The cemetery chapel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, curently serving as the parish church of St Joseph the Betrothed of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Międzygórze
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The cemetery chapel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, curently serving as the parish church of St Joseph the Betrothed of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Międzygórze

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The parish Church of St Joseph the Betrothed of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the four surviving wooden churches in the Kłodzko Region, with very few structures of this kind still extant in the Lower Silesia. It is also an example of how the solutions originally applied in brick and stone buildings were applied in wooden architecture. The church also presents an outstanding artistic value, being a well-proportioned structure with quality façade detailing and interior décor.

History

The village of Międzygórze was established before the year 1560 as a settlement inhabited by the lumberjacks who worked in the nearby woods. A wooden, Baroque cemetery chapel was erected in the years 1740-1742 for the Catholic community by the local builders - Friedrich Knietig from Wilkanów and Heinrich Ludwig from Pławnica. They have opted for a simple spatial layout, based on the solutions developed by the architects of brick and stone buildings in the Kłodzko Region in the second half of the 17th century and in the early 18th century. As a result, the chancel was adjoined by a two-storey annex with a patrons’ gallery, while the overall shape of the church was made uniform through the application of a single roof above both chancel and nave. The church incorporates a distinctive module of the three-axial nave façade, with the walls of the church clad with board-and-batten siding. A profiled cornice runs beneath the eaves of the roof. The use of the wooden siding and cornice was intended to imitate the architectural articulation of masonry buildings of the era. The space beneath the nave galleries was illuminated by oval oculi, with the nave and the galleries themselves benefitting from the presence of segment-headed windows. Both the window layout and the presence of window surrounds can easily be considered as an attempt to incorporate themes typical of the full-fledged Baroque architecture in a wooden building. The chancel and the nave feature flat ceilings which had most likely been covered with wooden boards. The church came equipped with the existing pipe organ gallery as well as side galleries for the faithful. The pillars supporting the pipe organ gallery were more reminiscent of typical wooden architecture and vernacular art, while the supports beneath the side galleries bore similarities to the established architectural orders. The interior of the church had most likely been painted in vibrant colours, with polychrome decorations applied to the ceilings, gallery parapets and posts supporting the pipe organ gallery. Relics of these painted decorations, designed in the spirit of the vernacular Baroque, survive on the cubiform impost block above the pillars supporting the organ loft. In the years 1790-1792, the steeple was restored, while in the third quarter of the 19th century, the current décor of the interior was executed, designed in the Historicist style with both Renaissance Revival and Neoclassical influences. The ceiling above the chancel was modified. In addition, the supporting pillars and parapets of the pipe organ gallery and the side galleries were covered with new painted decorations designed in the Classical style, incorporating certain Regency influences. Later on, in 1924, a master carpenter named Ignatz Herfort constructed the current roof of the church. One cannot rule out the possibility that the current nave ceiling may have been constructed at that point (either from scratch or as a modification of the existing structure), its wooden beams forming part of the roof truss above. There is also the possibility that the existing painted decorations were supplemented by new additions in the form of rigidly geometric patterns.

Description

The village of Międzygórze lies at the foot of the Śnieżnik Mountain, in the valley of the Wilczka and Bogoryja streams. The church of St Joseph the Betrothed of the Blessed Virgin Mary is located in the middle of the village. The building is oriented towards the east and made of wooden logs. The church is a single-nave building with a narrower chancel terminating in a semi-hexagonal end section. A part of the nave is taken up by a spacious, wooden pipe organ gallery connected to the side galleries running alongside the walls. The church features a single roof above the chancel and the nave, clad with wood shingles. The octagonal post-and-beam steeple jutting from the roof ridge is likewise clad with wood shingles and features a bulbous cupola with a roof lantern. The façades of both the chancel and the nave feature a regular arrangement of windows, their surface clad with weatherboards following a uniform pattern. Above the windows runs a wooden board performing the role of a frieze as well as a profiled crowning cornice. The chancel is of the same height as the nave, albeit slightly narrower; inside, it features a Renaissance Revival coffered ceiling with profiled boards, woodcarved rosettes and painted decorations set against a blue background. Above the nave rises a beamed ceiling with a crossbeam, the beams themselves featuring chamfered edges and a decorative arrangement of inserts forming a herringbone pattern; the ceiling is painted white and adorned with a gilded, geometric pattern. The interconnected organ loft and side galleries feature a parapet divided into separate sections, with small, rectangular panels in the centre of each section, surrounded by profiled, wooden frames. The panels themselves are adorned with stylised rosettes in bas-relief. The parapet is also adorned with painted ornamentation. The fixtures and fittings of the church include the Baroque main altarpiece dedicated to St Joseph, crafted in the 1740s, as well as the side altarpiece of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Child Jesus, featuring a Baroque altar stone and a retable designed in the Historicist style (fourth quarter of the 19th century). Other notable items include a wooden pulpit with a Baroque canopy and Historicist casing (1908) as well as the pipe organ casing and baptismal font, likewise bearing the hallmarks of the Historicist style (second half of the 19th century). In addition, the church is home to a collection of sculptures and paintings from the period between the 18th century and the early 20th century. The church also features period window joinery and planked wooden doors suspended on strap hinges.

The building is available all year round; interior tours upon prior telephone appointment.

compiled by Iwona Rybka-Ceglecka, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Wrocław, 10-07-2015.

Bibliography

  • Bach A., Urkundliche Kirchen-Geschichte der Grafschaft Glatz, Breslau 1841.
  • Berger A., Eine Übersicht über die Pfarreien und Kuratien der Grafschaft Glatz betreffend die Zeit von 1841-1946, Kirchlengen, Kreis Herford 1961.
  • Brzezicki S., Nielsen Ch., Grajewski G., Popp D. (ed.), Zabytki sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, Warsaw 2006
  • Verzeichniss der Pfarreien [...], Glatz 1936.
  • Radecke Ch. von, Wölfelsgrund in alter und neuer Zeit, Habelschwerdt i. Schles. 1926.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wojska Polskiego , Międzygórze
  • Location: Voivodeship dolnośląskie, district kłodzki, commune Bystrzyca Kłodzka - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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