Evangelical church, currently the Roman Catholic filial church of Our Lady of Częstochowa, Palczewo
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Evangelical church, currently the Roman Catholic filial church of Our Lady of Częstochowa

Palczewo

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The church constitutes a rare and valuable example of wooden ecclesiastical architecture in the Żuławy region. The sumptuous and vibrant interior decor of the church, dating back to the 18th century, is in stark contrast to its simple, austere exterior.

History

The first chapel in Palczewo was built in the late Middle Ages, although the only thing that is known about it is that it was a church under the invocation of the Virgin Mary and that it served as a filial church of the church in Boręty; subsequently, somewhere in the 1650s, the church fell into disrepair. The Evangelical community, the earliest mentions of the existence of which date back to the first half of the 17th century, had to wait until year 1712 for its own church to finally be erected. The shape of this building remains virtually unchanged until this day, the sole exception being the steeple, which was added in the 1870s. In 1949, the building was taken over by the Catholic Church and has served as the filial church of the Boręty parish ever since. In 1989, the building was included in the register of monuments; thorough renovation works followed in 2007, with some of the beams in the exterior walls and the wood shingle cladding being replaced; the gables of the church were repainted. The conservation works performed inside the church have brought to light the Baroque wall paintings covering the pipe organ casing, the choir gallery and the pews. The original colour scheme of the ceiling has been restored; the missing sculptural elements and damaged parts of gold coating have been reconstructed. Missing wainscoting panels on the southern wall were reconstructed, as were the wall paintings; the reconstruction of the latter was performed on the basis of the surviving originals on the north wall. In 2008, the church in Palczewo received a distinction in the “Well-preserved Historical Monument” contest.

Description

The church is situated in the centre of the village, on the western side of the main road which runs parallel to the Vistula river. The church is orientated towards the east and features a simple, austere shape devoid of any decorative features. The building is covered by a gable roof with a small steeple jutting from the eastern section of the roof ridge. The church was erected on a rectangular floor plan (12 x 8 m), with a small porch abutting the body of the building from the west. It is a wooden church based on a log structure. Roof covered with wood shingles, steeple covered with sheet metal. Corners of the facade clad with weatherboards; the south and north walls are pierced by a row of four windows on each side, positioned high above the ground, under the eaves. The east and west facades feature small windows in the gables. The main entrance from the west of the church leads through a small porch; another entrance is located in the northern facade and leads into the sacristy. The interior is not particularly spacious and features a hall layout, with a small separate vestry annex in the east (behind the altar). The two rows of windows set into the longer walls of the church fill the interior with light. A distinguishing feature is the wooden ceiling covering the roof truss - the horizontal bracing beam performs the function of the rood beam which visually separates the presbytery from the rest of the church. The Baroque fittings of the church include the main altar and ambo which used to form part of the original pulpit, the Crucifixion scene, the hanging sculpture of an angel, the church pews, the choir gallery and the pipe organ casing dating back to 1686. The vibrant wall paintings, incorporating both figural and ornamental elements, cover the walls, the choir gallery, the doors, the pipe organ casing and even the pews; they form a fascinating example of vernacular Baroque art.

Limited access to the historic building. The building may be visited upon prior appointment made through the parish office in Boręty.

Compiled by Krystyna Babnis, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 27.07.2014.

Bibliography

  • Schmid B., Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler des Kreises Marienburg (Die Städte Neuteich und Tiegenhof und die lädlichen Ortschaften), Danzig 1919.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Palczewo 42
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district nowodworski, commune Ostaszewo
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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