Parish church of St Stanislaus the Bishop and Martyr, Niemirów
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Parish church of St Stanislaus the Bishop and Martyr

Niemirów

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One of the few brick buildings surviving in the Podlaskie province the design of which can be said to combine Baroque and Classicist influences. The history of the church remains linked to the most eminent noble family in Podlasie (the Niemira family) as well as the great aristocratic Czartoryski family which was famous all across the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth; due to this fact, the church possesses a substantial historical value today. The design for the church was produced by Jan Samuel Becker, the court architect of the Sapieha family of magnates who also designed many other buildings at their request. Inside, the church features valuable fixtures and fittings, including the bas-reliefs of the Evangelists. In 2003, the building won the “Well-Preserved Monument” prize, awarded by the General Monument Inspector.

History

The first, wooden church in Niemirów (formerly known as Niwice) was erected back in 1620, with the funds for its construction being provided by the erstwhile owner of the surrounding lands, Stanisław Niemira, the castellan (1617-1634) and then voivode (1634-1648) of the Podlasie region, participant of the Chocim (1621) and Smoleńsk (1634) armed expeditions. When he transformed the village of Niwice into the town of Niemirów, Stanisław Niemira had both a church and a castle erected in the area. The original church burned down in 1775; the construction of the existing church began in 1780, with the necessary funds being provided by Michał Fryderyk Czartoryski. When Michał Fryderyk - the Great Chancellor of Lithuania and the co-founder and leader of the Familia political party - died in 1775 before he could even see the results of his initiative starting to take shape, the construction of the church was continued by his wife, Eleonora Czartoryska née Waldstein. It is believed that the author of the design for the church was Jan Samuel Becker, the court architect of the Sapieha magnate family, who was also responsible for the design of the palace, the parish church and the Basilian church and monastery in Różana and who also created the design for the Dereczyn palace. The church was completed somewhere around the year 1791 after a few years’ hiatus, with the resumption of construction works being possible due to the appropriate bequest being contained in the last will of Adam Kazimierz Czartoryski - the general of the Podolia region, politician, playwright, member of the Commission for National Education and marshal of the General Confederation of the Kingdom of Poland (1812), who died in 1823. Shortly after the November Uprising was thwarted by the Russians, the wave of persecution began, leading to the church being closed down for 40 years, with the surrounding lands being taken over by the Orthodox parish in Mielnik. The building was reclaimed by the Catholics in 1905, when the necessary renovation works were also conducted. During World War I, the church served as a military hospital. In years 1940-1941, the church was closed down by the Soviets and subsequently fell victim to intentional vandalism. After the war, the church was restored to its former glory. Further repairs and renovations were conducted in 1965, 1968, 1974, 1991 and 1997-2001. Since 2003, systematic conservation works are being performed at the church.

Description

The church is situated at the western corner of the northern market square frontage, its front facing the south. It was designed in a mixture Baroque and Classicist styles. The church was erected on a rectangular floor plan; it consists of a two-bay nave and a narrower, rectangular, single-bay chancel which, while separated from the nave on the inside, remains virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the structure when looking at the church from the outside. The church is covered with a gable roof clad with sheet metal. It is a brick structure, its walls covered with plaster. The tripartite front façade features a projecting middle section reminiscent of an avant-corps; it is topped with a projecting gable, flanked by volutes and crowned with a triangular pediment. A portal with a triangular pediment is positioned on the middle axis of the façade, with a window topped with a round arch located directly above, its outline partially traced by the projecting cornice which follows the shape of a segmental arch. Oval niches housing the sculptures of St Peter and Paul are positioned in the side sections of the front façade. A small, square window can be seen in the middle of the gable, right below the triangular pediment. The façades are partitioned with Tuscan pilasters; the pilasters on the front façade support a Doric entablature adorned with triglyphs. Inside, the rectangular treasury and sacristy rooms flank the chancel of the church, with galleries positioned directly above, opening towards the chancel through large, rectangular orifices. The fixtures and fittings are designed in the Late Baroque and Classicist styles.

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Grzegorz Ryżewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 03-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Stankiewicz D., Parafia rzymskokatolicka św. Stanisława Biskupa i Męczennika w Niemirowie laureatem konkursu Generalnego Konserwatora Zabytków, “Biuletyn Konserwatorski Województwa Podlaskiego”, issue 10, 2004, pp. 275-278.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. XII, Województwo białostockie, issue 1, Siemiatycze, Drohiczyn i okolice, compiled by Kałamajska-Saeed M., Warsaw 1996, pp. 45-49.
  • http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niemir%C3%B3w_%28wojew%C3%B3dztwo_podlaskie%29
  • Diecezja Drohiczyńska. Spis parafii i duchowieństwa 2004, compiled by Rostkowski Z., Drohiczyn 2004, pp. 338-390.
  • Orłowicz M., Przewodnik ilustrowany po woj. białostockim, Białystok 1937, p. 193.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1791 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Niemirów
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district siemiatycki, commune Mielnik
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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