The old Catholic cemetery of the parish of St Stanislaus, Ostrów Wielkopolski
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

Zdjęcie panoramiczne tej lokalizacji jest niedostępne.

The old Catholic cemetery of the parish of St Stanislaus

Ostrów Wielkopolski

photo

The old Catholic cemetery of the parish of St Stanislaus of Szczepanów in Ostrów Wielkopolski is the oldest surviving necropolis in Poland which remains in use to this day. It was most likely founded back in 1784 and remains the final resting place for many eminent individuals who had made a name for themselves in the annals of both the town of Ostrów Wielkopolski and of the entire Greater Poland region, including insurgents, social activists, patriots, writers, doctors and teachers, with reverend Augustyn Szamarzewski also being among the people who were buried here. The cemetery features many old gravestones and antique metal decorations, most of them originating from the 19th century and the early 20th century.

History

The very first cemetery maintained by the Roman Catholic parish of St Stanislaus of Szczepanów in Ostrów Wielkopolski was located in the yard surrounding the church. In 1782, the construction of a new parish church began, which as accompanied by the decision to create a new parish church south of the town, beyond the limits thereof, about 740 steps away from the church itself. The cemetery was founded somewhere around 1784 and was most certainly in operation by 1797.

In 1819, the cemetery had a wooden fence. According to the oldest surviving description of the necropolis, dating back to 1832 and written by reverend Bibrowicz, the cemetery was already partially surrounded with a brick fence standing on stone foundations at that time, with the brick-and-stone tomb of the Śmiełowski family being located in the burial ground.

The cemetery was initially located beyond the town limits, although the continuing expansion of the town itself has meant that, by the second half of the 19th century, it has already been swallowed up by the sprawling settlement. In the 1880s, extensive works intended to restore order to the cemetery were performed at the initiative of the local parish priest, reverend Augustyn Szamarzewski.

Despite the fact that the cemetery had been extended, with its boundaries being moved further south, by the end of the 19th century even that proved to be insufficient. As the construction of a new church, designed in the Romanesque Revival style, began in the early 20th century, a new parish cemetery was established to the north-east of the town, on what is now known as Limanowskiego street. The old cemetery remained in use, even though very few burials were taking place there at the time.

During World War II, plans for the liquidation of the necropolis have emerged, since the authorities intended to redesign the southern part of the town based on plans drawn up in 1943. However, the Regierungsbezirk Litzmannstadt (a Nazi German administrative unit based in the city of Łódź) refused to accept these plans, which meant that they had to be abandoned. The cemetery has also managed to survive the war without substantial damage.

In 1955, the wall around the cemetery underwent a complete renovation. In 1961, a decision prohibiting any further burials was adopted; it entered into force in March of the following year. Soon afterwards the cemetery began to fall into neglect, which influenced the decision to move the outstanding sculpture called “The Pilgrim”, created by Władysław Marcinkowski back in 1890, from the grave of Antoni Chiżyński to a space underneath the arcades of the parish church of St Stanislaus of Szczepanów.

The condition of the cemetery began to exacerbate in the first half of the 1980s, with the wall, the tombs as well as the wrought iron grills and fences around family sepulchres all being in a dilapidated state. In 1982, reverend Alfred Mąka, the parish-priest of the parish of St Stanislaus of Szczepanów, requested for the cemetery to be reopened for burial purposes; his request, however, was only approved in 1994.

Description

The old Catholic cemetery of the parish of St Stanislaus of Szczepanów is located in the south-eastern part of the town of Ostrów Wielkopolski, on the southern side of the historical centre thereof, between the F. Chopin street (located to the north), Wrocławska street (located to the west) and Wysocka street (located to the east); towards the south, the cemetery borders with the yard surrounding the former Catholic school which now serves as the junior high school no. 1.

The cemetery site is shaped as an elongated rectangle, its longer sides following the north-south axis, with a surface area of more than 1.2 hectares. It is surrounded with a brick wall standing on stone foundations, erected using lime and clay mortar. Two gates facilitate access to the graveyard from the east and the west.

The entire area is divided into six burial plots of differing sizes, divided by the central alley following the north-south axis as well as side alleys perpendicular to the main one. A number of old trees - mostly lindens and hornbeams - as well as statues of the Virgin Mary with Child and St Joseph with Child, positioned on tall plinths can be found by the main alley.

Most of the graves in the cemetery date back to the 19th century and the early 20th century. The oldest of those graves, belonging to one Juliane Handke née Domaszewska, dates back to 1842. The chapel of the Resurrection of St Lazarus, built in 1878, and a Gothic Revival tomb of the Parczewski family can be found by the southern wall of the cemetery. Another notable feature is the brick and stone tomb of the Idzikowski family, with its Classicist forms and architectural detailing. Many of the family graves dating back to the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century come equipped with wrought or cast iron fences with lavish, decorative shapes. The figural sculpture on the grave of Bronisława Maślak née Grzędy (who died in 1954), moved from another cemetery, is an example of fine artistic craftsmanship.

Following the cessation of burials in 1962, the outstanding sculpture called “The Pilgrim”, created by Władysław Marcinkowski back in 1890, was relocated from the grave of Antoni Chiżyński to a space underneath the arcades of the parish church of St Stanislaus of Szczepanów, the intention behind this decision being to protect the sculpture from the elements.

The cemetery now serves as the final resting place for many persons who have made a name for themselves in the annals of both the town of Ostrów Wielkopolski and for the entire Greater Poland region, including reverend Augustyn Szamarzewski, whose grave is located on the third burial plot.

In early 1994, the cemetery was once again open for burial purposes, which resulted in the emergence of numerous modern headstones over the past few years.

The cemetery remains the property of the Roman Catholic co-cathedral parish of St St Stanislaus of Szczepanów in Ostrów Wielkopolski. More information can be found at http://www.konkatedra-ostrowwlkp.pl/ (last accessed on 25-11-2014).

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 25-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Grześkowiak H., Stary cmentarz w Ostrowie Wielkopolskim, Ostrów Wielkopolski 1996.
  • Linette R., Stary cmentarz katolicki w Ostrowie Wielkopolskim. Dokumentacja historyczna PKZ, Poznań 1984 (Archiwum P. P. Pracownie Konserwacji Zabytków Oddział w Poznaniu, OT NID w Poznaniu).
  • Ostrów Wielkopolski. Dzieje miasta i regionu, Poznań 1990, s. 539.

General information

  • Type: Roman Catholic cemetery
  • Chronology: 1784-1797
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: F. Chopina , Ostrów Wielkopolski
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district ostrowski, commune Ostrów Wielkopolski (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

Licence:

report issue with this site

Geoportal Map

Google Map

See also in this area