The parish church of St Nicholas, currently serving as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Graces, Pieranie
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The parish church of St Nicholas, currently serving as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Graces

Pieranie

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An exceptional example of historical wooden architecture. One of the largest wooden basilica churches with wood shingle roof cladding in Poland. The interior is notable for the painted decorations created by a Toruń-based painter Jan Jerzy Petri as well as for the Rococo fixtures and fittings from the mid-18th century. Today, the church remains the most important of all sanctuaries in the Kuyavia region and is often referred to as the “Kuyavian Częstochowa” - a reference to Poland’s greatest centre of Marian worship.

History

The village is believed to have been founded in the 13th century, with first mentions thereof in written sources appearing in 1301, in a document confirming that, at that time, it remained the property of the cathedral chapter in Włocławek. In 1489, the village remained in the hands of the bishop of Kuyavia; later on, it changed ownership on a number of occasions. In 1680, it belonged to Zygmunt Działyński, the voivode of Kalisz. In the late 17th and early 18th century, the ownership of the village transferred to the Umiński family, followed by the Słubicki family before 1746.

It is believed that the first, relatively small church was erected here back in the 13th century to serve the needs of the local parish the first mentions of which appear in 1325. In the 17th century, the building was in a very poor technical condition. In 1680, a single-nave church was erected on the site thereof at the initiative of Z. Działyński, the erstwhile owner of the village of Pieranie; however, this church was later demolished after 1729. The current church, the third to be erected on this site, was constructed for the funds donated by Łukasz Umiński and his wife Jadwiga, their son Andrzej and his wife Apolinara Umińska née Niemojewska, the treasurers of Brześć Kujawski, the heirs of the villages of Sobiesiernie, Pieranie and a few neighbouring manors as well as reverend Adam Umiński, a canon from Włocławek who served as the parish priest in Służewo and Pieranie in the years 1712-1720. The building was erected in the years 1732-1736 by the master carpenter Jakub Gaca from Zagrze, who has completed the entire structure without using a single nail. Somewhere around the year 1736, another local master carpenter named Krzysztof and his apprentice Jan Klimand erected the two western towers, the upper sections of which were later dismantled in 1853, with the remaining structures having the same height as the side aisles. The interior of the church was adorned with painted decorations completed in 1854; they were created by Jan Jerzy Petri, aided by Marcin Stanowski. The funds for the execution of these resplendent interior decorations were provided by King Stanisław Leszczyński himself. In 1743, the church was consecrated by bishop Franciszek Kanigowski, the suffragan of Włocławek. The church underwent renovation works in the years 1901, 1933 and 1947. In 1825, the roofs were covered with roof tiles, which were subsequently replaced with wood shingles in 1963. In 1972, new stained glass windows were installed in lieu of the originals, which only featured ordinary glazing. The painted decorations of the interior were restored by Henryk Jaguszewski in 1894 and then by Franciszek Cholewiński in 1951.

Description

The church, oriented towards the east, is located in the middle of the village, in the vicinity of the regional road no 252 leading from Inowrocław towards Włocławek. Designed on a rectangular floor plan, the church consists of a four-bay main body and a narrower chancel with a semi-hexagonal end section flanked by a pair of annexes (the sacristy on the southern side and the porch with a first-floor patrons’ gallery on the northern side). In addition, the church also features a pair of chapels positioned alongside the easternmost bay of the nave - the southern chapel of the Resurrection of Jesus and the northern chapel of St Stanislaus Kostka, forming a pseudo-transept. The three-nave basilica church is compact in shape, its chancel slightly lower than the nave. The individual sections of the entire structure are covered with gable roofs, with the exception of the side aisles, covered with mono-pitched roofs, as well as the side chapels which feature bulbous cupolas with roof lanterns. The side façades are pierced with rectangular windows and partitioned with diagonal supports which serve as buttresses.

The Baroque wooden church is a mixture of a log structure and a post-and-plank structure, based on stone foundations. The post-and-beam side porches were constructed using reclaimed materials from the towers demolished in 1853. The outer walls of the church are clad with weatherboards. The roofs are covered with wood shingles. The western part of the interior accommodates the organ gallery supported by a pair of sturdy wooden posts and flanked by vestibules which had started their life as towers. The nave and the side aisles are separated by low arcades supported by wooden posts; the chancel, with its false vaulted ceiling of the barrel type, features a rood arch of a similar shape. A multi-faceted vaulted ceiling is present in both of the side chapels.

The lavishly designed interior is particularly notable for its sumptuous, Rococo painted decorations, signed by Jan Jerzy Petri and incorporating a highly elaborate iconography, including the life and triumph of the Virgin Mary (The Nativity of the Virgin Mary, The Presentation, The Annunciation, The Visitation, The Adoration of the Shepherds, The Circumcision of Jesus, The Adoration of the Magi, The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, The Descent of the Holy Spirit, The First Sermon of St Peter, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven and The Coronation of the Virgin Mary) as well as various trompe l’œil motifs accompanied by the portrayals of the Seven Sacraments, The Guardian Angel and Michael the Archangel as well as images of various miracles brought about by the Virgin Mary of Pieranie, accompanied by the applicable inscriptions. There is also a unique painted scene depicting a local band from the village of Pieranie, with the characters portrayed believed to represent actual members of an orchestra which remained active here during the 18th century. The interior fixtures and fittings are designed in a mixture of Late Baroque and Regency styles, including the main altarpiece (years 1730-1735) incorporating the painting of the Virgin Mary of Pieranie, believed to possess miraculous qualities.

Limited access to the historical monument. The church is open during church service. The building may be visited upon prior telephone appointment.

compiled by Bogna Derkowska-Kostkowska, Historical Monument and National Heritage Documentation and Popularisation Department of the Kuyavian-Pomeranian Cultural Centre in Bydgoszcz, 26-11-2014 - 8-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Gołaszewska Iwona, Drewniany kościół w Pieraniu, “Materiały do dziejów kultury i sztuki Bydgoszczy i regionu” 1997, issue 2, pp. 104-111.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. XI: Dawne województwo bydgoskie, issue 8, Powiat inowrocławski, prepared by Chrzanowski Tadeusz, Kornecki Marian, Warsaw 1974, pp. 64-67.
  • http://www.pieranie.net
  • http://www.kosciolydrewniane.pl/pages/drewniane/pieran.html

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1732-1736 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Pieranie
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district inowrocławski, commune Dąbrowa Biskupia
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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