Parish Church of All Saints, Łaziska
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish Church of All Saints

Łaziska

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According to the currently available data, the church of All Saints is the oldest wooden church in all of Upper Silesia and one of the oldest structures of its kind anywhere in Poland. The building represents a rare variant known as the Lesser Poland variety of wooden churches, very few of which have survived in the region. In addition, the church also features some preserved Late Gothic detailing, including 16th-century painted decorations in the nave.

History

The very first mentions of the village of Łaziska in written sources date back to the year 1520. For many years, year 1579 was believed to be the date of construction of the church, as suggested by the inscription on a beam next to the side entrance. However, many researchers believed that the church was in fact older than that due to the presence of notable Gothic features in its architecture, such as the Late Medieval king post truss, the slender silhouette - readily apparent despite the numerous alterations made in later years - as well as the pointed-arch windows. It was only the dendrochronological analyses conducted by Aleksander Konieczny in 2008 which have proved beyond reasonable doubt that the construction of the church began in 1467, based on the age of the samples taken in the nave and the chancel, making it the oldest ecclesiastical building in Upper Silesia. Based on the studies referred to above, it has been determined that the existing tower was erected in at least two stages, with the first stage taking place in 1507, when the tapering walls of the tower were erected. The overhanging bell chamber with a bulbous cupola was a later addition, dating back to the year 1748. The very first source document in which the church in Łaziska was mentioned is a report from an inspection visit carried out in 1652, with the subsequent report from 1679 containing information on the restoration of the church, conducted from the ground up. Notable alteration works performed throughout the years and affecting the appearance of the church include the addition of a brick sacristy in 1870, which replaced the earlier, wooden structure. During that period, the space designed for the faithful was also extended through the incorporation of the lower section of the tower into the nave. The current organ gallery was also added during the period in question. In 1905, the cupolas crowning the tower and the steeple both underwent restoration. After World War II came to an end, the church underwent numerous conservation works, including the refurbishment and impregnation of the roof, renovation of the skirt roof above the cloister-like walkways as well as the partial replacement of weatherboard cladding in 1968, the renovation of the walls in the years 1998-2000, the conservation of the 16th-century painted decorations in the years 1998-2001 as well as the roof restoration in 2010.

Description

The Church of All Saints is located on a small hill on Powstańców Śląskich street, in the middle of the Łaziska village, alongside the road from Gorzyce to Godów. The church, surrounded by a cemetery, stands in the shade of old trees. The entire site is separated from the street by a stone wall.

Most of the structure of the church is made of fir logs, positioned on a sill plate made of oak wedges, the exception being the four-storey, tapering tower with an overhanging bell chamber featuring a decorative fretwork lower edge, which was designed as a post-and-beam structure based on four slanted posts linked together with horizontal beams and a top plate. The single-nave church, oriented towards the east, consists of the nave, designed on a roughly square plan, which was later extended into the space beneath the rectangular tower to the west. The chancel, narrower than the nave, features a semi-hexagonal, eastward-facing end section and is linked to the rectangular, brick sacristy which abuts on its northern wall. The entire body of the church (except for the sacristy) is enveloped by a cloister-like walkway traditionally referred to as the soboty, supported by wooden posts. The main body of the church is covered with a gable roof with a single ridge spanning both the chancel and the nave. The steep-sided roof features a multi-faceted end section above the chancel. An octagonal steeple with roof lantern crowned with a bulbous cupola rises above the nave. The design of the top section of the tower is strongly reminiscent of that of the steeple. The cloister-like walkway enveloping the church and the sacristy feature mono-pitched roofs. The entire roof cladding is made of wood shingles. The façades of the church follow an asymmetrical layout, their lower sections concealed beneath the walkway roof. The parts of the walls above the cloister-like walkway are clad with weatherboards (the walls of the nave and the chancel to the south and the east) as well as with wood shingles (northern façade, tower shaft). The bell chamber atop the tower is clad with vertically arranged weatherboards, their decorative bottom ends forming a fretwork pattern. The main entrance is positioned inside the open porch standing on the middle axis of the front (western) façade. The second entrance, leading straight into the nave, is positioned in the side (southern) façade; it is preceded by a porch. The solid-frame, single-rebate casement windows are simple in design, except for the subtle decorative flourish in the form of multi-coloured glass. The interior is of the aisleless type, with the chancel separated from the nave by a rood beam adorned with a rosette and an inscription. The ceiling inside the chancel takes the form of a false barrel vault, while the nave ceiling features pronounced cove mouldings adorned with figural paintings. The walls of the chancel are graced by foliate motifs, with the oldest painted decorations, dating back to the 16th century, being located on the nave walls and focusing on the scenes from the Old and New Testament. An octagonal column supporting the structure of the roof above is located in the middle of the nave, while the western part thereof is occupied by an organ gallery with a decorative pipe organ casing, supported by six wooden posts, their surface slightly chamfered and adorned with paired notches. The most valuable part of the interior décor are the Gothic painted decorations from the year 1560, depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament. The overall style of the interior leans towards the Baroque, with some Gothic influences still being present. Notable fixtures and fittings include the Late Baroque main altarpiece, incorporating parts of the original, Late Gothic altarpiece: the sculpture of the Virgin Mary with Child in a mandorla as well as two triptych wings adorned with bas-reliefs of St Dorothy, Barbara, Catherine and Margaret, the Virgin Martyrs. Other notable items include the Baroque Stations of the Cross, two stone stoups from the 16th century and a pulpit adorned with Regency decorations.

The church can be viewed from the outside, with the interiors only accessible during church service.

compiled by Agata Mucha, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 14-01-2015.

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture and urban design, Filial church of All Saints, currently serving as a parish church, compiled by M. Łabuz, S. Łabuz, Katowice 1997, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture and urban design (the so-called green record sheet), Parish church of All Saints, 1969, Archive of the Monuments Protection Office in Katowice
  • Konieczny A., Sprawozdanie z badań dendrochronologicznych zabytkowych kościołów w województwie śląskim przeprowadzonych w 2008 roku, [in:] Wiadomości konserwatorskie województwa śląskiego, Vol. 1, G. Bożek (ed.), Katowice 2009, pp. 99-103
  • Porwoł P., Perełka sakralna Ziemi Wodzisławskiej. Kościół drewniany pw. Wszystkich Świętych w Łaziskach nad Olzą, Łaziska Rybnickie 2012
  • Ruszczyk G., Kościoły na Śląsku z XV i początku XVI wieku: (Bojszów, Gliwice, Księży Las, Łaziska, Łącza, Poniszowice), Warsaw 2012, pp. 129-166
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. VI woj. katowickie, I. Rejduch-Samkowa, J. Samka, issue 14 Powiat Wodzisławski, compiled by M. Kornecki, J. Samek, Warsaw 1960, pp. 8-9

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1467 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Powstańców Śląskich 128, Łaziska
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district wodzisławski, commune Godów
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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