Parish church of St James the Greater, Mogilno
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish church of St James the Greater



An example of a small-town parish church from the Late Gothic period, having the status of a regional landmark.


The church of St James was erected before the year 1145, with the funds being provided by the local knights. The church was constructed inside a settlement located north of the Benedictine monastery, established back in the 11th century. The church in question was, without a doubt, a wooden structure. Somewhere around the year 1145, Zbylut, a member of the House of Pałuka, entrusted the church to the friars residing in the Mogilno monastery - a gift of land accompanied by a generous pecuniary donation. It is believed that, from the very start, the building had the status of a parish church, forming the centre of the parish encompassing the aforementioned settlement, which was later superseded by a town, founded by the Benedictine monks under the charter granted to them by King Władysław Jagiełło in 1398. During some periods in the 15th century as well as in the years 1867-1925, the building served as the filial church subordinate to the nearby monastic church, which remained under the administration of the Benedictine monks until 1833. The construction of the existing church was completed in 1511, as evidenced by an inscription in medieval minuscule accompanied by the coat of arms of the monastery and the town, burned into the surface of several bricks in the north-eastern buttress supporting the chancel wall. The inscription reads, “1511 co[n]sumatu[m] est”; a sandstone plaque bearing what is probably the Szeliga coat of arms as well as the initials I.S. - a reference to an unidentified benefactor of the church - can be seen above the section of the wall where the aforementioned bricks are present. The church was originally consecrated in 1592, with subsequent consecration ceremonies taking place on numerous occasions, including in 1839, 1900 and 1977.


The Late Gothic church, oriented towards the east, is situated on a small hill; its walls are made of brick arranged in the so-called Gothic bond and feature an extensive use of overburnt brick arranged in rhombus-shaped decorative patterns. The single-bay chancel features a semi-hexagonal end section. A sacristy adjoins the northern side of the chancel. The three-bay nave, slightly taller and wider than the chancel, can be accessed through a pair of porches - the western porch, dating back to 1839, and the southern porch, erected in 1937 based on the design produced by the architect Stefan Cybichowski and replacing an older, timber-framed structure. Inside, the church features flat, coved ceilings, with a dentilled cornice running beneath the coving. The sacristy features a barrel vault. The chancel arch wall features a pointed arch opening; the windows, on the other hand, are topped with basket-handle arches which are one of the more evident results of the limited Baroque redesign of the church. A total of four pointed-arch, Gothic portals survive inside the church: one leading from the chancel to the sacristy (equipped with an iron door crafted in Poznań in 1638), another facilitating access from the nave to the western porch, yet another, third portal positioned between the nave and the southern porch and the fourth, bricked-up portal in the northern wall of the nave. The walls of the church are reinforced by buttresses. A number of inscriptions are carved into the surface of the southern buttress of the chancel, one of them referring to the depth of snow cover in 1573, while another mentions a lightning which struck the church in 1640. In addition, a pair of stone spheres have been embedded in the buttresses. Both gables of the nave are triangular in shape, their top sections and decorative blind windows showing signs of alteration works conducted over the years. The gable roofs are covered with roof tiles. The church features three altarpieces in total. A Late Gothic crucifix from ca. 1511 is suspended from the wall above the modern main altarpiece; this crucifix, believed to possess miraculous qualities, had been positioned above the rood beam until 1838. The remaining moveable artefacts originate from the period between the 17th and the 19th century. In the north-eastern part of the church cemetery rises a timber belfry, thoroughly remodelled in 1891; the structure is younger than the bell it contains, the latter having been cast in the year 1580.

The interiors of the church are accessible during church service.

compiled by Lech Łbik, Historical Monument and National Heritage Documentation and Popularisation Department of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Cultural Centre in Bydgoszcz, 04-12-2014.


  • Białłowicz-Krygierowa Z., Zabytki Mogilna, Trzemeszna, Strzelna i okolic od gotyku po barok, [in:] Studia z dziejów ziemi mogileńskiej, Łuczak Czesław (ed.), Poznań 1978, pp. 337-340, 346-347.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. XI: Dawne województwo bydgoskie, issue 10: Mogilno, Strzelno, Trzemeszno i okolice, prepared by Białłowicz-Krygierowa Z., Warszawa 1982, pp. 42-44.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1511 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Benedyktyńska 12, Mogilno
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district mogileński, commune Mogilno - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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