Roman-Catholic monastery church of St Martin, currently parish Evangelical-Augsburg church of St Martin, Kraków
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Roman-Catholic monastery church of St Martin, currently parish Evangelical-Augsburg church of St Martin

Kraków

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The church was built in the place of an earlier sacred building from the 1st half of the 13th century or from the 12th century. The origin of the church from before the chartering is confirmed by the recession of the building to the axis of Grodzka Street, and its diagonal setting in relation to the street course. The front façade of the church is of Il Jesu type, a reduced version of the front façade of the nearby church of St Peter and St Paul, reminiscent of the Roman church Santa Maria Della Scala. Since the times of construction in the 2nd quarter of the 17th century, the church's shape has remained unchanged.

History

The mediaeval church which had existed here from 1618, was used along with the monastery built in the vicinity at the initiative of Discalced Carmelite sisters. In 1634, the Romanesque church was dismantled and in the years 1637-1640, probably according to a design of the royal architect of Sigismund III Vasa, Giovanni Battista Trevano, the present church was built. In 1787, the nuns left the monastery, and the church was closed. In 1816, the Senate of the Free City of Cracow, to repair the wrongs suffered by the Cracow Protestants in the past (the Protestant church at św. Jana Street was destroyed three times), handed over the unused building to the Evangelicals, which, after renovation, quickly became a centre of religious and social life of the Evangelical community in the city, dating back in Cracow to mid-16th-century.

Description

The modest, early-Baroque, brick, single-nave church was built on a floor plan shaped as an elongated rectangle with a chancel not separated from the outside, terminating in a straight wall. The front façade is topped by a triangular gable with vases in the corners. Its lower storey is decorated by Tuscan pilasters, between which there are shallow niches. The upper storey, framed by volutes, features Ionic pilasters and a window in lavishly decorated surrounds. Over the entrance to the church, there is an inscription: Frustra vivit qui nemini prodest (in vain lives who brings no good to anybody). The interior is dominated by the white colour of the barrel vault with lunettes and walls decorated with sumptuous stucco decoration from the times of construction of the church (among other things with profiled strips framed by volute-shaped brackets, separating fields of variegated geometrical shapes). The walls are partitioned by doubled pilaster with Ionic capitals, between which in the nave there are altar niches. The fittings of the church are modest and crude, in accordance with the beliefs of the Evangelical who do not accept decorations and embelishments; the main altar has classical features (in an Evangelical church, the main altar is used only as a communion table) and originates from approx. 1870; it incorporates a painting by Henryk Siemiradzki Jesus Calming the Sea Storm from 1882. Over the altar, on the background of the window with stained glass made in the inter-war period according to a design by Adam Ciompa, and depicting Fall into Sin and Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the most valuable artefact in the church is placed, a Gothic crucifix from approx. 1380, one of the oldest preserved in Cracow. In front of the communal table, there is a baptismal font topped with a little figure of Christ surrendering to baptism by John the Baptist. The ambo comes from the same time as the altar. On the plaques hanged in the nave, there are numbers of songs sung during the services. The epitaph of Mikołaj Rej, made in 1986 on the model of the original one from 1921 according to a design by Jan Raszka and destroyed by the Nazis in 1940, and grave slabs embedded in the southern wall of the church, coming from the Evangelical church in the village of Wielkanoc near Cracow, are worth particular attention. From the south, the church parcel is adjoined by the house of the Evangelical Community (58 Grodzka Street), built in the years 1909-1911 according to a design by Jan Zawiejski.

The historic monument is accessible.

compiled by Tadeusz Śledzikowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Krakow, 15-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. IV: Miasto Kraków, cz. III, Kościoły i klasztory Śródmieścia, red. Bochnak A., Samek J, Warszawa 1978.
  • Fabiański M., Purchla J, Historia architektury Krakowa w zarysie, Kraków 2001.
  • Krasnowolski B., Leksykon zabytków architektury Małopolski, Warszawa 2013, s. 112.
  • Miłobędzki A, Architektura polska XVII w., [w:] Dzieje sztuki polskiej. T.I-II, Warszawa 1980.
  • Rożek M., Przewodnik po zabytkach i kulturze Krakowa, Warszawa, Kraków 1997.
  • Rożek M, Gondkowa B., Leksykon kościołów Krakowa, Kraków 2003,s. 82-83.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1637-1640
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Grodzka 58, Kraków
  • Location: Voivodeship małopolskie, district Kraków, commune Kraków
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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