Parish Church of St John the Baptist, Lubawa
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish Church of St John the Baptist

Lubawa

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A well-preserved Gothic and Renaissance church (former monastery), one of the most valuable historical monuments of Chełmno Land. Lavish and interesting interior fittings, mostly originating from the time when the church was founded, includes particularly valuable ceilings over the nave and chancel.

History

The date of construction of the first church is not known. It is known, however, that in 1366, bishop of Chełmno Wikbold Dobilstein founded the chapel of St. John the Baptist and Michael on the site of a former building. In years 1502-1506, bishop Mikołaj Chrapicki built a monastery next to the chapel, in which he accommodated Franciscans brought to Lubawa from the Saxon province. After secularisation of the Teutonic Order State, Franciscans left the city, and the monastery fell into decline. In 1580, bishop Piotr Kostka brought Bernardines from the Polish province to Lubawa. It was the first monastery of Polish Bernardines in Royal Prussia. The present church was founded by sword-bearer of Prussia Seweryn Zaleski. It was built in years 1600-1610, received fittings in years 1611-1613, and was consecrated in 1613. The impressive ceilings over the nave (coffers) and the chancel (reliefs) originate from that period. After dissolution of orders in Prussia in 1810, the church was taken over by Evangelical Protestants. Monastery buildings were adapted to serve as a school and a court. In years 1866-67, a general renovation was carried out in the church, as a result of which significant changes were introduced in the interior. In accordance with the Evangelical tradition, side galleries were rested on two rows of pillars which divided the single-space interior of the church into three faux naves and led to conversion of the ceiling. In 1976, the gallery balconies were removed, and only structural pillars were left. After the World War II, the complex once again became a Roman Catholic church; since 1976, it has been a rectoral, and since 2000 — a parish church.

Description

The Gothic and Renaissance church is oriented, located at Kupnera Street and constitutes part of the former post-monastery complex built on a quadrilateral plan. It is made of solid ceramic brick, plastered, and it was built on a floor plan of an elongated rectangle, with a strongly elongated chancel, characteristic of order churches. The north-western corner is adjoined by a five-storey tower on a square plan, which is octagonal in its upper section and covered with a two-storey dome with a gallery. The building is framed by stepped buttresses, façades are divided by high window openings with semicircular ending sections. The northern wall of the tower features a decorative, Renaissance portal. The main entrance is located in the western façade, topped with a Renaissance, undulating gable, divided with cornices and pilasters. The single-space interior contains two rows of wooden pillars, and the chancel is separated from the nave by a rood arch. Despite damages resulting from removal of altars by Evangelical Protestants, the valuable décor from all periods of existence of the church has been preserved: a coffer Renaissance ceiling in the nave with painted decoration featuring plant and geometrical motifs, and figural decoration (1610-12), a sculpted and painted ceiling in the presbytery incorporating scenes of life of St. Francis (1611-12), a Gothic crucifix, probably brought in the early 16th century by Franciscans from their home monastery, late-Renaissance choir stalls, a confessional, and an ambo from the early 17th century, a Baroque main altar from 1728 by Jerzy Dąbrowicz from Lubawa. In the floor of the presbytery features headstone of bishop Mikołaj Chrapicki, the founder of the monastery, and there is a bell dating back to 1591 in the

Access to the historical building is limited. The church accessible from outside, open during services.

Compiled by Marzena Zwierowicz, 5.12.2014.

 

Bibliography

  • Diecezja Toruńska, Historia i teraźniejszość, t.11, Dekanat Lubawski, Toruń 1995, ss.53 - 55
  • Kronika OO. Bernardynów Lubawskich, wyd. A. Mańkowski, Zapiski Towarzystwa Naukowego w Toruniu, t.9., 1932 - 34, nr 1/2
  • Nowakowski A., Lubawa. Konserwacja XVII-wiecznego stropu kasetonowego w kościele p.w. św. Jana Chrzciciela, „Warmińsko - Mazurski Biuletyn Konserwatorski” 2000, t.2, s. 176 - 186
  • Nowakowski A., Konserwacja XVII-wiecznego stropu prezbiterium w kościele p.w. św. Jana Chrzciciela w Lubawie, „Warmińsko - Mazurski Biuletyn Konserwatorski”, 2002, t.4, s. 88-99.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1600-1613
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Lubawa
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district iławski, commune Lubawa (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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