Monastery church of St Casimir, currently the Polish Catholic parish church, and former Reformers monastery, Poznań
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Monastery church of St Casimir, currently the Polish Catholic parish church, and former Reformers monastery

Poznań

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The Baroque church of St Casimir, erected in the second half of the 17th century with the participation of three eminent architects from that time, associated with Greater Poland: Krzysztof Bonadura the Older, his son Krzysztof the Younger, and Georgio Catenazzi. The interior features fixtures and fittings from the half of the 18th century. From the south, the church is adjoined by the buildings of the former monastery of the congregation, built at the turn of the 17th and 18th century.

History

In the mid- 17th century, at the initiative of bishop Wojciech Tolibowski, Franciscan Reformers were brought to Poznań, and a wooden church and monastery buildings were erected for them on the land bordering Śródka, Zawady, and the commandry of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. In 1663, construction of a brick church was commenced from the funds provided by Łukasz Szeliga Niemojewski and his wife Helena, with Krzysztof Bonadura the Older acting as the builder. After the death of his father in 1667, the work was continued by Krzysztof Bonadura the Younger under the direction of Georgio Catenazzi. The church of St Casimir and the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was consecrated in 1685.

In the years 1693-1704, on the southern side of the church, a brick monastery was built from the funds provided by castellan of Przemęt Jakub Gocławski and his wife Elżbieta nee Mycielska. In 1733, the building was plastered and painted.

In the 1730s, painter Wacław Graff made painted decorations on the ceiling of the church's sacristy. Also the surviving sumptuous tabernacle with reliquary was funded at that time.

In the years 1752-1755, the earlier fittings of the church from the 17th century were replaced with new fittings, Baroque in style, with Rococo decorative elements. At that time, the main altar (woodcarver Józef Hybner), six side altars (sculptor Józef Eglauer and his son Jerzy), confessionals, pulpit, pipe organ casing, surrounds of the main internal doors and consecration crosses with busts of apostles, and the sculpture of Jesus Christ Saviour of the World were created. Altar painted decorations were made by monks Stanisław Gampey and Jan Guze, as well as by Wacław Graff.

The church was built on a relatively waterlogged terrain, which many a time resulted in the need for reinforcing the building and conducting current repairs in it, among other things in 1724, in the years 1749-1752, and in 1756.

In 1790, a steeple was built over the chancel, which was destroyed in 1945.

In 1804, a small open space between the southern façade of the church and the northern façade of the monastery was built up, and the sacristy, initially located, in accordance with the rules of the congregation, in the two-section chancel, behind the main altar, was moved there. In the same year, the order of Reformers was disbanded. The monks who stayed in the monastery had to move to the church, where they found residence in the section behind the main altar, which was divided into small cells, illuminated through four rectangular window openings pierced in the eastern façade. They stayed in the church until the end of the 1820s, with a period of interruption in the years 1809-1816, when they managed to occupy a part of the monastery once again.

After the order had been disbanded, the monastery buildings became a seat of a teachers' training college. Temporarily, in the years 1806-1807, a military hospital was organised there. Also part of the church was used for that purpose. In 1834, the renovated church was transferred to the teachers' training college which used it until 1874, when the college was moved to Rawicz. In 1884, the church and the monastery buildings were taken over by the Royal Deaf Centre.

During World War II, the church and the monastery were damaged (among other things, the steeple over the chancel was destroyed). In the years 1946-1948, the buildings were renovated, and ten years later, restoration of the front façade was commenced. Decorative niches in the façade were uncovered at that time. In 1952, painted decoration on the eastern façade of the monastery was reconstructed.

In 1963, the church was transferred to the parish of St Casimir of the Polish Catholic Church. The former monastery houses the J. Sikorski School and Education Centre for Hearing Impaired Children.

Description

The Baroque complex of the church of St Casimir and the former Reformers monastery is located on the right bank of the Warta river, within the Śródka district, on a small hill, and it is delimited by the following streets: Bydgoska (from the west) and Podwale (from the east), which form a junction on the north, and S. Wyszyńskiego (from the south). The southern façade of the church is adjoined by monastery buildings.

The oriented church was built in the years 1663-1685 from brick, and plastered. The three-bay body of the nave built on a rectangular floor plan is adjoined from the east by a narrower and lower, two-bay chancel with a straight end. The nave is covered with a gable roof, and there is a three-sloped roof over the chancel, with a wall dormer from the east.

The front façade of the church has two storeys and five axes, and it is topped with a narrower gable with pairs of pilasters and volutes. The first and second storey are articulated by massive pilasters with plain capitals, resting on high bases, between which there are niches - in three rows in the bottom storey and two rows in the upper one. On the central axis, there is a door opening with trapezoid top section, and in it - a niche of the same profile, with a sculpture of St Casimir, which corresponds to the window opening on the upper storey. At the extreme, doubled and projecting pilasters, there are cubical bases.

The northern and eastern façade of the church are reinforced with buttresses reaching the crowning cornice, built in the years 1749-1752. The northern façade has two storeys and is partitioned with two groups of window openings with round top sections. In the connection point of the nave and the chancel, there is a cylindrical, higher nave, housing a staircase.

In the lower section of the eastern façade, there are four rectangular window openings pierced at a later time, after 1804 (and associated with the monks moving from the monastery to the church), and over them - a window with a profile analogical to those present in the northern façade.

The originally open space between the southern façade of the church and the northern façade of the monastery was built up after 1804 by a sacristy. The window openings were bricked up then.

The church's interior is covered with barrel vaults with lunettes, with doubled arches and geometric partitions, and central fields separated with frames. The walls of the nave are partitioned by doubled pilasters supporting a pronounced mitred cornice. From the chancel, the nave is separated by a rood arch with a basked-handle top section, accentuated with multiple pilasters. In accordance with the rules adopted by the order of the Reformers, the chancel is divided into two zones. Behind the main altar, in the upper section, there was a monastery choir, and underneath a sacristy.

Inside, there are surviving, partially Late Baroque fittings with Rococo decoration elements, coming mostly from the years 1752-1755. The most valuable objects include: main altarpiece with the crucifix flanked by sculptures of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St John the Evangelist on the background of triple columns with a depiction of God the Father in the top section; tabernacle from 1733, originally used as a reliquary; two side altars - in the left one there is a painting showing St Casimir with the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in the right one - Our Lady of Częstochowa; pulpit; four confessionals; and main door with Rococo decoration.

The southern façade of the church is adjoined by a brick, plastered, two-storey monastery erected in the years 1693-1704 on a plan resembling a square, with a rectangular garth. The monastery is covered with gable roofs, with a shed roof over the northern wing.

The layout of rooms inside is single-bay on the ground floor, along the cloister, and on the first floor, in the northern and southern wing, while in the eastern and western wing - two-and-a-half-bay. The cloister are covered with double barrel vaults. In the former refectory, in the south-western part, there are surviving trough vaults with lunettes.

The historic complex is partially available for visitors. The church of St Casimir belongs to the parish of the Polish Catholic Church. The former monastery houses the J. Sikorski School and Education Centre for Hearing Impaired Children.

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in 7-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Atlas architektury Poznania, Poznań 2008, s. 23-24.
  • Kaczmarek J., Królewski Zakład dla Głuchoniemych na Śródce w Poznaniu 1832-1914, „Kronika Miasta Poznania” 1997, nr 1, s. 153-159.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t. VII: Miasto Poznań, cz. I: Ostrów Tumski i Sródka z Komandorią, oprac. Linette E., Kurzawa Z., Warszawa 1983, s. 122-128.
  • Kurzawa Z., Zapomniany klasztor. Dawny kościół i klasztor oo. Reformatów, „Kronika Miasta Poznania” 1997, nr 1, s. 129-152.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1663 - 1685
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Bydgoska 4, Poznań
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district Poznań, commune Poznań
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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