Parish church of St Simon and St Judas Thaddeus, Łodygowice
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Parish church of St Simon and St Judas Thaddeus

Łodygowice

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A valuable example of wooden ecclesiastical architecture. The building, representing the so-called Silesian-Lesser Poland variety of ecclesiastical architecture, is one of the largest wooden churches in the Beskidy mountains.

History

According to the oldest available historical sources, the parish in Łodygowice was founded as early as the 13th century. In 1373, the parish was officially established; the chapel of St Stanislaus the Bishop and Martyr had already existed at that point. When Łodygowice became a separate parish, the campaign for the construction of a church has begun. These efforts finally bore fruit in the years 1634-1635, mostly due to the involvement of reverend Stanisław Kaszkowicz, the local parish priest, with the funds being provided by Stanisław Warszycki as well as the local parishioners. During that period, two new names were added to the list of patrons of the church, namely those of St Simon and St Judas Thaddeus. For reasons unknown, however, later documents and references made to the church contain no information whatsoever concerning its initial patron saint - St Stanislaus. The consecration of the church took place on May 8, 1636, with bishop Tomasz Oborski leading the ceremony. Somewhere around the year 1640, the church was extended through the addition of a bell tower. Later on, in 1687, during the times of the parish priest rev. Urban Kupiszowski, further alteration works were performed, with the chancel being torn down and replaced by a new, larger one. The generous donation made by Jakub Świerczek from Rybarzowice, the chancel also received painted decorations. In the years 1748-1799, the main nave was extended, with a pair of side chapels being added on both of its sides. In 1797, the tower was redesigned. From the moment of the most recent, 18th-century redesign, the church retained its overall shape without major alterations. The painted decorations which grace its interior were added in 1929.

Description

The church is situated on a hill, with a flight of steps leading up to the entrance. It is surrounded by a wooden fence supported by a symmetrical arrangement of stone posts with gable rooflets. A stairway leads up to the main entrance. The church, oriented towards the east, is made of larch logs, its walls clad with weatherboards. The elongated, single-nave church features a chancel with a polygonal end section - a design features also present in the design of the chapels on the northern and southern sides of the building. A two-storey sacristy designed on a rectangular floor plan adjoins the northern side of the chancel, its height being identical to that of the chancel. The Gethsemane chapel adjoining the eastern part of the church features a polygonal end section. The western façade of the church is dominated by the tower, erected on a rectangular floor plan and featuring an overhanging belfry crowned with a bulbous cupola, with the lower edge of the belfry adorned with a decorative fretwork motif. The lower part of the tower is made of wooden logs, whereas the upper section thereof is a post-and-beam structure. The steeple jutting from the roof crossing, crowned with a roof lantern and a bulbous cupola, is a later addition. The roofs of the church are clad with wood shingles, while the tower roof and the steeple feature sheet metal cladding. The sacristy is covered with a shed roof. The entire building is surrounded by a cloister-like walkway which have been converted into an enclosed structure at a later date through the addition of a weatherboard cladding. The northern part of the walkway incorporates a porch. The chancel and the nave are separated by a convexo-concave rood arch. Arches of a similar design can also be found between the nave and the chapels. The chancel and the nave feature false barrel vaults, while the side chapel has a flat ceiling. The fixtures and fittings include both Early Baroque items (the two side altarpieces), items from the Baroque period (some of the paintings, the stone stoups, the confessional), as well as Rococo (main altarpiece, three side altarpieces) and Classicist (monstrance and chalice) items. The walls are covered with painted decorations.

The building is open to visitors before and after church service. Saturdays: 5 PM (winter time), 6 PM, Sundays and Holidays - 7:30 AM, 9:30 AM, 11 AM, 3 PM (first Sunday of the month), 5 PM/6 PM (winter/summer time).

compiled by Sabina Rotowska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 17-11-2015.

Bibliography

  • Kachel J., Kościół pw. św. Szymona i Judy Tadeusza w Łodygowicach, [no place or date of issue available]
  • Ruszczyk G., Architektura drewniana w Polsce, Warsaw 2009, pp. 423.
  • Szablowski J., Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Inwentarz topograficzny III. Powiat żywiecki; województwo krakowskie. Wydawnictwo Państwowego Instytutu Historii Sztuki (National Art Institute Publishing), Warsaw 1948, pp. 100-114.
  • Szablowski J., Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, województwo krakowskiej, powiat żywiecki, vol. 1, issue 15, Warsaw 1951, pp. 9-10.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1373 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Jana Pawła II 3, Łodygowice
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district żywiecki, commune Łodygowice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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