Parish church, currently auxiliary church of St Margaret the Virgin and Martyr, Poznań
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Parish church, currently auxiliary church of St Margaret the Virgin and Martyr

Poznań

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The current church of St Margaret, originally wooden, and made of brick at a later time, was initially used as a parish church of Śródka - a settlement, and since 1231 - a municipal centre on the right bank of the Warta river, incorporated into Poznań in 1800. Its history is associated with the presence of the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in Śródka in the years 1671-1805 and the existence of its seat, which has survived until today. The church is a Late Gothic building, with interesting, Late Baroque and Rococo fittings and fixtures. The composition of the stellar vault of the nave and the chancel, without any direct counterparts, is worth particular attention. On the façade of the chapel of St Barbara, there is a surviving fragment of the original sgraffito.

History

The oldest mention confirmed by the sources about the existence of a church of St Margaret in Śródka comes from 1231 and is associated with the accommodation of the Dominican order in it, and the transformation of the earlier trade settlement into a municipal centre (in 1800, the centre was incorporated into Poznań). Originally, the church was probably made of wood. In 1288 Śródka, together with the church, was donated to the bishops of Poznań. The brick building was probably erected in the second half or in the last quarter of the 15th century. In the first quarter of the 16th century, the church was covered with vaults, and a gable of the western façade was built. It was probably then when the northern chapel of St Barbara with Gothic walls was erected. The date of construction of the tower adjacent to it is not known, but the tower is probably younger and it could have been built before 1539, when the bell was founded. In approx. mid- 17th century, chapel of St Philip Neri was constructed, and in 1652, the parish priest, Stanisław Grudowicz, founded the altar of the patron saint contained in it and started efforts to create an Oratory congregation in Śródka.

In the years 1655-1657, the church was burned down by the Swedish army, and year later, its reconstruction commenced. At that time, the chapel of St Barbara was converted.

In 1665, the Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri was established to which, in 1671, the church of St Margaret was transferred. On that occasion, in 1674, the bell, which has survived until today, was founded.

In the years 1723-1750, at the initiative of the congregation, the modernisation of the church's interior in the Late Baroque style was commenced, which ended before 1779. At that time, the tower was topped with Baroque tented roof which has not survived, and in the years 1747-1777, on the north-western side of the church, the monastery house of the congregation was built. In 1786, the area with a cemetery surrounding the church was circumscribed by a wall, in which a gate was placed on the south-west.

In 1805, the Oratory congregation was disbanded, and its church was handed over, as an auxiliary church, to the arch-cathedral parish.

In the 19th century, the Baroque tented roof topping the tower was replaced by a flat roof. As a result, the tower became lower than the church's gable. On the tower’s sides, low annexes were added, housing side porches. In the years 1904-1908, restoration works were carried out under the direction of architect Roger Sławski, which later covered also the main portal and the church's interior.

After the outbreak of World War II, the church was transformed into a book storehouse. In the years 1947-1948, it underwent renovation and conservation works, which included, among other things, adding of painted decorations on vault cells. Also, Gothic consecration crosses on the walls were uncovered, and the tower of the church was covered with a roof. Apart from that, an additional entrance from the sacristy to the church and from a side porch to the music choir were made.

In the early 1970s, plaster covering façades of the church was removed, and the lower section of the façade of the chapel of St Philip Neri was clad with field stone. Further works were carried out inside, where plaster covering the walls of the chancel was stripped down.

Description

The church of St Margaret is located on the right bank of the Warta river, in the part of the city called Śródka which had initially been a trade settlement, and was then transformed into a municipal centre, incorporated 1800 into Poznań. It is situated in the middle of a market square which has retained its original shape until today, modified only slightly on the southern side, which was reduced, in the 1960s, as a result of the construction of the two-lane Wyszyńskiego Street.

The church is Late Gothic in style, single-nave, oriented, build on an elongated rectangle floor plan, with a chancel terminating in a semi-hexagon, not separated from the cuboid body of the chancel. The church is made of brick laid in a Gothic bond. The building is not plastered. It is covered with a high roof, of gable type over the nave and of three-sloped type over the chancel, clad with roof tiles.

The façades of the church are embraced by single-step buttresses, visible at present in the chancel section, and in the northern and southern façade incorporated in the walls of the added chapels. High windows of the body, originally with pointed arches, currently - as a result of a later conversion - end with a basket-handle arch. The western façade is topped with a high stepped gable, articulated with seven plastered blind windows.

Probably in the first quarter of the 16th century, a tower on a square floor plan was added to the front façade. The tower is made of brick, not plastered, and it is reinforced in the corners with two-step buttresses. It is currently covered with a flat roof with a three-step, pointed-arch portal on the axis. From the north and south, it is adjoined by two brick, plastered porches covered with shed roofs clad with roof tiles. The porches were added in the 19th century.

From the south, the church's body is adjoined by the chapel of St Philip Neri, erected from brick approx. in mid-17th century on a rectangular floor plan, plastered, and covered with a gable roof with a Baroque, stepped gable. From the north, there is the chapel of St Barbara on that axis, originally Gothic in style and converted in the late 1750s, built of brick on a floor plan resembling a square, and plastered, and - just as the chapel of St Philip Neri, covered with a gable roof with a Baroque gable from the same period. On its eastern wall, there is a surviving authentic fragment of sgraffito decoration, the oldest in Poznań. From the east, it is adjoined by a sacristy originating from before the 17th century, converted in the second quarter of the 18th century and plastered in the second half of that century, covered with a säteri roof.

The single-nave interior of the church has a three-bay layout in the nave section, which is closed from the east by a single-bay chancel. It is covered with a Late Gothic stellar vault resting on engaged columns to which Late Baroque pilasters with composite capitals were added in the second quarter of the 18th century.

The church's décor comes from the period in which it was provided with Baroque features at the initiative of Oratorians in the years 1723-approx. 1779. The most interesting elements include: main altar with the painting of the Assumption of the BVM, flanked with sculptures of archangels Michael and Raphael; two side altars resting on the piers near the chancel; a pulpit at the second northern pier; and a baptismal font at the corresponding southern pier, decorated with Regency-Rococo ornaments (including characteristic Regency wall motifs); pictures showing Blessed Virgin Mary on a crescent, surrounded by angels, from the early 17th century, in the chancel, Blessed Virgin Mary among angels playing music from approx. 1630, in the chapel of St Barbara; and burial portraits, currently in the collections of the Archdiocese Museum in Poznań. In the tower, there is a bell from 1674.

The church is surrounded by a brick, plastered wall from approx. 1786, with a gate whose opening features in its top section a basket-handle arch. The opening is embraced by pairs of pilasters with a triangular pediment topped with a cross. It is adjoined from the north by a lower wicket gate.

The monument is accessible to visitors. The church of St Margaret is an auxiliary church of the Poznań Cathedral. More information can be found at www.katedra.archpoznan.pl (access date: 31-10-2014).

compiled by Anna Dyszkant, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 31-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Atlas architektury Poznania, Poznań 2008, s. 261.
  • 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.129-134.
  • Krzyślak B., Architektura kościoła św. Małgorzaty na Śródce, „Kronika Miasta Poznania” 1997, nr 1, s. 100-120.
  • Krzyślak B., Kurzawa Z., Kościół św. Małgorzaty na Śródce w Poznaniu, Poznań 2009.
  • Kurzawa Z., Filipińskie wyposażenie kościoła św. Małgorzaty, „Kronika Miasta Poznania” 1997, nr 1, s. 81-99.
  • Rogaliński J., Wizytacja kościoła parafialnego św. Małgorzaty w mieście Śródka, „Kronika Miasta Poznania” 1997, nr 1, s. 56-80.

General information

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

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