Auxiliary church of Christ the King, Leśna
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Auxiliary church of Christ the King

Leśna

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An impressive church erected for the local burgher community, featuring a rare two-nave layout. The church is known to have served as the so-called boundary church in the 17th and 18th century, offering save haven for members of the Evangelical community from the nearby territories of Silesia, whose religious freedoms under the Habsburg rule were virtually non-existent.

History

The church was erected towards the end of the 16th century, although some of the sources indicate an earlier date of 1529. It replaced an even earlier temple, first mentioned in written sources in 1346. The church was subsequently extended in 1685 through the addition of the southern nave. In 1702, as a great fire swept across the town, the church was lost to the blaze, leading to its subsequent reconstruction in the Baroque style in years 1702-11. The reconstruction of the tower was only completed in 1719. The church underwent modernisation works in 1756 and was restored on numerous occasions in the 19th and 20th century, including in 1958 and in the years 1975-77.

Description

The building is located north-west of the town centre, surrounded by a large cemetery which currently serves as the churchyard. The building, designed in the Baroque style, is oriented towards the east, its irregular floor plan being almost rectangular in shape. The chancel in the east is likewise a rectangular structure and features a semi-circular apse. The main body of the church is a massive, three-bay structure with walls reinforced by buttresses, covered with a hip roof with a short roof ridge, its surface enlivened by eyebrow dormers. The chancel, lower than the nave, features a gable roof whose ridge also runs at a lower level than that of the main roof. West of the nave rises the tower, designed on a square floor plan and featuring a narrower third storey, its truncated corners accentuated with pilasters. The tower is crowned with a bulbous cupola with lantern (1719, built under the supervision of foreman Christian Erbel). An annex containing the sacristy and the patrons’ gallery adjoins the northern side of the chancel; it is covered by an extended section of the church roof. Next to the annex there is a porch covered with a shed roof. The façades are covered with plaster, with large, segment-headed windows in splayed reveals dating back to the early 18th-century redesign. The ground floor section of the tower features a number of oval oculi. The interior is divided into two naves of unequal width, their double barrel vault with pronounced groins resting upon sturdy pillars. The interior fixtures and fittings are rather austere in appearance, featuring a wooden altarpiece designed in the Baroque style, relocated from Zawidów, as well as a wooden pulpit and a stone baptismal font from the late 18th century. A large collection of epitaph plaques and headstones - some of them of outstanding artistic quality - is displayed on the outer walls of the church; they are accompanied by stone detailing which, like the epitaph plaques and headstones themselves, were embedded in the walls long after the church itself was completed. Numerous shrines and headstones dating back to the period between the 17th and the 19th century can be found alongside the perimeter wall of the church cemetery, some of them featuring truly lavish architectural forms.

The church interiors may be visited during church service. For more information, please contact the parish office.

compiled by Piotr Roczek, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 03-05-2015.

Bibliography

  • Słownik Geografii Turystycznej Sudetów. Vol. 2 Pogórze Izerskie, Vol. I, M. Staff (ed.), Wrocław 2003, pp. 388-390, 394-395.
  • Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006, p. 495.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Stefana Żeromskiego , Leśna
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district lubański, commune Leśna - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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