Evangelical church of the Holy Cross, currently Roman Catholic parish church of All Saints, Poznań
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Evangelical church of the Holy Cross, currently Roman Catholic parish church of All Saints

Poznań

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The former Evangelical church of the Holy Cross is one of the oldest surviving and at the same time the most spectacular Protestant church in the capital city of Greater Poland, inspired with the architecture of Baroque Evangelical churches from Berlin and Dresden and Late Baroque Catholic churches of Greater Poland. The author of the design is Antoni Höhne The sculpture décor is attributed to Augustyn Schöps. The central, gallery composition of the interior, incorporated in the rectangular layout of the building, as well as its fittings: main altar and Rococo pipe organ casing, as well as classical pulpit, are worth particular attention.

The historical building is located in the area designated as a monument of history (“Poznań - the historical urban complex” - Regulation of the President of the Republic of Poland of 28-11-2008).

History

The popularity of reformatory trends in the spirit of the teachings of Martin Luther was at its peak in Poznań in mid-16th century. They had their nest in the palace belonging to the prominent Górka family, located at Wodna Street, where in the years 1540-1543, a private church operated. In 1571, Jesuits came to Poznań. It was then when Lutherans were forbidden to hold services within the city walls and erected a house of prayer on Góra Czerwowska (also called Winna Góra or Łysa Góra), located to the north from the Hill of St Adalbert. In the late 16th century, it was replaced by a wooden church, burned down in 1616. From that time on, for more than 150 years, Evangelicals did not have their own church in Poznań.

On 5 March 1768, the Sejm granted to Protestants the right to worship freely, which had direct influence on the decision to build an Evangelical church and purchase land for that purpose in the Grobla suburbs of Poznań. In 1777, king Stanisław August conferred a privilege permitting its construction, ant three months later, the cornerstone was laid.

The Evangelical church of the Holy Cross was designed by Antoni Höhne and built in the years 1777-1783. The sculpture décor is attributed to Augustyn Schöps who, in the years 1781-1785, made, among other things: three sculptures of Three Theological Virtues - Faith, Hope, and Love (not preserved), figures of the four Evangelists by the altar, sculptures of the Atlantes supporting the western gallery, and - most probably - the figures of St Paul and St Peter crowing the main portal built in 1802-1803. In 1785, the main altar and the Rococo pipe organ casing were made.

In approx. 1908, from Ewangelicka Street, a neo-Baroque gate was built, and in the years 1912-1913, on the southern side of the church, a pastor’s house and school building (currently a parish house) was erected with the same stylistic features.

In 1945, the church was handed over to Catholics. In the years 1950s, the former church of the Holy Cross was an academic church. The Roman Catholic parish of All Saints, to which it belongs today, was created in the years 1979-1981.

Description

The complex of the former Evangelical church of the Holy Cross in Poznań is located on the left bank of the Warta river, within the historical old town, in a quarter delimited by the Ewangelicka, Grobla, Mostowa, and Łazienna Street. It is comprised of a centrally located church and a neo-Baroque building of the former pastor’s house and school (currently the parish house) on the south, the area of the former Evangelical cemetery, and the entrance gate on the north. The complex is circumscribed from the west and south with a contemporary, metal, cast fence on a brick, on a plastered foundation which gives way to a solid wall on the north.

The church was built in the Baroque style with classical features, on a rectangular floor plan, from brick. It is plastered. Its body is cuboidal, two-storey, covered with a hip roof clad with slate, adjoined on the axis of the western front façade by a high tower built on a square floor plan, covered with a tented roof. Its bottom storey houses a porch. The dominant element of the opposite, eastern façade is a two-storey avant-corps on the axis with a sacristy on the ground floor and premises of the former library and archives on the first floor. On the axis of the side (northern and southern) façades, there are false, two-storey, single-axis avant-corps, accentuated with rustication in the ground floor section, two pairs of pilasters in the first floor section, topped with triangular pediments. Plain partitions of the façade are decorated by pairs of pilasters and a spectacular crowning cornice reflecting, in a simplified form, the partitions of ancient entablature with false triglyphs and corbels.

The central interior on the ellipsoidal floor plan is accentuated by eight piers, embraced by pairs of pilasters with Ionic capitals with further double rows of arches, converging in one point on the plafond of the wooden false cupola embellished with metal stars covering ventilation openings. On the northern, southern, and western wall there are galleries resting on piers (northern and southern wall), supported by Atlantes (western wall), and on the eastern wall, there is a main altar from 1785 with a depiction of the Last Supper, embraced by figures of the four Evangelists, a Rococo pipe organ casing over it from the same year, and a classical pulpit resting on a column clock, originally topped with a sculpture depicting Moses, attributed to Augustyn Schöps, which is currently placed in the vestibule.

The former building of the pastor’s house and school (1912-1913) on the southern side of the church was erected from brick on a rectangular floor plan and plastered. Its cuboid body is covered with a hip roof laid with roof tiles. The two-storey façades are topped with decorative, also two-storey gables on the northern and southern side, set on the axis, framed with volutes and crowned with triangular pediments with relief decoration in the tympanums.

The neo-Baroque gate, made of brick and plastered, leading to the complex from Ewangelicka Street, comes from the early 20th century and is topped with an elliptical opening and a decorative section of a cornice, and flanked with two arcaded wicket gates, over which there are vases.

The monument is accessible to visitors. More information on the opening hours and services can be found on the website www.grobla.info (access date: 16-10-2014).

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 16-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Atlas architektury Poznania, Poznań 2008, s. 139.
  • Błaszczyk I., Dawny zbór Świętego Krzyża na Grobli, Poznań 2001.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t. VII: Miasto Poznań, cz. II, 2: Środmieście, kościoły i klasztory, oprac. Kurzawa Zofia, Kusztelski Andrzej, Warszawa 2002, s. 94-101.
  • Ostrowska-Kębłowska Z., Architektura i budownictwo w Poznaniu w latach 1780-1880, Poznań 2009, s. 60-68.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: l. 1777-1783
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Grobla 1, Poznań
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district Poznań, commune Poznań
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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