The complex of the church of St Joseph, the Betrothed of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Puławy
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The complex of the church of St Joseph, the Betrothed of the Blessed Virgin Mary



Built in the first quarter of the 18th century, the church is one of the few existing Late Baroque central-plan churches with a cubical main body featuring a hidden transept within. The church, funded by Elżbieta Sieniawska, is linked with the period of the few decades during which the Czartoryski family maintained their presence - and their family manor house - in Puławy, the surviving evidence of this being the austere interior fittings, including mostly the altarpiece paintings depicting the daughters of the Czartoryski family as saints as well as the commemorative plaques which duchess Izabela Czartoryska had embedded inside a series of niches in the cemetery wall.


From the 15th century onwards, a filial chapel of the Jaroszyn parish has existed in the village of Włostowice. In 1635, a priest was allocated to the newly erected, wooden church on a permanent basis. The parish was established in 1661, gaining independence in 1676. In the second half of the 17th century, a brick chapel or chancel were built alongside the existing church. The old church was partially destroyed in 1706. In the years 1726-1728, a new, brick parish church was erected on the basis of the design prepared by Franz Anton Mayer (1725), with the funds for its construction being provided by Elżbieta Sieniawska, the erstwhile owner of the surrounding land. The brick sections of the older church were incorporated into the structure of the new edifice. The rather austere interior fixtures and fittings included an ensemble of trompe l’œil altarpieces. In the 1780s, a porch was added in front of the main entrance. In years 1791 - 1807, the groin vaults of the nave, which were already showing signs of cracking, were replaced with a false ceiling made of plastered wooden boards, with the roof truss and cladding being replaced as well. The interiors of the church were now graced by new fittings, funded by the Czartoryski family (1801). The church was consecrated in 1828. Somewhere around the year 1900, the old altarpieces were replaced with brick ones which survive to this day. In 1962, a ferro-concrete pulpit and choir gallery were added. The church underwent restoration in years 1879, 1928, 1975, 1987 as well as around the year 2000.


The church is not an oriented structure. The chancel of the church faces the south, while the entire building is surrounded by a small cemetery circumscribed by a wall the eastern side of which leads along the road from Puławy towards Kazimierz (currently known as Włostowicka street). A belfry designed on a rectangular floor plan rises in the south-eastern corner of the cemetery, while a small, rectangular mortuary can be seen in the south-western corner. A depression on the western side of the wall, currently serving as a car park, is a relic of the old river-bed of the Vistula river.

The church is a brick building designed in the Late Baroque style, built on a square floor plan incorporating a Greek cross interior layout with four supporting pillars, the walls forming the arms of the cross opening up in a series of arcades on two sides of the church towards the chapels in the corners, designed on a square floor plan and featuring lower galleries positioned directly above. The height of the chancel and the main body remain equal, with the main body being twice as long and wide as the chancel. On the eastern side of the chancel lies a low, rectangular sacristy with a staircase positioned above, leading up into the gallery in the corner, alongside the main body; a similar outer staircase is also found in a square-shaped annex adjoining the south-western corner of the main body. The third staircase, leading into the pipe organ gallery and the two northern galleries, is located inside the front façade wall, with an entrance in the porch. The Greek cross-shaped section along with the arms of the cross and the chancel are covered with a false surbased groin vault which flows into barrel vaults inside the arms of the cross; the corner chapels and the galleries feature brick groin vaults.

The interior walls are articulated with simplified Doric pilasters, some of which are superimposed on the pillars supporting the crossing, while others can be seen at the ends of the transverse bays. A full entablature rises above the pilasters, which are connected by means of a cornice positioned within the intercolumniation, interrupted on the end walls of the arms of the cruciform floor plan as well as in the chancel. The chapel arcades feature semi-circular arches; low gallery arcades with segmental arches can be seen directly above, their lower sections being obscured by a parapet wall. The pipe organ gallery rests upon an arcade made up of basket-handle arches, featuring a simple parapet wall decorated with a trio of panels, projecting ahead of the back pair of the pillars supporting the crossing.

The front façade features concave corners designed in a pseudo-pilaster form and is partitioned by two pairs of faux pilasters; on its main axis rises a shallow, slightly wider pseudo-avant-corps preceded by a low porch with an entrance positioned on the axis. The window of the pipe organ gallery can be seen above the porch. Above the pseudo-avant-corps roses a gable in the form of a flat aedicula with a niche in the centre, ending with a curving cornice which forms the shape of a basket-handle arch and flanked by wide volute-shaped copings. The façades of the main body and the chancel are partitioned by faux pilasters; the side façades of the main body follow a three-axial design, with a large window in the middle section of the intercolumniation. The roofs of the main body and the chancel are clad with sheet metal and consist of three planes each. Above the main body rises a steeple in the form of an octagonal lantern.

The fixtures and fittings include an ensemble of brick altarpieces (1900) designed in the Late Baroque style and incorporating paintings dating back to the early 19th century. Gothic Revival figurines of apostles from the palace chapel can be admired on the pilasters, while a stone figure believed to portray a saint, dating back to the first half of the 18th century, stands inside the porch.

The belfry is a single-storey brick structure in the form of a four-sided pillared arcade, its corners adorned with pilasters, covered with a tented roof clad with sheet metal. The mortuary is a brick structure designed on an elongated rectangular floor plan.

The wall surrounding the church features a series of niches in its inner surface, topped with segmental arches and incorporating embedded stone plaques containing various inscriptions. The gateway positioned on the axis of the entrance into the church follows a three-axial layout.

The site can be viewed from the outside.

compiled by Roman Zwierzchowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Lublin, 07-11-2014.


  • Jaroszewski , Kowalczyk j., Artyści w Puławach w XVIII w. w świetle ksiąg parafialnych “Biuletyn Historii Sztuki” …
  • Bohdziewicz P., Korespondencja artystyczna Elżbiety Sieniawskiej z l.
  • Szczypa J., Monografia parafii św. Józefa w Puławach-Włostowicach w latach 1676-1990, “Studia Puławskie 1992, series A, Vol. 4/6
  • Zwierzchowski R., Działalność Elżbiety Sieniawskiej na Lubelszczyźnie. Realizacje i fundacje, in: Studia nad sztuką renesansu i baroku Vol. VI, Fundator i dzieło w sztuce nowożytnej, J. Lileyko, I. Rolska-Boruch (eds.), Lublin 2005, pp. 93-141

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1726-1728
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Puławy
  • Location: Voivodeship lubelskie, district puławski, commune Puławy (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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