Parish church of St Adalbert, Poznań
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Parish church of St Adalbert

Poznań

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A Gothic church, one of the oldest in Poznań, covered with an impressive stellar vault, with lavish painted decorations in the interior (early 20th century) and preserved valuable décor and fittings from 15th-20th century. Under the church, there is a Crypt of Eminent Greater Poland Citizens, where ashes of many outstanding persons are buried, among others Józef Wybicki, Heliodor Święcicki, Feliks Nowowiejski, as well as the heart of General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski. In the southern nave of the church, there is a sarcophagus of Karol Marcinkowski.

History

The exact date of construction of the church is not known. Specialists indicate very diverse dates. It is assumed that it could came into being in early 11th, 12th, or in the 1st quarter of the 13th century. The oldest mention originates from 1244 and is associated with the establishment of the parish for the settlement located there, outside city walls.

In the beginning of the 15th century, sources mention patron saints of the church - St Adalbert and George. The then church had a single-nave body, to which the northern nave was added, and then the chancel and the main nave were covered with a vault. In the 1480s, a tower in the south-western corner was erected, and some time thereafter - a sacristy on the northern side of the chancel. In the 16th century, a southern nave was added to the body, and the eastern façade was covered with a gable. On the turn of the 16th and the 17th century, the chancel, and the main and northern nave were extended upwards, and then covered with a vault once again. In the beginning of the 17th century, the western façade of the church was topped with a gable, and on its south-western side, a Baroque bell tower was built. In the years 1620-1634, on the southern side of the chancel, a chapel was added. Its founder was Maciej Mydelnik. In the first two decades of the 19th century, along the extension of the main nave of the chancel, a new sacristy was built. In the beginning of the 1880s, a new pulpit was installed, then stairs leading to the music gallery, and ten years later, a neo-Gothic main altar. In the 19th century, the church underwent numerous renovations, among others in the years 1832-1833 and 1894-1895.

In 1910, another renovation was commenced under the guidance of architect Stanisław Mieczkowski, during which window openings were made uniform in style (the existing windows were bricked up and new window openings were pierced). In the same period, stained glass panes depicting Salomea of Poland and St Barbara were installed in side naves. There were copies of works by Stanisław Wyspiański from the Franciscan church in Cracow and by Józef Mechoffer from the cathedral in Freiburg. In the years 1911-1913, the interior was provided with painted decorations by Antoni Stanisław Procajłowicz. In 1922, a stained glass depicting St Adalbert made by Henryk Nostitz-Jackowski was installed in the window of the chancel.

In 1923, at the initiative of parish priest Bolesław Kościelski, the Crypt of Eminent Greater Poland Citizens was set in the basements, modelled on the Skałka Crypt in Cracow - it is a place where ashes of many outstanding persons associated with Poznań and the region are buried.

During the acts of war in the beginning of 1945, the eastern gable was damaged, and the stained glass windows, the neo-Gothic main altar from the end of the 19th century and the side altars, the pulpit, and the sarcophagus of Karol Marcinkowski were destroyed. In the same year, renovation and repair works were started which ended in the re-consecration of the church. In the beginning of the 1950s, the eastern gable was rebuilt and a new sacristy was erected according to a design by Aleksander Holas. In 1997, on the southern side of the church, a new crypt was built according to a design by architect Jerzy Gurawski, which can be accessed by a separate roofed descent featuring a steel and glaze Modernist design.

Description

The church is located in the left-bank part of the city, on the Hill of St Adalbert, on the eastern side of Św. Wojciecha Street. On the south-western side of the church, there is a bell tower with a gate adjoining it from the south and leading to the church yard fenced with a wall.

The Gothic, pseudo-basilica, oriented, three-nave church with a cuboid body was built in a couple of stages on an elongated rectangle floor plan whose northern side is diagonal and made of brick laid in a Gothic bond. The main nave and the chancel terminating in a semi-hexagon are three-bay and flanked from the north and the south by side naves, with irregular bays at the chancel from the east. On the western side of the southern nave, there are remains of bottom storeys of a former, quadrangular tower. The chancel is adjoined from the south by a two-bay chapel built in the years 1620-1634 on a rectangular floor plan, covered with a groin vault, from the east - by a sacristy built at a later time (1807-1817) on a floor plan resembling a square, into which the northern and the southern façade of the church's body buttresses are incorporated. The body of the church is covered with a high gable roof, the chancel - with a three-sloped roof. Both roofs are clad with roof tiles. The chapel is topped with a flat roof hidden behind a parapet.

The body of the church is embraced by single-step buttress, diagonal in the corners. The front façade features two storeys and in the central part it is slightly projected forward in relation to the face of the side nave façades. It is braced by two-step diagonal buttresses, partitioned with a dentil frieze into two storeys - in the lower section, there is a pointed-arch, three-step door opening, and in the upper section - a window opening of analogical design. The semi-gable in the upper section of the façade of the northern bay is plastered, partitioned with three blind windows, and to a small extent suspended on the brackets supporting it, which are connected with segmental arches. The three blind windows in the southern bay constitute remains of the openings of the tower which originally stood in this place. The front façade is topped with a high, two-section, plastered gable from the beginning of the 17th century, with volutes and semi-gables over side bays, articulated with engaged columns on the lower storey and pilasters on the higher storey, with a triangular pediment and a cross on the top.

The eastern façade has three axes and it is topped with a four-storey, plastered gable with volutes. The gable is articulated with blind windows and faux pilasters, and it rests, over the bays, on the sections of the cornice crowning the façade. On the background of the central bay embraced with buttresses, there stands a plastered sacristy from the years 1807-1817.

Side façades are partitioned with high pointed-arch windows, splayed on both sides. On the second axis of the southern façade from the east, there is a plastered chapel from the years 1620-1634, topped with a high parapet. Gothic, pointed-arch side portals are located on the second axis of the northern façade from the west and on the third axis of the southern façade.

The church's interior is divided into three naves with high piers with buttresses which support pointed-arch arcades. They are covered with stellar vaults with elaborate partitions: four-arm in the main and in the northern nave, as well as the middle nave of the chancel, eight-arm over the northern nave of the chancel, and net and stellar vaults over the southern nave. The main nave is separated from the chancel by a pointed-arch rood arcade. The walls feature painted decorations designed by Antoni Procajłowicz, made in the years 1911-1913, with stylised foliate and geometric motifs and depictions of St Stanislaus and Adalbert in the middle bay of the main nave of the chancel, Our Lady of Częstochowa, and Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn on the rood arch, and the Blessed Virgin Mary adored by angels and children in the southern nave.

In the interior, lavish fittings coming from the 15th-20th century have been preserved. The most valuable items include: side altar in the northern nave of the chancel from approx. 1630, with the painting in the middle attributed to Krzysztof Boguszewski; side altar in the southern nave with a painting depicting the Lamentation of Christ in the central section, attributed to Angelo Bronzino or his workshop, and choir stalls from the 1st quarter of 17th century, embellished with volute-shaped and strapwork ornaments. In the church, there are also surviving grave portraits painted on a tin sheet, with coat-of-arms plaques from the 17th and the 18th century.

In the basements of the church, eminent Greater Poland citizens are buried, among others Józef Wybicki, Antoni "Amilkar" Kosiński, Andrzej Niegolewski, Heliodor Święcicki, and Feliks Nowowiejski. The crypt is also a burial place for the heart of General Jan Henryk Dąbrowski.

On the south-western side of the church, there is a Baroque bell tower from the beginning of the 17th century, erected on a square floor plan on the basis of a post-and-beam structure, with weatherboards coming from a later time, covered by a tented roof clad with wood shingles. Its façades feature two rows of rectangular openings, separated with a cornice. Three bells are hung inside. The two oldest originate from 1551 and 1702.

The monument is accessible to visitors. More information about the parish of St Adalbert is available on the following website: two www.swietywojciech.archpoznan.pl (access date: 7-11-2014)

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

Bibliography

  • Atlas architektury Poznania, Poznań 2008, s. 326.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t VII: Miasto Poznań, cz. II: Śródmieście, kościoły i klasztory, 2, red. Kurzawa Z., Kusztelski A., Warszawa 2002, s. 72-93.
  • Kurzawa Z., Kusztelski A., Kościół św. Wojciecha w Poznaniu, Poznań 2003.
  • Kusztelski A., O architekturze kościoła św. Wojciecha raz jeszcze, „Kronika Miasta Poznania” 2012, nr 4, s. 63-75.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: XV w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wzgórze św. Wojciecha 1, Poznań
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district Poznań, commune Poznań
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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