The cemetery church of the Holy Cross, Lwówek
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The cemetery church of the Holy Cross



An example of a Late Baroque centrally-planned church funded by Jadwiga Łącka née Pawłowska, most likely designed by Antoni Hoehne, an eminent architect from Bohemia who worked in Greater Poland somewhere around the years 1768-1795. The church features preserved original fixtures and fittings installed back at the time of its construction, designed in the Late Baroque and Rococo styles.


The town of Lwówek can trace its origins back to the 15th century. At that time, the lands surrounding the town remained in the hands of the Ostroróg family. The villages of Wojszyno (the first mentions of which date back to 1406) and Więcewojszyno formed part of their noble estate. In 1414, the village of Wojszyno became a town of the same name. Five years later, the town of Lwów (known as Lwówek from the 16th century onwards) was chartered on the site of both the town of Wojszyno and the village of Więcewojszyno. The charter was issued by king Władysław Jagiełło. Until 1633, the town remained in the hands of the Ostroróg noble family, who have come to be known as the Lwówek branch. Later on, Lwówek was owned, among others, by members of the Opaliński and Trąmbczyński noble families (until 1698 in the case of the latter), while in years 1699-1760 it was owned by the Werbno-Pawłowski family (Wierzbno coat of arms); in 1760, the town was acquired by the Łącki family (Korzbok coat of arms).

The 15th-century parish church remained the oldest ecclesiastical building in town. During the 15th century, a small church of St Catherine was also built there, later to be joined by another small church - the church of St Barbara, which was erected during the following century. The very first cemetery church to be erected here, also known as the church of the Holy Cross, existed here back in the second half of the 17th century, having been built on the site where, according to legend, a miraculous manifestation of the Cross had taken place. In 1664, the church became the filial church of the local parish. Later on, in 1731, the old building was replaced by a new church, erected on the site of its predecessor owing to the efforts of Adam Pawłowski, the castellan of Biechowo. The new church was designed as a timber framed structure. In 1779, the fixtures and fittings of the two aforementioned small churches were moved here due to the fact that both of these temples have been destroyed. The brick-and-stone church which still stands here today was erected somewhere around the year 1780, at the initiative of Jadwiga Łącka née Pawłowska. The renowned Bohemian architect Antoni Hoehne - bearing the title of royal architect since 1779 - was the man responsible for the design. The construction commenced in 1780 and was continued over the next few years. The church was restored in 1950 and then in 1993.


The church of the Holy Cross is located outside of town, by the road towards Pniewy, east of the market square. The building is surrounded by a cemetery which, among other graves, also includes a mass grave wherein the remains of five insurgents killed during the Greater Poland Uprising were buried.

The church itself is a centrally-planned structure designed on the Greek cross floor plan with square, single-bay arms. Two low sacristies are found on both sides of the chancel. The central section of the church is covered with a dome which rests upon an octagonal tholobate; the dome is crowned with a blind roof lantern. The wings of the cruciform building are covered with gable roofs.

The church is a brick building. Its walls are covered with plaster. The dome is covered with sheet metal, while the roofs above the arms of the cruciform structure are clad with roof tiles. The interior features cloister vaults with a flat centre section, while a cupola ceiling rises above the central section of the church.

The façades of the church are framed with corner rustication. A rusticated finish was also applied to the tholobate underneath the dome. The windows are topped with semi-circular arches and framed with simple window surrounds. The arms of the cross feature decorative gable ends. The lower sections thereof take the form of roof parapets adorned with a frieze consisting of interconnected ovals. Above them rise fractables embellished with pilasters and volutes on the sides, each crowned with an entablature and a triangular pediment at the top.

Inside the church, the pillars in the central section thereof are adorned with paired pilasters which support individual sections of the entablature above. Above them, a massive dome rises from a round tholobate which itself rests upon pendentives and paired arches opening up towards the chancel, the side bays and the choir bay. The lower, deeply profiled cornice of the tholobate is topped with a wooden balustrade. The walls of the tholobate incorporate both windows and niches into which Late Baroque sculptures of the Four Evangelists are set. The dome features painted decoration - quite substantially modified at a later date - which most likely originates from the late 18th century and which portrays the Discovery of the Holy Cross. A choir gallery, supported by arcaded pillars with three arches in between, is located in the western arm of the cruciform church. The interior features Louis XVI-style decorative plasterwork. The pilaster capitals and the balustrade of the choir gallery are just two of the many places where decorative cartouches and festoons can be found. The coat of arms of Łodzia, Wierzbno, Korzbok and Topór have been incorporated into the decorative cartouches which adorn the pendentives below the tholobate.

The 18th-century fixtures and fittings include the Late Baroque architectural main altarpiece with a small crucifix incorporated into the middle section and with sculptures of Our Lady of Sorrows and St John the Evangelist as well as an image of God the Father in the top section of the altar. There are also two side altarpieces, designed in the Rococo style, as well as Classicist pipe organ casing and pulpit, the latter being formed in the shape of a boat.

The church is open to visitors. It can be visited by prior telephone arrangement. More information on the parish is available at

compiled by Krzysztof Jodłowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 13-10-2014.


  • Barokowe kościoły Wielkopolski, koncepcja, teksty i wybór ilustracji P. Maluśkiewicz, Poznań 2006, s. 166-67.
  • Dubowski A., Zabytkowe kościoły Wielkopolski, Poznań 1956, s. 127-28.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. V, z. 14: powiat nowotomyski, Warszawa 1969, s. 19, 22-23.
  • Kohte J., Verzeichnis der Kunstdenkmaeler der Provinz Posen, Bd. III, Berlin 1896, s. 74-75.
  • Śmigielski A., Lwówek, Poznań 1994, s. 36-38.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: ok. 1780 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Lwówek
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district nowotomyski, commune Lwówek - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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