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Evangelical church, currently the Roman Catholic Parish Church of St. John the Baptist - Zabytek.pl

Evangelical church, currently the Roman Catholic Parish Church of St. John the Baptist

church Pniewo

Pniewo, 39

woj. wielkopolskie, pow. złotowski, gm. Okonek - obszar wiejski

The church is an interesting example of a 19th-century ecclesiastical building having a timber-frame structure; this type of architecture is typical for Pomerania and the borderland between Pomerania and Greater Poland.

It is a valuable testimony to the multicultural heritage of Greater Poland. The most valuable elements are stained glass panels being a unique example of stained-glass art of the late 16th century.


The village of Pniewo was established by Barnim XI, Duke of Pomerania, in 1568. Its location nearby the disputed border with Poland entailed frequent raids by Poles. The first sołtys [head] of the village was Simon Zirotte. In 1582, Duke Jan Fryderyk Mocny granted the ownership of Pniewo to Wedigen von Osten in exchange for a manor house in Wapnica. The estate remained in the hands of the von Osten family for over 300 years. In the last quarter of the 19th century, the owner of Pniewo was Marta Carolina von Osten. In 1880, the estate became part of her dowry when she married Ludwig Friedrich Magnus von Knebel-Doeberitz. In the years 1921-45, the last owners of Pniewo were the von Bassewitz-Levetzow family.

The first Evangelical church in Pniewo was erected in 1578. It was a wooden log structure. Due to the continual clashes at the border, the building was damaged many times. In 1596, the contemporary pastor, Joachim Lübbecke, and the contemporary owner of the village, Rudiger von Osten, along with his wife, as well as the local gentry, provided funds for the stained glass windows which have partially been preserved to this day. The present church building was erected in 1842, a little to the south west of the previous church. After World War II, the church was taken over by the Catholics (24 June 1946) and from that moment, it has functioned as the Roman Catholic Filial Church of St John the Baptist. After 1946, the exterior walls were covered with plaster. The interior was plastered in the 1970s. The paintings on the ceiling and on the east wall of the church were also executed at that time. The Pniewo Parish was established on 16 June 1983. In 1999, a sacristy was constructed under the music gallery and the roof was renovated — the roof tiles were replaced with sheet metal imitating tiles. The church underwent full-scale renovations between 2002 and 2005 (the plaster was removed, wooden elements were cleaned and conserved, new woodwork was installed, and old stained glass windows were installed).


The church is situated in the centre of the village, on a small hillock by the main road from Jastrowie to Ciosaniec and Okonek. The church is oriented towards the east. The church is surrounded by a former graveyard enclosed with a wooden fence. The aisleless church has a rectangular floor plan. It is adjoined by a small, rectangular porch on the west side. The nave and the much lower porch are covered with tall gable roofs.

The church is a half-timbered building with brick infill, resting on a stone wall base. The interior walls and the exterior panels are covered with plaster. The roofs are covered with sheet metal imitating tiles. Inside, there is a wooden beamed ceiling with a counter ceiling.

The design of the exterior walls is based on the contrast between the dark timber frame and the plastered brick infill, painted white. The main entrance in the porch and the windows are rectangular; they are framed by wooden surrounds and topped with segments of a profiled cornice. The windows are filled with stained glass dating from 1596, coming from the previous church.

The interior is divided by means of two rows of posts supporting crossbeams on which the painted ceiling rests. On the west side, there is a music gallery with a simple, frame-and-panel parapet.

The original church fittings, dating from 1842 and incorporating older, Mannerist elements from the early 17th century, include the main altar. It incorporates a modern painting of St John the Baptist in the central field and 17th-century paintings of the Last Supper and the Holy Trinity in the predella and at the top. The church also features a pulpit from 1842, decorated with paintings of Christ and Mark and Matthew the Evangelists, as well as a wooden sculpture of an angel, probably dating from the 17th century, which used to be an element of a baptismal font which has not been preserved. The most valuable elements are the 15 stained glass panels from 1596, with figurative motifs, coats of arms of the founders, floral motifs, and inscriptions. Following conservation works carried out in the workshop of Adam Gołembowski from Poznań in 2002, they were installed in the new wooden windows.

The church may be visited from the outside and — by prior arrangement — also inside.

More information, including the Holy Mass schedule, is available on the website of the Koszalin-Kołobrzeg Diocese: www.koszalin.opoka.org.pl

compiled by Krzysztof Jodłowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 27-10-2015.


  • Kohte J., Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler des Regierungsbezirks Köslin, Bd. 3, Stettin 1934.
  • Żerebiło I., Szachulcowy kościół św. Jana Chrzciciela w Pniewie, Kronika Wielkopolski, nr 2(150), 2014, s. 79-83.

Category: church

Building material:  szachulcowe

Protection: Register of monuments, Monuments records

Inspire id: PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_N_30_BK.171677, PL.1.9.ZIPOZ.NID_E_30_BK.141879