Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St Lawrence, along with the gate-belfry and brick perimeter fence, Ostrów Lubelski
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Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St Lawrence, along with the gate-belfry and brick perimeter fence

Ostrów Lubelski

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The Late Baroque church is one of those works of the architect Paolo Fontana which - unlike the so-called churches of the Lubartów type - do not feature his trademark concept of spatial structure, opting instead for a layout combining a cruciform floor plan with a circular ambulatory leading around the transept. This “hybrid” layout has been applied due to the double function of the parish church which also served as the sanctuary for the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary of Ostrów, around which a cult has grown from the 16th century onwards. The front façade composition antedates the design of the façade of the Piarist church in Chełm. The church, along with the gate-belfry and the front section of the perimeter fence, form a complex which exhibits an admirable uniformity of design.

History

The first, wooden church to be erected in the local parish - the church of St Jerome - is believed to have come into being in 1442, the year when the parish itself was formed. The cult of the miraculous image of the Virgin Mary of Ostrów has begun developing back in the 16th century, its validity reaffirmed by Pope Paul V in the early 17th century. Before 1650, a chapel of the Virgin Mary was added to the church to accommodate the needs of the pilgrims. In the late 1740s, the construction of a new, brick and stone church began, with the primary construction works being completed in 1755. The funds for the new church have been provided by colonel Mikołaj Skrzyniecki, the treasurer of Trembowla. In 1762, the church was consecrated; however, some of its fixtures and fittings (three brick altarpieces) were only finished in the 1780s. Major renovation works were carried out in years 1870, 1911 and after 1921, the latter series of works intended to remedy the slight damage done during the armed clashes of 1915. After World War II, the church was renovated in 1946. In 1974, the original roof cladding was replaced with copper sheets.

The brick gate-belfry was erected in 1758 on the basis of the design by Paolo Fontana; inside the gateway, a wooden staircase was installed, currently replaced with a concrete one. The tower was originally flanked by wooden annexes built in the second half of the 19th century, used as a storage and a morgue respectively; these were ultimately replaced by brick annexes in the 1930s.

The construction of the brick perimeter fence commenced in the 1760s and was completed two decades later. During the second half of the 19th century, four shrines were constructed on the northern, eastern and southern side of the cemetery. After 192, the southern and eastern sections of the perimeter wall were supplemented by a new wall with a wicket gate, the design thereof closely mimicking the Baroque form of the northern wicket gate. The northern main gate was added during the second half of the 19th century and was later widened somewhere around 1989.

Description

The church complex is located on a low hill among the marshlands in the southern part of the town, in its former southern suburb, along the road leading to Lublin, currently known as Jana Pawła II street. The church, oriented towards the east, is surrounded by the cemetery and a brick perimeter wall; a bell tower doubling as a gate is positioned on the axis of the main entrance of the church.

The church follows a single-nave design and features a pair of towers up front; it was designed on a symmetrical, cruciform floor plan, the arms incorporating the nave being both wider and longer, with two bays each; the transept arms are narrower and shorter, following a single-nave layout. A circular ambulatory leads through the crossing, behind four broad, diagonally positioned pillars of the central bay. The transept arms with semicircular terminations extend beyond the outline of the low ambulatory. The chancel also features a semicircular end section, extending slightly ahead of the walls of the pair of square annexes positioned on both sides. These annexes, performing the functions of the sacristy and treasury respectively, flank the chancel of the church and feature rounded corners.

The interior is designed according to the principles of the Doric order and features partitions arranged through the application of pilasters. The nave and the chancel feature barrel vaults with lunettes, supported by structural arches; the middle bay, on the other hand, features a dome-shaped ceiling with four lunettes. The western bay features an organ loft resting upon three arches, with a vaulted porch located directly underneath. The two-storey, three-axial front façade is flanked by a pair of towers at the corners, their sides and the middle section of the façade forming a concave section which incorporates the stairs leading to the entrance. The front façade and the towers are partitioned by pilasters, with the lower level featuring Doric pilasters standing upon pronounced plinths, whereas the pilasters in the upper section follow a simplified Corinthian design. The middle section of the façade features a stacked arrangement of decorative surrounds which adorn the main entrance and the window of the organ loft above, both taking the form of aediculae topped with segmental pediments. A wooden cartouche with the Lubicz coat of arms is embedded in the surround above the entrance. The top section of the façade features a small gable with “sedentary” supports, a cornice and a split pediment, flanked by fractables with a flowing, undulant shape. The cupolas crowning the towers, clad with sheet metal and positioned atop brick plinths, are shaped as truncated pyramids with bulbous tops, featuring concave sides and chamfered corners. The remaining façades of the church are partitioned with faux pilasters. The convex transept gables take the form of Doric aediculae perched atop pronounced plinths, featuring segmental split pediments flanked by volute-shaped fractables. An arcaded steeple clad with sheet metal rises from the crossing of the roof ridges, its corners supported by diagonally positioned volutes; the steeple itself is topped with a cornice above which rises a two-tier cupola with a spire and cross on top.

The 18th-century fixtures and fittings include two wooden and three brick architectural altarpieces, a wooden pulpit, a baptismal font, confessionals and founder’s pews.

The brick gate-belfry follows a tripartite layout with a two-storey tower in the middle, flanked by a pair of lower annexes which serve as storage rooms. These, in turn, are adjoined by still lower annexes which were added in the 1930s. The gateway, topped with a basket-handle arch and preceded by a flight of steps, is positioned in the ground floor section of the tower. The upper section takes the form of a single-bay arcade supported by rectangular pillars and topped with a basket-handle arch above which rises a two-sided decorative roof parapet incorporating a basket-handle pediment positioned on the axis of the gateway below. Directly above the aforementioned pediment rises a decorative coping topped with an arched cornice, supported by a pair of volutes which flow seamlessly into miniature pilasters below.

The older, western part of the perimeter fence consists of openwork wooden spans on a brick foundation, positioned between posts topped with cornices and tiled rooflets. The fragment of the fence in the southern section features similar posts. Four brick confessionals concealed within arcaded niches are positioned inside the angles of the fence, with the fifth niche being located on the straight section of the northern wall. On the southern side there is an arcaded wicket gate topped with a segmental arch as well as a gate and a shrine. Another shrine is embedded in the southern wall. The eastern wall with simple partitions and featuring a pair of shrines is a later addition to the complex.

The church can be viewed from the outside; inside, it can be viewed outside the hours of religious services.

compiled by Roman Zwierzchowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 14-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków sztuki w Polsce, Vol. VIII, dawne województwo lubelskie, R. Brykowski and E. Smulikowska (eds.), vol. 11, d. powiat lubartowski, compiled by R. Brykowski, Warsaw 1976
  • Ostrów Lubelski, parish church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, record sheet, compiled by Skrabski J., Paolo Fontana. Nadworny architekt Sanguszków, Tarnów 2007
  • Piech G., Kościół w Ostrowie Lubelskim w Ostrowie Lubelskim jako miejsce pielgrzymowania, paper written for International Heritage Days, Kaznów 2007, www.spkaznow.neostrada.pl%2Fpubli%2Fkosciol_w_Ostrowie.doc&ei=Mas7VMDkEKjW7Qa2k4GgDg&usg=AFQjCNF9Wg8tKqIyCLBRygeZv07oF6Qq_g&bvm=bv.77161500,d.ZGU

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1740-1755
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Ostrów Lubelski
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district lubartowski, commune Ostrów Lubelski - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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