Pilgrimage Church of St. Anne, Olesno
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Pilgrimage Church of St. Anne



Church of St. Anne has a great intangible value for the faithful on pilgrimage and residents and is one of the most important churches in the Diocese of Opole. The shape of the wooden church that is original on a national scale and reminiscent of a five-petal rose is associated with Christian symbols and the former name of Olesno "Rosenberg", which is reflected in the coat of arms of the town. The church model was presented at a world exhibition in New York. The church is part of the Sacred Wooden Architecture Route.


The foundation of the church is associated with the legend of the miraculous rescue of a girl from robbers. According to the legend, when escaping the robbers, she hid by the pine tree on which Saint Hedwig had hung a painting depicting the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne two hundred years earlier when travelling. After this event and repeated healings, burghers of Olesno decided to establish a chapel devoted to Saint Anne. Built in 1444, the wooden chapel was the size of the chancel of the present church and surrounded the pine trunk. In view of the growing number of pilgrims from Silesia, Poland, Czech Republic and Moravia, in 1518 the site formerly occupied by the chapel was used for the construction of the present church consecrated by Jan V Thurzo, Bishop of Wrocław. The chancel was fitted with the main altar — a triptych from 1517 depicting the "Great Holy Family", made by master Jakub, an apprentice of Veit Stoss. The altar was stolen in 1994, so far two of 32 statues have been recovered. In 1619, the south wall of the church was extended by adding a chapel featuring a timber-frame structure, which was demolished shortly after due to poor technical condition. Instead of a chapel, in 1669-1670 carpenter Marcin Snopek built a new building on a central floor plan. The part of the church resembling a rose consisting of five petals — chapels and connected to the nave by means of a connector — stem became a symbol of the sanctuary, called the "rose preserved in wood". The church was a place where the faithful left many thanksgiving votive offerings to commemorate miraculous events in their lives; dear head sculpture, wooden stick ("scebel od iarzma") and irons, so-called Turkish jougs, have been preserved to this day.

In 1707, a new extensive sacristy was built, as evidenced by a date on the lintel of the door leading to it, among others. Major renovations to the church were conducted in 1696, 1873 (including the construction of two side altars), in 1880 (work in the area surrounding the church, construction of 14 neo-Gothic chapels with Stations of the Cross, morgue in the cemetery, chapel founded by baron Berthold von Reiswitz from Vendryně), and after the war in 1958-1959 and the 1980s.

The church belongs to the parish of Corpus Christi in Olesno, established in 1226, which was under the care of the friars of the Order of St. Augustine in 1374-1770. Today, it is the most important pilgrimage church in the Olesno land.


The church is located about 2 km north of the city centre, with its gable wall facing the road leading to Gorzów Śląski. It is surrounded by a cemetery overgrown with trees, where there are also brick-built morgue, chapel and Stations of the Cross. The wooden church was built in Gothic style, with chapel featuring a log structure, on a foundation.


The church consists of a rectangular elongated nave and a chancel of similar proportions closed off on three sides, with a sacristy adjoining it to the north. The chancel is lower than the nave; the sacristy with a lodge on the upper storey is almost even with the chancel. The church is covered with gable roofs; at the eastern edge of the roof ridge over the nave there is a round steeple turret; at the western edge of the roof the roof structure has been extended upwards by adding a low quadrangular tower with slightly inclined walls, covered with a bulbous cupola. The church, except for the sacristy, is surrounded by cloister-like walkways supported by pillars reinforced with wooden braces, and the walls above them are covered with wood shingles. The windows are rectangular in shape.

Inside, both the chancel and the nave are covered with flat ceilings. The rood beam is supported by two decorated pillars; on the beam there is a sculptural group of Crucifixion from the 17th century and a few thanksgiving votive offerings. The choir with a simple parapet also rests on two pillars; at the northern wall there is a newer organ podium. The main altar is a replica of a stole late Gothic triptych, enclosed in a neo-Gothic casing from 1873. The late Renaissance pulpit in the nave, with a gate and sculptures of evangelists on a parapet, dates from the early 17th century.


At the southern wall of the nave of the church, there is a passage to the part set on a central floor plan. The elongated rectangular connecting sections is surrounded by cloister-like walkways and covered with a gable roof. The main central part was made on a floor plan in the shape of a six-sided start; five sides of the star adjoin chapels closed off on two sides, while the sixth side adjoins a passage to the church. The chapels are covered with false barrel vaults, with flat ceiling sections on the sides. Over the central field there is a cupola supported by six pillars located at the junction of the chapel walls and linked by crossbeams. The central hexagon is surrounded by a narrow gallery with a balustrade, running at the level of flat ceiling sections of the chapels. The gallery rests on six helical pillars on plinths, in the extension of which there are balusters supporting false dome-shaped ceilings. The hexagon is covered with a tented roof, topped with a two-part bulbous cupola. The windows in the walls of the chapels and the connecting section have the shape of quatrefoils intertwined with a quadrangle.

In the chapels there are architectural altars made in the period from the early 17th century to the early 18th century, partly altered in the 18th and 19th century, with paintings and sculptures in the style of the period of creation. The pulpit in the central part close to one of the helical pillars was made in the late 18th century.

The structure can be viewed from the outside; the interior is open to visitors during services or by arrangement with the parish priest.

compiled by Ewa Kalbarczyk-Klak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Opole, 09-09-2014.


  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. VII, issue 10, T. Chrzanowski and M. Kornecki (eds.), pp. 19-22.
  • Emmerling D., Wierzgoń A., Opolskie kościoły drewniane, Opole 2006, pp. 56-57.
  • Dedyk M., Tkacz C., Sanktuarium Św. Anny w Oleśnie, Olesno 1996.
  • Cichoń E., Dedyk M., Olesno: róża wśród lasów, Olesno 2008.
  • http://parafia-olesno.pl (05.09.2014)

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1518
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Gorzowska 3, Olesno
  • Location: Voivodeship opolskie, district oleski, commune Olesno - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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