Parish Church of St Anne, Mołtajny
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Parish Church of St Anne



Gothic church, an example of architecture of the Teutonic Order State in Prussia.


In 1404, the endowment for the parish in Mołtajny was recorded, and therefore this date is most probably related to the construction of the brick and stone church (also an earlier date is indicated — ca. the 2nd third of the 14th century with regard to the eastern part, or a later one — late 15th century, for the whole church). Since the end of the Thirteen Years' War (1466), Mołtajny had belonged to the Schlieben family. Ca. in 1475-1485, the eastern gable was built and the church body was extended (dendrochronological examination of the roof truss indicates the following dates: sacristy — 1459/1460 (?), eastern part of the nave — 1479, western part of the nave — 1484/1485). During the first half of the 16th century, a tower, lavishly decorated with blind windows, was added. However, there is another hypothesis that the tower is not the element with which the extension of the church to the west was ended, but rather that it was later connected with the original building of the church from ca. 1404, by a "connecting section" of the western part of the nave. The tower itself — according to this hypothesis — is, in its ground floor section, constituted by remains of a defensive complex — yard fortifications — connected with the ordensburg existing in Mołtajny. Along with recognition of Reformation in the Duchy of Prussia, the church was earmarked for the Evangelical community. The tower gable with pointed-arch blind windows, and even the whole uppermost storey of the tower, are dated to 1650 (the western gable is topped with a flag with the date). Approx. in 1780 Mołtajny, along with the church's funding, was taken over by the Egloffstein family, the owners of the adjacent Arklity. They owned the Mołtajny until the World War II. After the war, a Roman Catholic parish was established in the village. The church was renovated in the 1980s (inter alia by roof replacement). In 2008, the parish obtained a subsidy of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage to carry out safeguarding and conservation works on the tower, during which ornamental decorations were discovered in intrados of blind windows and in the frieze under the eaves, as well as coats of arms (one of the Schlieben family) in the eastern gable of the tower.


The church is located on the southern side of the Arklity-Asuny route which crosses the village, near the northern verge of the lake Arklickie, near the edge of the slope descending towards the lake. The church is oriented, built on a rectangular floor plan, without a separated chancel, with a slightly narrower quadrangular tower with walls thickened from the west and sacristy and porch adjoining the church from the north, transversely to the church's axis. The body is uniform, compact, one-storey, covered with a high gable roof; also annexes and the four-storey tower feature gable roofs. In the corners, the church is framed with inclined buttresses; buttresses are also present on the axis of the eastern wall and at the southern wall. The eastern stepped gable, and the gables of the sacristy, porch, and the tower, provide the body and outline of the church an emphatic accentuation. The church is made of fieldstone (which dominates in the eastern part of the body), and of tapestry brick and also burr brick; roofs are covered with ceramic tiles. Window reveals, blind windows, and horizontal partitions of the gables, as well as the band under eaves, are plastered; blind windows and gables of the tower, which were subjected to conversation works, are covered with a thin layer of plasterwork, and the gables — with tinted dark red plaster mass. The façades are accentuated by window openings with ending sections featuring three-centred arches, and in the western part and in the tower — additionally by blind windows — single or double, with three-centred arches or pointed arches as ending sections. Brick-ups of openings and blind windows are particularly visible on the southern façade. The elaborate eastern gable is divided horizontally into five distinct sections and features seven axes. It is divided by pointed-arch blind windows with angled pinnacles. The first horizontal section features two niches with ornaments and a finial. The gable over the sacristy features five axes, and over the porch — three, with oculi in the intrados of the blind windows. At the ground floor level of the tower, in the southern and northern walls, there are pointed-arch entrance openings (the southern one is bricked-up), higher storeys with rows of four blind windows with distinct, elaborate pointed-arches; the uppermost storey features a pair of windows per façade in stepped, splayed reveals.

The interior is a single space in aiseless layout, covered with a faux wooden barrel vault with flattened profile. The passage from the ground floor of the tower to the nave leads through an openings with a pointed-arch ending section, and from the nave, there are holes for a locking bolt and a pair of hinges on the right. On the northern wall, there is a fragment of Gothic wall painting uncovered, with a visible consecration cross. The floor once housed a headstone with the coat of arms of the Schlieben family (1561), and there was another one recorded earlier — from 1545. In the western part of the church, there is a wooden choir gallery from the 1st half of the 17th century, with decorative paintings of Old Testament scenes. The pillars supporting the gallery are decorated with relief strapwork. The wall behind the gallery features an embedded wooden epitaph (?) from the early 17th century (?), depicting St. Peter and St. Paul. The altar and pipe organ (the latter made by Karl Heinrich Obuch from Morąg) originate from 1782, and they were founded by the Egloffstein family. Niches in the nave feature isolated preserved wooden sculptures of Aaron and probably Moses (2nd half of the 17th century). On the northern side of the church yard, there is a stone grave monument of Albrecht (died 1791) and Henrietta nee Gottlieb (died 1776) Egloffstein, with allegorical figures, and antiquity-styled vase topping the plinth; damaged plate with inscription was moved to the church.

The church remains in use and is closed outside church service hours.

Compiled by Joanna Piotrowska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Olsztyn, 13.08.2014.



  • A. Rzempołuch, Ehemaliges Ostpreussen. Kunstreiseführer, Olsztyn 1996, s. 147.
  • Karta ewidencyjna zabytku architektury i budownictwa kościoła św. Anny w Mołtajnach, aut. J. Kalicki, 1997, Archiwum Wojewódzkiego Urzędu Ochrony Zabytków w Olsztynie.
  • Ch. Herrmann, Mittelalterliche Architektur im Preussenland. Untersuchungen zur Frage der Kunstlandschaft und -geographie, Petersberg 2007, s. 607-608.
  • J. Sikorski, Budowla kościelna i założenie obronne w Mołtajnach, 2008, mps (Archiwum WUOZ w Olsztynie)

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1404
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Mołtajny
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district kętrzyński, commune Barciany
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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