Parish Church of St Catherine of Alexandria, Opatówko
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish Church of St Catherine of Alexandria

Opatówko

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The church is an interesting example of 18th-century wooden ecclesiastical architecture in Greater Poland. Inside, there are Rococo fittings dating from the 2nd half of the 18th century — a main altar, two side altars, a pulpit, and a baptismal font. The main altar incorporates an 18th-century painting of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the centre and sculptures of saints on the sides. Another notable element of the interior is the 16th-century crucifix on the rood beam.

History

The village of Opatówko, which used to be called “Osiek”, was originally the property of the prominent Awdaniec family. In the 11th century, the family founded a Benedictine monastery in Lubiń, presenting it with some of its lands, including Chocicza, Psakowo (the present Psary), and Osiek, which started to be referred to as Opatowo, and later — Opatówko. In 1257, the monastery was moved away and the monks had to do something about the above-mentioned estates. By exchange, Opatowo became the property of the Gniezno Chapter, which made it an estate of the Gniezno archdeacon. The Parish of St Catherine was probably established in the 12th or 13th century. In 1364, the parish was granted to the Poznań Diocese. The church, founded by custodes of the Poznań Cathedral Chapter, was mentioned in written records for the first time in 1510. Inspection documents from 1725 inform that the church was in poor condition at that time. Owing to the efforts of Leon Morawski, Archdeacon of Gniezno and Poznań, a new church, which has survived to this day, was built on the same site in the years 1752-1754. The church underwent full-scale renovations in the years 2001-2003.

Description

The church, along with a former graveyard, is situated in the eastern part of Opatówko, by a local road. It is enclosed with a wooden fence with a gate and a wicket gate. The graveyard contains brick tombs, e.g. of the Węgierski family.

The church has one nave (with no aisles), having a rectangular floor plan, and a slightly narrower chancel, terminating in a polygon on the east side. A rectangular sacristy adjoins the chancel on the north side. A small porch adjoins the nave on the south side. On the west side, there is a square tower with a porch at the ground floor level. Both the nave and the slightly lower chancel are covered with tall gable roofs. The sacristy is covered with a mono-pitched roof and the south porch — with a gable roof. The dominant element of the building is the tall, two-storeyed tower topped with a tented roof surmounted by a sphere with a cross and a flag with the date of the commencement of the construction works (“1752”), a Nałęcz coat of arms, and initials of the founder (“LM CG”).

The church has a wooden log structure reinforced with vertical supports. The walls are covered with weatherboards. The tower has a post and beam structure. The roofs are covered with wood shingles; the tower roof is made of sheet metal. Inside, there is a wooden ceiling.

The exterior walls of the church are covered with vertically-positioned boards. The entrance is rectangular; the segmental-arched windows are framed by profiled surrounds. A skirt roof runs around the tower at the junction of the two storeys. On the south wall, there is a wooden plaque commemorating priests and parishioners who died during World War II.

The interior walls are adorned with paintings (plant motifs and medallions with busts of St Jadwiga of Silesia, St Stanislaus, and St Valentine, and on the opposite side — of St Lawrence, St Jacek, and St Florian). Between the nave and the chancel, there is a rood beam with chamfered corners, bearing the inscription: “W krzyżu cierpienie - w krzyżu zbawienie” [The cross brings suffering — the cross brings salvation], accompanied by a 16th-century crucifix. In the western part of the nave, there is a music gallery supported by two posts; the parapet is adorned with paintings (angels making music). The church fittings, dating from the 2nd half of the 18th century, include the main altar, made up of Rococo elements, two Rococo side altars, a pulpit, and a baptismal font. The central field of the main altar incorporates a painting of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; at the top, there is a painting of St Catherine; and on the sides, there are four sculptures of saints. The side altars incorporate paintings of St Casimir Jagiellon, St Barbara, St John of Nepomuk, and the Eucharist of St Onuphrius.

compiled by Krzysztof Jodłowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 06-08-2015.

Bibliography

  • Drewniane kościoły w Wielkopolsce, koncepcja, teksty i wybór fotografii P. Maluśkiewicz, Poznań 2004, s. 182-83.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. V, z. 29: powiat wrzesiński, Warszawa 1960, s. 12-13.
  • Kozierowski S., Szematyzm historyczny ustrojów parafialnych dzisiejszej Archidiecezji Poznańskiej, Poznań 1935, s. 269-70.
  • Łukaszewicz J., Krótki opis historyczny kościołów parochialnych…, t. I, Poznań 1858, s. 387.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1752-1754
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Opatówko 30
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district wrzesiński, commune Nekla - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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