Collegiate church of St Joseph, today parish church, Klimontów
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Collegiate church of St Joseph, today parish church

Klimontów

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The collegiate church in Klimontów - with its elliptical nave dominated by galleries on the upper floor - is one of the most original pieces of the Baroque architecture of the 17th-century Poland. Its construction was a manifestation of the Counter-Reformation piety, making it a symbol of its times and the lasting imprint of the founders and their family on the history of the place. The church was undoubtedly one of the most interesting projects of the Ossoliński family (next to the Krzyżtopór castle in Ujazd) completed in the 2nd quarter of the 17th century.

History

In Klimontów, established in 1604 by Jan Zbigniew Ossoliński, his son Jerzy raised a wooden church dedicated to St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist and attempted to entrust it to Piarists. Because the attempt failed, in 1640 he founded a canon congregation three years later began the construction of a stone church which, in 1648, was elevated to the collegiate church headed by a parish priest in the rank of mitered prelate. The construction work was carried out until at least 1650. It was supervised by Wawrzyniec Senes who worked according to the design prepared probably under the influence of Ottaviano Mascarino’s drawings for the church of S. Spirito dei Napoletani, perhaps by Augustine Locci, and covered the church’s body and presbytery. In January 1650 the work was advanced enough to make it possible to sign a contract with Giovanni Battista Falconi to make a stucco decoration. On 3 September 1650, the founder of the church was buried in the underground crypt of the consecrated church - the mausoleum of the Ossoliński family. After the destruction during the Polish-Swedish War in 1656 and final abandonment, the church was reconstructed around 1670; after the 1690 fire, the building was renovated again but only after the repayment of outstanding debt by Helena Morsztyn, the then owner of the estate. Finally, after 1727, thanks to the effort of the Rev. Walenty Boxa Radoszewski, mitered prelate and canon of Sandomierz, the church’s height was raised and the building was domed; one of the towers was also completed. The consecration followed in 1741 performed by the auxiliary bishop of Kraków, Michał Kunicki. The other tower was ready by 1772. The vestibule with the façade was completed on the initiative of the Rev. Wojciech Radoszewski, later auxiliary bishop of Kraków, in the years 1775-1779. The prelate’s house was probably built at the same time (later altered in the 2nd half of the 19th century), the courtyard was enclosed by a wall with a representative gateway to the west. The temple was renovated a number of times: in the 1st half of the 19th century, before 1893 and in the years 1958-1966.

Description

The collegiate church, along with former Dominican church, dwarf the surrounding village developments, sitting in the north-west corner of the market square. The building has an elliptical nave, surrounded by upper floor galleries, closed with a presbytery and a sacristy and vault to the sides. At the ceiling level of the presbytery, in conjunction with deep lunettes, there is a gallery going around, partially recessed into the thick walls. To the west, besides a vestibule, there are two square, three-storey towers, their corners touching the ellipse. Above the vestibule, there is a a stone balustrade dated 1779 and late Baroque statues: St Joseph, the patron saint of the church in the middle, and the Four Evangelists next to him. The pilasters on the façades are placed in niches, as if pressed into the wall. The interior features mainly Rococo furnishings, including the main altar with a painting of St Joseph and the side altars of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, of Jesus Crucified and of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; there is also a 1758 pulpit and the Rococo choir, protruding from the west opening of the matronea, suspended on corbels and dated 1779-1787. The presbytery reveals a stucco decoration of the mid-17th century by John the Baptist Falconi, perhaps with the assistance of an unknown master working in the Czarnecki Chaple in the Kraków Jesuit church of Saints Peter and Paul. The walls are covered with numerous epitaphs, mostly of mitered prelates of the 17th and 18th centuries. Preserved on the walls of the vestibule there is a Rococo illusionistic painting from 1781 with allegorical figures and the coats of arms of patrons and benefactors of the church. The church area can be accessed by a gate of around 1778-1787, with the stone, late Baroque statues of Faith and Hope standing on pillars with moldings. The south part of the area is occupied by the former prelate’s house, now the rectory, erected in the 2nd half of the 18th century. Before the entrance gate, there is a chapel of 1896 with a late Baroque statue of St John of Nepomuk funded by the Rev. Józef Boxa Radoszewski.

The site is accessible; sightseeing upon the consent of the parish priest.

Compiled by Jerzy Zub, 10.12.2014.

Bibliography

  • Kukliński W., Miasto prywatne Klimontów i jego kościoły, Sandomierz 1911.
  • Bochnak A., Kolegjata świętego Józefa w Klimontowie, Kraków 1925.
  • Miłobędzki A. Architektura polska XVII wieku, Warszawa 1980.
  • Niebelski E., Klimontów miasto prywatne rodu Ossolińskich 1240 - 1990, Klimontów 1993.
  • Niebelski E., W dobrach Ossolińskich. Klimontów i okolice, Klimontów 1999.
  • Kurzej M., Siedemnastowieczne sztukaterie w Małopolsce, Kraków 2012, pp. 324.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1643-1650 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Krakowska 4, Klimontów
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district sandomierski, commune Klimontów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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