Parish church of St Clement the Pope, Miedźna
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Parish church of St Clement the Pope

Miedźna

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The largest wooden church in the Pszczyna region. Part of the Wooden Architecture Trail of the Silesian Region.

History

The village of Miedźna, where the church is located, was chartered under German town law towards the end of the 13th century. The beginnings of the local parish can be traced back to 1326, where a man named Bernhard - a local parish priest - was mentioned in the related documentation. Over the years that followed, the parish changed its affiliation on a number of occasions, forming part of the Oświęcim deanery at one point, followed by the Pszczyna deanery, the Cracow bishopric and, ultimately, the Wrocław deanery. In 1594, the Reformation movement arrived in Miedźna. In the years 1598-1628, the church belonged to the Protestant (Lutheran) community. The first Catholic parish priest to take control of the parish after the Reformation came to an end was reverend Mikołaj Silnicki. The map of the Duchy of Pless (Pszczyna) known as the “Ihnoortografia Plesniaca”, created in 1636 by Andreas Hindenberg, shows a number of local landmarks, including the silhouette of the church in Miedźna during that period. This church served as the sui generis prototype for the existing church of St Clement the Pope, erected in 1721 on the site of the earlier structure following its demolition. The wooden predecessor was unfit for renovation due to its poor technical condition, hence the decision of the erstwhile parish priest, Andrzej Rozmus Zabrzeski, to begin the construction of the new church. In 1859, the church was redesigned once again, while a few years later the accompanying rectory was built, while the church received three newly cast bells bearing the names of St Hyacinth, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Joseph. In the second half of the 20th century, a series of renovation and conservation works took place, including the impregnation of the timber structure, replacement of roof cladding as well as conservation of the altarpieces and refurbishment of the pipe organ. The walls of the church regained their former glory in 1962, when Mieczysław Mróz created a series of reliefs depicting the Passion of Christ. A new altarpiece, consistent with the principles adopted after the Second Vatican Council, was added during the modern era. The interior wall paintings are likewise a relatively recent addition, executed by Marian Konarski from Krzeszowice.

Description

With a layout oriented towards the east, the church in Miedźna remains true to long-standing traditions. It is situated in the middle of the village, by the main road. It is surrounded by a new, masonry perimeter fence lined with limestone accompanied by wooden pickets in the upper parts. The gates leading into the churchyard from the north and the west are covered with gable rooflets clad with wood shingles. The church is surrounded by the parish cemetery. Both the churchyard and the cemetery are graced by several small brick shrines with niches designed to accommodate religious paintings or sculptures.

The church itself was designed in the Baroque style as a wooden log structure with lap joints, with the exception of the tower, which is a post-and-beam structure reinforced with a saltire (St. Andrew’s cross), with the entire structure resting on brick and stone foundations. The silhouette of the building consists of several distinct sections, namely the single-nave main body designed on an elongated rectangular floor plan, a short chancel and a sacristy adjoining the northern side of the said chancel. A square tower with an overhanging belfry forms the dominant feature of the building’s silhouette, with one of its tapering walls - the western one - serving as the front façade of the church. The tower is topped by a bulbous cupola with an octagonal, metal roof lantern. The walls of the tower are lined with wood shingles. Both the nave and the chancel feature roofs of the gable type, their surface likewise clad with wood shingles. A steeple topped with a bulbous cupola clad with wood shingles and surmounted by a metal roof lantern can be seen jutting from the roof ridge above the nave. Low arcaded walkways covered with a mono-pitched roof, traditionally referred to as the soboty, run alongside the nave and tower walls. These are supported by vertical posts with diagonal braces, with the spaces between the posts being partially obscured by wooden partitions terminating at their mid-height and punctuated by a number of wicket gates. The walls of the church above the arcaded walkways are covered with weatherboards inside and out. Inside, the chancel is separated from the nave by a chancel arch wall with a segment-headed aperture, supported by corbels. Above the chancel rises a false vaulted ceiling adorned by the preserved, 19th-century painted decorations. The remaining part of the interior features flat ceilings with faux coffers. A wooden gallery with a small pipe organ, supported by two pairs of wooden posts, occupies the western end of the nave.

Due to the presence of a large number of windows and the substantial size of the nave, the entire interior appears light and airy, serving as a perfect backdrop to the original fixtures and fittings, designed in the Baroque and Late Baroque style. Notable items include the main altarpiece from the 18th century, adorned with sumptuous polychromed and woodcarved decorations and featuring a pair of side doors leading into the ambulatory beyond. The altarpiece incorporates a painting of St Clement the Pope, which is normally concealed beneath another painting - a 19th-century visage of the Virgin Mary. The side altarpiece is graced by an 18th-century painting depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary with Child Jesus. The painting was originally oval in shape, with the lower part of the decorative cover (the “robe”) having been added at a later date. The presence of elaborate gilded decorations provides the finishing touch. Other interesting fixtures and fittings include the 15th-century Gothic stained glass window depicting the Crucifixion scene which graces one of the chancel window openings, an 18th-century pulpit adorned with the images of the Evangelists, Christ the Sower and the Blessing Christ. There are also several two-sided paintings (procession floats) in Rococo frames, dating back to the 19th century, as well as numerous Baroque sculptures.

Accessible historic building.

compiled by Aleksandra Bednarska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 24-11-2015.

Bibliography

  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. 6: Województwo katowickie, issue 10: Powiat pszczyński, Warsaw 1961, pp. 17-20.
  • Record sheet, Parish church of St Clement the Pope in Miedźna, compiled by Kontna I., Caban E., Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Katowice.
  • Matuszczak J., Studia nad kościołami drewnianymi na Górnym Śląsku, [in:] Roczniki Muzeum Górnośląskiego w Bytomiu, issue 9, 1989, pp. 15, 23, 32, 33, 38, 41, 90.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1721 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wiejska 47, Miedźna
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district pszczyński, commune Miedźna
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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