Parish church of the St. Peter and Paul in Reszel, Reszel
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish church of the St. Peter and Paul in Reszel



A typical example of a Gothic hall church from the Warmia region


Construction of the church in Reszel was started ca. in 1370. As part of the first stage, peripheral walls of the body, which was initially covered with a ceiling, and a sacristy, pillars between naves, and the lower storey of the tower, were built. Following the damages from fire in 1475, reconstruction was started, which lasted until the early 16th century. During that period, the eastern gable was built, as well as gablets of the sacristy and southern porch and also the existing stellar vault. In the late 15th century, the tower was extended upwards, and its façade was decorated with rows of double and triple pointed arch blind windows. In 1806, another fire destroyed the roof of the building and the interior fittings, but vaults over naves survived. The reconstruction was supervised by Joachim Sadroziński, and included, among other things, construction of the current tower dome (1837). New fittings were executed by sculptors from Reszel, Wilhelm and Karol Biereichel, whose works are reminiscent in stale of Baroque workshops of the Warmia region with some features of the then classicism and empire. The church was classified in literature to the group of so-called hall churches of Warmia (Braniewo, Olsztyn, Dobre Miasto, Barczewo, Lidzbark Warmiński, Jeziorany), characterised by a three-nave hall layout without chancel, with a monumental tower from the west. The profile of the eastern gable and the tower was most commonly associated with the parish church of Sępopol), while stellar vaults — with the churches of Braniewo and Orneta).


The church is located to the south – east from the market, by the town walls. It is a Gothic, oriented building made of brick arranged in a Gothic (Polish) pattern, on a rectangular floor plan, with a square tower from the east, covered by a hip roof topped with a dome featuring an octagonal gallery. In the south-western corner, there is a round staircase. The body is constituted by a three-nave five-bay hall, covered by a gable roof, with a porch adjoining it from the south and a two-storey annex with sacristy on the ground floor; another annex adjoins the church on the axis of the middle nave — it is covered by a shed roof. The naves are defined by four pairs of octagonal pillars connected with profiled arcades supporting a multi-stellar vault. The vaults over the two-bay sacristy and in the porch under the tower are of stellar type, the northern porch features stellar eight-point vaults, and the gallery over the sacristy — a stellar vault with five supports. From the outside the church's body is accentuated with buttresses, of which two corner ones are topped with pinnacles. The eastern gable is stepped, with decorative finish in three sections with tracery and lesenes changing into pinnacles. It is separated by an arcaded frieze and painted. The gablets of the sacristy with tracery comprised of tho sections, feature a round blind window from the east, and decorative finish from the west. The gable of the northern porch with an angled lesene and blind windows. Western gablets are stepped and feature pinnacles.

The interior fittings include Rococo confessionals from 1758 (Jan Christian Schmidt), main altar from 1822, founded by bishop Joseph von Hohenzollern (Wilhelm Biereichel) with paintings of St. Peter and Paul and Catherine (Antoni Blank from Warsaw). Four side altars (Karol Ludwik Biereichel) from 1844 feature Rococo sculptures of St. Dominic, Catherine, Zachary, and Simon from 1771 (B. Schmiedt). Moreover, the following painting scenes survived from the Baroque era: Adoration of the Magi, Holy Trinity, Birth of Christ, and figures of St. Simon, Nicolas, Joseph, Valentine, and reliquaries and tin candle holders. The ambo and choir gallery originate from 1830 (Wilhelm Bereichel). A particularly interesting feature is the pipe organ casing with features of empire classicism, from 1841 (Ludwik Biereichel, Karol Jaroszewicz).

The historical building is open to visitors. It may be visited upon prior telephone appointment.

Compiled by Maurycy Domino, 4.12.2014.


  • Boetticher A., Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler der Provinz Ostpreussen, H. IV. Ermland, Koenigsberg 1894, s. 217-220.
  • Dzieje sztuki polskiej, tom drugi: Architektura gotycka w Polsce, pod red. Teresy Mroczko i Mariana Arszyńskiego: t. II Katalog Zabytków, pod red. Andrzeja Włodarka, Warszawa 1995, s. 200, 503.
  • Łoziński J., Pomniki sztuki w Polsce, t. II, Warszawa 1992, s. 457.
  • Przewodnik po zabytkowych kościołach południowej Warmii, [b.aut.] Olsztyn 1973, s. 81- 87.
  • Rzempołuch A., Przewodnik po zabytkach sztuki dawnych Prus Wschodnich, Olsztyn 1992, s. 18-19.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1370
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Reszel
  • Location: Voivodeship warmińsko-mazurskie, district kętrzyński, commune Reszel - miasto
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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