Oratorian monastery complex, Poświętne
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Oratorian monastery complex

Poświętne

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An example of a Baroque monastery complex preserved without significant modifications, with lavish and valuable interior décor. A sanctuary of the cult of Virgin Mary of national importance.

History

The construction of the monastery complex in Poświętna should be associated with the cult of the painting of Our Lady of the Holy Family

The first identified location in Poland it was stored in was the manor house of the Starołęski family in Niezamirowice. According to a legend, during the Swedish Deluge, the painting miraculously survived fire in the building. Relocated a couple of times, it finally reached Studzianna, where a series of miracles took place thereafter. In one of the apparitions, the Holy Mother asked that a chapel dedicated to her be built on so-called Panieńska Górka. In consequence of the fame surrounding the painting, an especially appointed ecclesiastical committee deemed the painting to be miraculous, and in 1672, the owners of the property started to built a wooden chapel to house the painting. In addition, efforts were undertaken to bring monks to Studzianna, to take care of the sanctuary under construction. The choice fell on the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, commonly referred to as Oratorians. The Oratorians built a church of St Joseph (existing today). However, constantly increasing pilgrimage traffic caused that in approx. 1688, construction works were commenced in relation to an investment immense in terms of cubature, the monastery complex. The designer of the church, which was erected as the first element of the complex, is not known. Names of such known architects as Tylman van Gameren, F. Solari are mentioned, but these are only hypotheses. The construction of the church ended only in approx. 1724, and it was consecrated in 1748. The miraculous painting was solemnly brought to the church in 1776.

Around 1750, construction works related to the monastery started. The walls circumscribing the area of the complex, and bell towers are dated alike. The monastery was built in two stages: 1750-68 and 1788.

The Oratorians look after the sanctuary also today.

Description

The monastery complex is located in the eastern part of the village, on the top of a hill at the foot of which the route Łódź-Radom runs. Apart from architectural, historic, and religious values, the complex has also significant scenic advantages - due to the location on a hill and large cubature, it is a dominant architectural feature in the local landscape. The complex comprises the church, monastery, two corner bell towers, and walls with a gate leading to the church courtyard, which was a cemetery one day. In this area, there are also utility buildings located in the northern part of the complex.

The main element of the complex is the church. It is an oriented building erected on a cross floor plan. Its brick walls are plastered, and architectural details of the walls are made of sandstone. The main nave, transept, and chancel of the church are of equal height, while side naves (built as a row of chapels) are lower. The roof truss is made of wood, and the brick vaults are of barrel and sail type. Over the nave, there are gable roofs, mono-pitched roofs over side naves, and at the intersection of the naves there is a cupola with a lantern on an octagonal tholobate. Also the two corner chapels located by the front façade (from the west) are topped with cupolas with lanterns. The front façade has two storeys in the central part. In the ground storey, there is the main door opening, surrounded by a rectangular portal, over which there is a balcony. On the upper storey, there is a window niche flanked with two niches with figures of saints. The whole is topped with a triangular gable with sculptures of saints. The central part is flanked by two corner chapels topped with cupolas with lanterns.

The façade is also decorated with surrounds, cornices, pilasters, and a number of other details, providing an impression of space to it. Similar decorative elements can be found on the remaining façades.

The church’s interior is comprised of the main nave, opening to side chapels with arcaded openings, a transept with a cupola ceiling in the central part, and a three-bay chancel. The walls are decorated with painting by Adam Swach, and pilasters and lavish entablature.

Between the arms of the transept and the chancel, there are two sacristies. From the southern sacristy, the monastery can be accessed.

The most valuable artefact in the church is without a doubt the painting of Our Lady of the Holy Family. It is a painting depicting the Holy Family at a table during a meal. It was created in the 17th century on the basis of a chalcography by the French graphic artist Callot. The author and place of creation of the painting remain unknown. There is a hypothesis that the work was brought to Poland during the arrival of Cecylia Renata (wife of Vladislav IV). According to other sources, it was painted in Poland.

It is incorporated in the Baroque main altar. Also other Baroque fittings, such as side altars, ambo, and pipe organ, have been preserved in the church. The lavish décor of the interior is completed by numerous paintings, mostly from the 17tth and 18th century, and smaller fitting items, such as lights, candlesticks, etc.

The monastery is a fairly more modest building than the church. It is made of brick, plastered, and features a wooden roof truss. Its vaults are of barrel type. It was built on a floor plan resembling letter “L” and has two-storeys.

Apart from the church and the monastery, the complex includes two brick bell towers, built on a square floor plan. The northern one is covered by a cupola on a tholobate, and the southern one - by a tented roof. Both are incorporated in the solid fencing, also Baroque in style.

The complex can be visited throughout the year both by visitors as well as pilgrims.

compiled by Anna Michalska, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Łódź, 18.09.2014.

Bibliography

  • Nater W. ,Stanik S., Dzieje Sanktuarium MB Świętorodzinnej w Studziannie, Studzianna 1992
  • Miłobedzki A., Architektura polska XVII w., Warszawa 1980

General information

  • Type: tenement house
  • Chronology: XVII-XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Główna 7, Poświętne
  • Location: Voivodeship łódzkie, district opoczyński, commune Poświętne
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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