Parish Church of St Michael Archangel, Rudziniec
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Parish Church of St Michael Archangel

Rudziniec

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A representative example of an early modern parish church, its characteristic features being its preserved original form and layout, typical of the traditional, Roman Catholic churches built in Silesia for centuries. A truly exceptional feature is the perfectly preserved cycle of wall paintings dating back to 1657, forming an expression of the prevailing tendencies in Counter-Reformation ideology of the period, combined, oddly enough, with Protestant influences stemming from the views held by the founder of the church.

History

The first written mention of a parish church in Rudziniec dates back to 1447. The existing church was erected in 1657 as a filial church of the Roman Catholic parish in Rudno, with the funds for its construction being provided by Wenzel von Pelka, the erstwhile owner of the village and a member of the Protestant community. This conclusion as to the age of the church is proved by the preserved inscription containing the relevant date, forming part of the painted decorations beneath the chancel window, as well as by the coat of arms of the Pelka family positioned underneath the patrons’ gallery. All of the painted decorations gracing the church interior also originates from the very same period. In 1853, a new tower was erected, replacing the previous structure, first mentioned in 1679. In 1936, a small western porch was added to the tower, while in 1872 the church received a new brick wall base. Renovation works were carried out in 1910 and 1936. In 1945, the building attained the status of a parish church.

Description

The church, oriented towards the east, is situated in the middle part of Rudziniec, east of the palace park, at the intersection of Lipowa and Polna streets; it is surrounded by a small cemetery, still in active use today and circumscribed by a wooden fence topped with a gable rooflet. The church is a wooden log structure with brick foundations, added at a later date, with the tower featuring a post-and-beam structure. The floor plan consists of a nave designed on a square plan, a narrower chancel with a semi-hexagonal end section, adjoined by a rectangular sacristy on the northern side, as well as a tower designed on a square floor plan, its western wall adjoined by a rectangular porch. The compact shape of the church is characterised by the presence of a distinct nave and chancel, with both of these sections of the structure being covered with separate gable roofs of different heights. The dominant feature of the building’s silhouette is the stout tower adjoining the nave, featuring slightly tapering walls and topped with a pyramid hipped roof. The nave and the chancel are surrounded by cloister-like walkways covered with mono-pitched roofs supported by rafter tails. The roofs are covered with wood shingles. The upper parts of the walls of the chancel and the nave as well as the entire tower, sacristy and porch are clad with weatherboards, while the walls of the nave and the chancel below the skirt roof of the cloister-like walkway feature an exposed log structure. Isolated, rectangular windows can be seen above the walkway. The chancel and the nave are separated by a chancel arch wall with a rectangular aperture. The chancel features a false barrel vault based on the use of segmental arches and adorned with stencilled decorations, while the nave comes equipped with a flat ceiling with similar painted ornaments. A beamed ceiling is used for the sacristy. A wooden planked doorway leading into the sacristy, topped with a segmental arch, is located in the northern wall of the chancel. A wooden organ gallery can be seen in the western part of the nave; it is supported by six profiled posts and features a rectangular projecting middle section, its edges secured by means of a planked, polychromed parapet. The passage from the porch, leading beneath the tower, is graced by a 17-th century wooden portal topped with a segmental arch with a woodcarved roll-moulding on the middle axis, with the door itself being adorned with wrought iron fittings.

The interiors of the chancel and the nave are graced by Baroque wall paintings from the mid-17th century. The chancel decorations, arranged in two rows, consist of several scenes of the Passion of Christ: the Last Supper, Gethsemane, Flagellation, the Mockery of Christ, Jesus Falling under His Cross, the Crucifixion, the Lamentation of Christ, the Resurrection and the Holy Trinity as well as portrayals of St Paul, St Helen, the Virgin and Child with St Anne, St Agnes, St Hedwig of Silesia and St Catherine of Alexandria. A monumental Judgement Day scene incorporating the portrayal of the founder of the church, W. Pelka, can be admired on the northern wall of the nave, while the southern wall is adorned with the painting of the Birth of Jesus and God the Father with His Angels and the Holy Spirit. An image of St Joseph with Child Jesus graces the eastern corner, while a painted visage of St Jerome can be seen on the western wall. The wooden parapet of the organ gallery is adorned with images of Christ and his Apostles. Notable period fixtures and fittings, designed predominantly in the Baroque style, include the main altarpiece incorporating the 18th-century painting of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Michael the Archangel, positioned at the top of the altarpiece, as well as the left altarpiece from 1730, adorned with an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Częstochowa. The right altarpiece, dating back to 1723, features a Pietà motif. Another notable item is the pulpit, dating back to ca. 1725.

Limited access. The church is open to visitors directly before and after church service.

compiled by Agnieszka Olczyk, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Katowice, 20-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Gorzelik J., Rezydencja - klasztor - miasto. Sztuka Górnego Śląska wobec trydenckiej konfesjonalizacji, Gliwice 2014, pp. 304-306.
  • Architectural monument record sheet. Kościół parafialny p.w. Michała Archanioła [w Rudzińcu] (Parish church of St Michael the Archangel in Rudziniec), prepared by E. Caban, 1996, Archive of the National Heritage Board of Poland.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, Vol. VI, woj. katowickie, issue 5: Powiat gliwicki, ed. I. Rejduch-Samkowa, J. Samek, Warsaw 1974, pp. 71-73.
  • Kloss E., Die Bau- und Kunstdenkmäler des Kreises Tost-Gleiwitz, Breslau 1943, pp. 180-184.
  • Matuszczak J., Kościoły drewniane na Śląsku, Wrocław 1975.
  • Rudziniec. Kościół parafialny pw. św. Michała Archanioła, prepared by B. Kubit, Gliwice Museum (brochure X GDDK 2012).
  • Zabytki Sztuki w Polsce. Śląsk, S. Brzezicki, C. Nielsen (eds.), Warsaw 2006, pp. 752.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1657 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Lipowa 44, Rudziniec
  • Location: Voivodeship śląskie, district gliwicki, commune Rudziniec
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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