Parish Church of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary, Ostroróg
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish Church of the Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary

Ostroróg

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The parish church in Ostroróg, designed in the Late Gothic style, forms an example of a relatively simple church originally erected in the 15th century, funded by Sędziwoj Ostroróg - a member of a family of magnates who, along with the Szamotulski and Górki noble families - made an immense contribution towards the development of the Greater Poland region. The church suffered extensive damage on a number of occasions but would always be rebuilt later on. Following the fire which engulfed the building in 1776, the upper section of its Gothic walls was dismantled, with the entire building being redesigned in the Baroque style. It is from this period that both the painted ceiling, the interior decor, the Rococo fixtures and fittings and the church wall and gate originate. Despite the changes introduced in the 18th century, the Gothic character of the church has not been totally diluted.

History

The first written records of the town of Ostroróg date back to 1383, when mentions were made of a fortified manor that stood on the site. In 1396, mentions were made of a church of St James which stood in the nearby village of Piaskowo and which was subsequently demolished somewhere around 1818. The town of Ostroróg was founded in cruda radice before 1412. The foundation charter was subsequently renewed in 1546. Ostroróg remained a private town - until 1636 it was the property of the Ostroróg branch of the Nałęcz family and was subsequently owned by the Potocki family, the Radziwiłł family and - from the mid-18th century onwards - the Kwilecki family. In the second half of the 16th century as well as in the 17th century it remained an important centre of the Bohemian Brethren. It was here that the Unity of the Bohemian Brethren was based, along with a seminary and library.

The presence of the first church in the town of Ostroróg was mentioned back in 1419; in years 1419-1505, it was known as the Church of John the Baptist.

In 1432, the priory and the mansionary college were erected; it is believed that the Gothic church was built here at the same time.

In years 1555-1636, the church remained in the hands of the Bohemian Brethren.

In 1637, the church was renamed as the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In the 16th century, the church was damaged by fire on two occasions but was subsequently rebuilt.

In 1776, another fire engulfed the church; after the blaze, the church was reconstructed and modified owing to the efforts of Adam Kwilecki, the erstwhile owner of the town. The main walls were dismantled up to mid-height, all headstones incorporated into the church interior were removed, two corners of the building were truncated and a new sacristy was added behind the chancel, with a porch also being erected in the southern section of the building. As a result of all these changes, the church was now predominantly a Baroque edifice. New interior fittings have also been installed, with the ceiling receiving its painted decorations.

In 1776, the church was surrounded with a wall which incorporated a gate with three arched openings.

Roof repairs were conducted in 1971; the interior was also repainted during that year.

In years 1993-1995, various works were performed on the painted ceiling; the windows were also replaced, with the new, wooden windows being designed to imitate the original ones.

Description

Ostroróg is a small town in the Poznań Lake Region, located on the Ostroroga river, the left tributary of the Warta. The town lies on the northern bank of the Wielkie lake, near the road between Szamotuły and Wronki. The quadrangular market square with five streets leading away in different directions forms the centre of the town’s layout.

The parish church is located some distance away from the market square and the surrounding buildings, on Kościelna and Kapłańska streets. Apart from these two streets, the church also borders the rectory and the yard around the parish buildings. The area around the church - the former cemetery - features an irregular, quadrangular layout with truncated corners, surrounded by a brick wall standing on split stone foundations. The exterior of the wall is adorned with simple, broad lesenes connected by a strip which runs beneath the wall coping. The inner side of the wall is completely flat and free from decorations. The wall incorporates two gates; one of them, a Baroque design, is located in the south-western corner, while the other, newer structure in the eastern part of the wall facilitates access to the parish buildings. The Baroque gateway is a brick structure covered with plaster, following a three-bay design with a taller central section.

The church itself is also a brick structure, oriented towards the east and following a three-nave, five-bay design with a rectangular chancel incorporated into the outline of the building. The church was designed on a rectangular floor plan, with truncated south-western and north-eastern corners. A four-storey tower, designed on a square plan and incorporating a narthex on the ground floor level, adjoins the church from the west and is partially incorporated into the main body of the building, while the former sacristy which now serves as a chapel is located in the northern section of the church. The current sacristy is located behind the chancel, while a small porch adjoins the church from the south. The body of the church features two-stepped buttresses, with a three-stepped variant used for the tower. The windows are topped with segmental arches and framed by simple window surrounds. The corps de logis of the church is topped with a gable roof clad with roof tiles. The narrow windows of the tower originally followed a typical, Gothic design, although now they are topped with semi-circular arches. The tower is topped with a cupola clad with sheet metal and crowned by a slender spire. The eastern gable of the chancel and the western semi-gables flanking the tower are designed in the Late Baroque style, featuring volute-shaped fractables, pilasters and decorative oval panels. The gable of the southern narthex follows a similar design, featuring a semi-circular pediment incorporating the Śreniawa coat of arms and the letters A and K - initials of Adam Kwilecki, framed by stucco decorations in the Rococo style. A Late Gothic portal made of profiled brick leads from the southern narthex to the interior of the church.

Inside, the main nave has the appearance of a dimly-lit tunnel, opening into the side naves through a series of arches supported by quadrangular pillars. The arches are semicircular in shape; the walls of the church are adorned with pilasters and topped with a cornice running along the interior walls. The church features a wooden ceiling with painted decorations executed somewhere around the year 1776. The main nave features depictions of the Sermon of St John the Baptist, the Baptism of Christ, the Beheading of St John and the Feast of Herodias. The paintings in the northern nave portray the Creation of Adam, the Original Sin and the Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, while the images presented in the southern nave include, among others, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The choir gallery is a Late Baroque structure, made of brick and supported by a single, basket-handle arch; it is adorned with pilasters and features a parapet with a protruding central section.

Most of the fittings of the church date back to the period around the year 1776 and are designed in the Rococo style. Notable fixtures and fittings include five altars, the pulpit and the pipe organ casing.

The site is accessible to visitors. Viewing of the building is only possible by prior arrangement. More information about the parish and the Holy Mass schedule can be found on the website of the Poznań archdiocese at: www.archpoznan.pl.

compiled by Teresa Palacz, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 7-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Kowalski J., Gotyk wielkopolski. architektura sakralna XIII-XVI w., Poznań 2010.
  • Kohte J., Verzeichnis der Kunstdenkmaeler der Provinz Posen, Bd. III, Berlin 1896.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, Ruszczyńska T., Sławska A. (red.), t. 5, z. 23 pow. szamotulski, s. 12-14, Warszawa 1966.
  • Tomala J., Murowana architektura romańska i gotycka w Wielkopolsce, t. 1, s. 305-306.
  • Dubowski A., Zabytkowe kościoły Wielkopolski, Poznań 1956.
  • Gotyckie kościoły w Wielkopolsce, Maluśkiewicz P. (red.), Poznań 2008.
  • Łęcki Wł., Wielkopolska - słownik krajoznawczy, Poznań 2002.
  • Powiat szamotulski na dawnej pocztówce (1897-1945), Szamotuły 2002.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1432 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Kapłańska 1, Ostroróg
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district szamotulski, commune Ostroróg - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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