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Bernardine Monastery Complex with the Church of the Conversion of St Paul, currently the Parish Church of the Conversion of St Paul and rectory - Zabytek.pl

Bernardine Monastery Complex with the Church of the Conversion of St Paul, currently the Parish Church of the Conversion of St Paul and rectory

monastery Lublin

Lublin, Dolna Panny Marii 4

woj. lubelskie, pow. m. Lublin, gm. Lublin-gmina miejska

In terms of the chronology (erected between 1602 and 1607), size (three-nave, five-bay basilica) and artistic value, it was the first church to be designed in the so-called Lublin Renaissance style (design by Jakub Balin, the architect and chief builder of the church).

The building was formerly a Gothic hall church and location of historical religious celebrations after the signing of the Act of the Union of Lublin between the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1569.


The original wooden complex of Bernardine monastery buildings with a church, erected between 1460 (the foundation date) and 1469, was located at the edge of the escarpment overlooking the Bystrzyca river, flanked by the buildings of Krakowskie Przedmieście to the south-east. The construction of a brick and stone church began as early as in 1470 and continued until 1497. The first brick and stone wing of the monastery (on the western side) was built in the late 15th century and early 16th century. After the complex was destroyed by fire, the church was reconstructed between 1557 and 1569, and thus transformed into a four-bay, three-nave late Gothic hall with a two-tower facade and a straight ending chancel; the monastery was extended by the addition of two new wings — an eastern one and southern one. In 1569, a solemn thanksgiving service was held at the church, with which the signing of the Act of Union of Lublin between Poland and Lithuania was concluded. In 1602 fire gave rise to significant alterations to the monastery complex which were made by 1608. The works on the alterations were led by builders Rudolf Negroni and Jakub Balin from Lublin. Built upon the Gothic structure, the new late Renaissance church features a basilica layout with the main body elongated up to five bays and an apsidal end of the chancel and a new vaulting system and full architectural decor and decorative plasterwork of the interior. The pair of towers was replaced with a Renaissance gable with volutes; the second eastern gable over the main body was ornamented with strapwork taken from the Hans Vredeman’s architectural patterns, and the bell tower was relocated. The copula-ceiling chapel of St Anthony founded by the Uhrowieccy Family (built before 1640) is the only preserved chapel from several chapels erected in the first half of the 17th century. In the second half of the 18th century the altars were replaced with two complexes of Late Baroque altars (workshop of Lviv and Puławy). Since 1749, the eastern part of the monastery has undergone substantial alterations; its gable ends has been embellished with two Late Baroque volute decorations (builder: Jan Columbani); in 1827, the facade of the church and the bell tower underwent alterations in order to adapt them to the classical style (step gable, porch). The new neo-Renaissance choir gallery was constructed in 1907.


The former Bernardine monastery complex occupies the part of the southern edge of the city’s promontory which is located closest to the Old Town. The promontory is surrounded by Bernardyńska Street (to the east), Wolności Square (former Bernardyński Square — to the north) and Dolna Panny Marii Street (to the west), with an open vista across the valley of the Bystrzyca river and a building used by retired priests to the south. The church is oriented, with a small triangular cemetery in front of it. The cemetery is fenced by a low wall on the street side. Behind the adjacent complex of buildings of the former monastery to the south, reaching Bernardyńsk Street, there is the site formerly occupied by monastic gardens stretching over a vast area of land surrounded by a brick and stone fence, which slopes down the escarpment to a valley. The basilica church features a three-nave, five-bay main body and an elongated chancel terminating in a semi-circular shape, and with the main nave of the same width. A rectangular porch which is of the same width as the main nave is located in front of the facade. The area near the chancel, at the extension of the southern nave, features bell tower built on a square floor plan; the first bay of the northern nave which is closest to the chancel adjoins the chapel, built on a square floor plan, founded by the Family of Uhrowieccy; the chapel is covered with a modern cupola ceiling with a lantern dating from the 1950s. The church is covered with a gable roof, whereas the side aisles with a shed roof made of sheet metal. The five-bay main nave opens up with pillar arcades into strings of rectangular bays of side aisles and with a similar arcade of the rood arch into the chancel. The main nave and chancel are covered with barrel vaults with lunettes, whereas the side aisles with spherical vaults. The arcades with decorations in the Corinthian style in the pilaster version with imposts under the profiled archivolt, complemented with sequences of tripled arcade blind windows in the area occupied by heads of pilasters. The space between the arches and the base of the inter-nave arcades is separated by stucco coffers with rosettes inside. The vaulting of the nave and chancel is adorned with decorations from profiled mouldings in a simple network system, the vaults of the side aisles are embellished with decorations with varying concentric layout, as well as ornamented with motifs of heats, circles, ovals and rosettes. The last pair of bays to the west is not decorated. The choir gallery resting on pillars of the last bay of the main nave, with Neo-Renaissance decoration, supported with a faux arcade with a flattened basket-handle arch at the bottom, and supported by statues of angles playing trumpets in the corners, from the side of the aisles. The corners of the interior of the chapel founded by the Uhrowieccy Family are decorated with paired pilasters with quasi-Corinthian heads and profiled entablature with an ornamental frieze characterised by stylised floral forms. The floor made of square stone tiles features a checkered, diagonal layout. The facade consists of two storeys; its lower part is three-axial, whereas the upper part is single-axial and designed in the Doric style. The lower storey features a strongly projecting porch in the form of a central avant-corps, which is topped with a low superstructure in the form of an attic interrupted by a three-arcade window, covered with a gable roof. The bays of the front wall and avant-corps are framed by pilasters positioned on plinths; the edge parts with single pilasters and the walls of the avant-corps with pairs of pilasters. The front intercolumniation is accentuated by recessed surfaces in respect of entablature. All axes are accentuated by high portal window surrounds with cornice, two of which include the entrances to the porch, the southern side ones — windows. The protruding wide sides of the front wall have the form of half-pillars covered with linear rustication, The second storey in the form of a Doric aedicule with an arcade window on the axis is accentuated with two pairs of pilasters supporting simple entablature and a step gable with a triangular pediment inscribed in it, crowned with a cross on a ball. The aedicule is supported by stepped half-gables on both sides. The facades of the main body are plastered smoothly, divided by two buttresses to the north in the part of the side aisles, with three high splayed windows which feature a semi-circular vault, and terminated with simple cornice. Both facades of the main nave which are visible over the line of shed roofs of the side aisles are partitioned with simple buttresses, with five pairs of windows with a segmental arch on the axes of the bays. The southern facade features three high windows of a side aisle; its western part is obscured by the wing of the monastery; the space under the windows is occupied by a ground-floor corridor of the monastery. The slender eastern triangular gable end of the main body is embellished with volutes on the edges, which were melted with the motif of the strapwork decoration, with which the whole surface of the gable has been covered, and with a half-pillar dividing it into axes, forming the base of the steeple perched atop. The northern facade of the chancel is divided by three buttresses, between which high windows, similar to the openings in the side aisles, are set in large recesses. A similar fourth window can be found in the part of the closure without a recess and a round blind window on the apse axis in the upper part of the wall. Its lower part, separated from the upper one by means of profiled string course, forms a type of smooth plinth. The visible parts of the facade of the chancel are terminated with entablature with a corbelled frieze and profiled cornice. The lower storey of the three-storey bell tower is hidden in the buildings of the monastery; the smooth walls of the second storey are visible, with a small window in the eastern facade under the frieze of the string course. The proper storey of the upper storey with a high zone for plinth separated by means of cornice opens up with arcades on four sides with squat pillars, with corner pilasters in the Tuscan style supporting the heavy entablature. The dome of the tower made of sheet metal in the form of a four-sided faux lantern, standing on four-faced, dome-shaped base and surmounted by an angular cupola with a spire and a cross. The fittings include a large Late-Baroque alter with a wide openwork colonnade and statues (2nd quarter of the 18th c.), with a miraculous painting by St Anthony of Padua (1st half of the 17th century) in the central bay, complex of Late Baroque side aisles with sculptures used as decor and four Rococo atectonic altars near pillars; the pipe organ casing dates back to the mid-18th century; The preserved marble slab from a Renaissance tombstone of a knight (workshop of Hieronim Canavesi, 3rd quarter of the 16th century) and a marble epitaph by Wojciech Oczka in the form of tombstones with kneeling figures (early 17th century). The complex consists of interconnected buildings of the former monastic buildings, arranged on three sides of a trapezoidal cloister. It is composed of two joined, but architecturally separate, groups: the western one and the eastern one. The western group consists of two perpendicular wings, the western wing and part of the southern wing that are immediately adjacent to the church; the eastern group includes three oblique wings, arranged according to the course of the present-day Bernardyńska Street in an irregular horseshoe with a narrow semi-open yards facing towards the street. The short west three-storey wing features a tripartite and tow-bay layout, with a suite of rooms in the western bay and a hall with groin vaults on the ground-floor level, with one-flight stairs on the side of the cloister. The western wall of the wing adjoins a two-storey, single-bay extension reaching the street. The corner end of the hall of the long southern three-storey wing adjoins the western wings, where visitors can enter the great room with a barrel-vaulted ceiling with lunettes (probably the former refectory), behind which there is a two-part room (probably the former kitchen) adjacent to the staircase and a small narrow hall. The third storey which was added to the complex in the 18th century consists of a row of rooms (cellars) located along the corridor. The wings of the eastern group originally featured a two-bay layout with a corridor: western wing from the side of the cloister, southern wing - from the yard. This layout has been changed. The multiple-storey corridor of the northern wing is immediately adjacent to the chancel. The western and southern wings consist of three storeys; the northern one is two-storey. The roofs are covered with sheet metal and have different forms: the western wing of the western group features a hip roof; both parts of the southern and western wing and the northern wing (without the corridor) of the eastern group feature gable roofs. The shed roof was constructed above the corridor on the north side of the cloister and above the corridor near the chancel. The facade do not feature any architectural partitions, are ended with eaves cornice, with three massive buttresses in the corners and southern wall of a part of the great room. In the case of most facades numerous, varied in terms of location, size and shape, openings do not form clear axes, five axes of windows is found only in the southern facade of the eastern part of the southern wing. One axis can be demarcated based on a large single window set deep in a splayed window reveal, closed with a segmental arch, in the western facade of the southern wing; The upper section of the axis contains remains of architectural decorations of a Late Gothic gable end in the form of two storeys of narrow blind windows and the adjacent round blind windows on three levels arranged in a triangle. The eastern gable of the southern wing features decoration in the form of a three-arcade aedicule framed by triangular half-gables, ended with a semi-circular pediment with an oculus in the centre, which is concave at the top. The complex also features a similar gable of the northern ring with an aedicule resting on two Doric pilasters, with a triple blind arcade inside, crowned with a pediment curvilinearly cut into both sides, ended with a small cornice curved upwards , framed by two volutes with reversed, strongly rolled up volutes . The adjacent half-gable leaning on the wall of the apse of the church above the hall bay has a wavy form of the slopes, with a pair of free-standing Tuscan pilasters, flanked by a round blind window in the profiled framing.

Limited access to the monument. Viewing of the interior is only possible from Monday to Saturday between 8.00 a.m. and 8.30 a.m. (organised groups — by prior arrangement, phone: 81 743 64 36).

Compiled by Roman Zwierzchowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 22.09.2014.



  • Kowalczyk J., Kościół pobernardyński w Lublinie i jego stanowisko w renesansowej architekturze Lubelszczyzny, „Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki” 1957, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 127-145.
  • Kurzątkowski M., Pierwowzór graficzny szczytu kościoła pobernardyńskiego w Lublinie i pałacu w Gardzienicach, „Biuletyn Historii Sztuki” 1962, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 73-78.
  • Miłobędzki A., Architektura polska XVII wieku, Warsaw 1980.
  • Wadowski J.A., Kościoły lubelskie na podstawie źródeł archiwalnych, Kraków 1907, pp. 513-578.

Category: monastery

Building material:  ceglane

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_06_ZE.7021, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_06_ZE.27788