Parish Church of St Wenceslaus, Radom
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Parish Church of St Wenceslaus

Radom

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The Church of St Wenceslaus is the oldest preserved church in Radom, inextricably connected with the history of the town. The feature has significant artistic value; it is an example of Gothic sacred architecture.

History

The wooden church was erected in the 13th century and it quickly became the first parish church in Radom. Leszek the White and Bolesław the Chaste are associated with the construction of the building, as they might have been its founders. In the late 13th century, a brick church was built in the place of the wooden one. It was extended first in the 15th, and then in the 16th century.

Together with the fall of the First Republic of Poland, the parish was liquidated and the building was taken over by Austrians and served them as a storehouse. During the period of the Duchy of Warsaw, the building was partly altered and used as a storehouse as well. Further alterations were made in the mid-19th century, when the building was converted into a prison by Russian authorities. In the interwar period, it housed an epidemic hospital and a homeless shelter.

After World War II, it served as the psychiatric department of the town hospital. In 1965, the building became the branch of archaeology of the Regional Museum and an excavation site of the Institute of Material Culture of the Polish Academy of Sciences. In 1978, it was handed over, under a perpetual usufruct, to the diocesan curia. In 1979-1985, the building underwent restoration of its Gothic style under the conservation guidance of Professor Wiktor Zin. The first Mass in the renovated church was held on June 9, 1985, after almost a two-hundred-year break. Bishop Edward Materski re-established the parish to the church of St Wenceslaus on September 11, 1992.

Description

The church is located on the old town hill, which is the oldest district of the town.

Originally, it was a single-nave building, which currently constitutes the chancel, sized 9 x 15 m. Five pointed-arch window openings and three buttresses have survived from that period. In the 14th century, a nave sized 10.5 x 15.5 m, not symmetrical to the chancel, was added. It was built along the face of the wall on the southern side, and projecting by 1.5 m to the outside on the northern side. The nave had six buttresses and pointed-arch windows between them. In the 16th century, the western wall of the main nave was reconstructed and decorated with Renaissance decoration in the form of a strip of niches and hearts, unique on the national scale. At the same time, a sacristy and a small treasury were added to the north, and a porch was added to the south.

The restoration of the building in the second half of the 20th century and restoring its original sacred function involved tremendous amount of conservation work. Currently, it is a style building with a gable roof and a neo-Gothic turret with a steeple. The single-space interior was restored. A groin vault was built in the nave, and a beamed ceiling in the chancel.

Professor Wiktor Zin was the designer of the contemporary interior décor. Stained glass windows with religious and patriotic motifs from Paczek brothers’ workshop in Cracow are among its main highlights. They refer to the history of Poland, from the Piast period to the 20th century. They depict St Wenceslaus, Tadeusz Rejtan, cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, and John Paul II, among others.

The iron door to the treasury made in 1564 by Piotr Prażna from Klwów preserved as an element of the former fittings (now it is replaced by a copy; the original door is part of the collection of the Jacek Malczewski Museum in Radom). In the chancel, there is also a headstone that dates back to the 13th century. It is probably a gravestone of an unknown knight, with a relief representing a sword and a mace.

In the northern outside niche of the church wall there is a Romanesque plaque, which was a basis for the dating of the church.

The church can be viewed from the outside; inside, it can be viewed outside the hours of religious services.

compiled by Bartłomiej Modrzewski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Warszawa, 19-11-2015.

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, t. III,Województwo kieleckie, red. J. Z. Łoziński, B. Wolff, z. 10. Powiat radomski, inwent. K. Szczepkowska, E. Krygier, J. Z. Łoziński, Warszawa 1961.
  • E. Kutyła, Najstarsze radomskie kościoły. Informator turystyczny, Radom 2012.
  • Urbanistyka i architektura Radomia, red. W. Kalinowski, Lublin 1979.
  • Z. Wójcik, Radom średniowieczny. Spacer Wzgórze Piotrówka oraz kościół św. Wacława. Część I. Wycieczka z dnia 5 maja 2015r., http://telezbyszek44.pl/Radom--cz-1---Wzg%C3%B3rze-Piotr%C3%B3wka-z-dawnym-grodem-i-ko%C5%9Bci%C3%B3%C5%82-%C5%9Bw-Wac%C5%82awa.php, dostęp 19 listopada 2015.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: XIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Plac Stare Miasto 13, Radom
  • Location: Voivodeship mazowieckie, district Radom, commune Radom
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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