entrance with an transom light topped with a segmental arch. The lower part of the original, Late Gothic gable adorned with interlocking arcades of profiled brick survives within the gable, underneath a band of plaster. The triangular Gothic Revival gable - a later addition - can be seen directly above. The southern façade on the eastern side of the tower is crowned with a cornice; underneath the cornice there is a frieze made out of profiled bricks ordinarily used for ceiling ribs, arranged in the shape of straight and slanting crucifixes in an alternating layout. A frieze made out of slanted bricks can be seen west of the tower. The tower is supported by pronounced buttresses. Its lower, cylindrical part is adorned with an alternating arrangement of bands of plaster, dentilled frieze sections and a row of corbels. The quadrangular, slightly overhanging upper section of the tower, resting upon supporting arches, is topped with pinnacles and decorative copings. The walls of this section of the tower are pierced by openings which reveal the bell inside. The porch, located next to the tower, features a pointed-arch entrance to the church; a window with a semicircular arch is positioned alongside the entrance.

The interior of the church features a vaulted ceiling incorporating features of both the stellar and the lierne vault, its ribs flowing onto triangular, stepped corbels and overhanging lesenes. In the three western bays on the northern side one can see bricked-up niches topped with semicircular arches which serve as evidence to the original plans to erect a side nave. Underground crypts are located beneath the church; these, however, are currently inaccessible. There are three surviving pointed-arch portals leading into the church from the southern porch and the western vestibule as well as from the church into the sacristy.

The oldest part of the original fixtures and fittings of the church are the Late Gothic choir stalls dating back to the early 16th century. In addition, there is also the main, Baroque altarpiece from the 2nd half of the 17th century, featuring sculptures of saints and a painting of the Virgin Mary with Child, as well as the Late Renaissance side altarpiece dating back from before the mid-17th century, featuring a sculpted Crucifixion ensemble in its middle section.

The site is accessible to visitors. Viewing of the building is only possible by prior arrangement. More information about the parish and the Holy Mass schedule can be found on the website of the Poznań archdiocese at:

compiled by Krzysztof Jodłowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 07-10-2014.


  • Dzieje Sztuki Polskiej, t. II, Architektura Gotycka w Polsce, Warszawa 1995, red. T. Mroczko i M. Arszyński, cz. 2, Katalog Zabytków, red. A. Włodarek, s. 104.
  • Gotyckie kościoły Wielkopolski, koncepcja, teksty i wybór fotografii P. Maluśkiewicz, Poznań 2008, s. 84-87.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. V, z. 13: powiat międzychodzki, Warszawa 1968, s. 2-4.
  • Kohte J., Verzeichnis der Kunstdenkmaeler der Provinz Posen, Bd. III, Berlin 1896, s. 80-82.
  • Kowalski J., Gotyk wielkopolski. Architektura sakralna XIII - XVI w., Poznań 2010, s. 333-40.
  • Tomala J., Murowana architektura romańska i gotycka w Wielkopolsce, t. 1, Architektura sakralna, Kalisz 2007, s. 201-02.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1499-1500
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kościelna , Kamionna
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district międzychodzki, commune Międzychód - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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