Dominican monastery complex of St. James the Apostle, Sandomierz
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Dominican monastery complex of St. James the Apostle

Sandomierz

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The church with the Dominican Monastery in Sandomierz is one of the most interesting and best preserved early Dominican buildings in this part of Europe. Attention is paid primarily to the magnificent perspective bipartite northern portal, despite the fact that the design of decorations is unique in Poland because of the abundant use of the ceramic decorating technique.

History

Dominicans were brought to Sandomierz by the efforts of Iwo Odrowąż, Bishop of Kraków, in 1226. The friars started construction work, perhaps using a somewhat older building, which was carried out with breaks until the end of the 13th century, which was caused by the Mongol invasions in 1240 and at the turn of 1259/1260. The invaders slaughtered all the Dominicans with the then convent prior, Sadok, but soon afterwards, their place was taken by Dominicans from other convents that arrived in Sandomierz. In the early 17th century, through the efforts of Teofil Szemberk from Reichenbach, the complex was extended by adding a chapel, later called the Chapel of the Martyrs of Sandomierz. The times of relative peace and prosperity were interrupted in 1657, when Prince of Transylvania George II Rákóczi with Swedish King Charles X Gustav invaded and robbed Sandomierz, also the Dominican monastery. They killed old Father Augustyn Rogala, the other friars fled and returned only a dozen days after these events. Soon afterwards, the Dominicans began rebuilding the church in the Baroque style, which was the result of the successful efforts of Suffragan of Kraków, Bishop Mikołaj Oborski in 1677. The tsarist decree of November 1864 put an end to the activities of Dominicans in Sandomierz and dissolved most of their establishments. The former Dominican church was taken over by diocesan priests, and Father Ludwik Piotrowicz, who administered the former Dominican church in 1875-1905, took actions to secure and renovate the church, while a large part of the monastery buildings were occupied by various institutions. The fire of the church in 1905 destroyed the altar and a considerable part of the interior, forced to undertake major conservation and restoration works, which were conducted by Father Józef Rokoszny. Under the supervision of architect Jarosław Wojciechowski and the Society for the Care of Monuments of the Past, it was decided to restore the original appearance of the church, while preserving the brick façades. The works were completed in 1909, a year later the Rosary Chapel decorated according to the designs by Karol Frycz was consecrated. In 2001, Dominicans returned to the church.

Description

The Church of St. James the Apostle along with the former Dominican monastery is situated on one of the hills of Sandomierz, known as the St. James' Hill or Old Town Hill. It is a late Romanesque three-nave church with a simply closed chancel and a belfry added to the north-west. The northern façade is pierced by the main entrance to the church, magnificent northern portal with a passage covered with a trefoil, located in a lavishly profiled arcade topped with a semicircular arch. The top section of the northern façade of the nave body is also ornamented with a wide frieze with interlaced motifs; an interlacing frieze also runs along the lower parts of the nave body and chancel. The windows of the northern nave are surmounted by friezes running along lintels. To the south, the church was extended with the addition of a monastery complex, of which only one eastern wing with relics of Romanesque ornamentation in the form of plates characterised by interlacing decorations has survived to this day. The Chapel of St. Hyacinth located to the west was created by converting part of the western and most recently constructed monastery wing on the site occupied by the cell of the Dominican saint, according to tradition. The present appearance of the interior is largely a result of the church restoration in 1905-1907. The five-bay body is partitioned with a row of pointed-arch arcades resting on square pillars. The barrel vaults preserved in the chancel from 1624-1631 are characterised by stucco decorations. The chancel features the wooden sarcophagus of Adelaide who founded the pre-Dominican church according to tradition. The northern nave was extended by adding the Chapel of the Szemberk family, called the Chapel of the Dominican Martyrs, with the interior decorated with stuccowork created around 1642 through the efforts of the son of the chapel’s founder, Jacek. The southern nave of the church adjoins a chapel devoted to the famous painting of Our Lady of the Rosary from the first half of the 17th century, separated from the nave with an Art Nouveau grillwork; the chapel was fitted and decorated according to designs by Karol Frycz, an outstanding interior decorator from Kraków, in the Art Nouveau style. The portal from the cloister to the church was designed in the early Gothic style and built of brick and stone in the mid-13th century; it is characterised by its three-stepped structure with a pair of little columns and pointed-arch archivolts. The southern part of the east wing features the original interesting basement with a vault supported by the central pillar.

No visitor access to the monastery building. The church is open to the public during the opening hours.

compiled by Jerzy Zub, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Kielce, 14-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Łuszczkiewicz W., Kościół Św. Jakuba w Sandomierzu, (in:) Sprawozdania Komisyi Historyi Sztuki w Polsce, vol. II, 1881, pp. 27-52.
  • Wojciechowski J., Kościół św. Jakuba w Sandomierzu, (in:) Przegląd Techniczny, XLVIII, no. 16, 1910, pp. 207-10.
  • Sztuka polska przedromańska i romańska do schyłku XIII wieku, Walicki M. (ed.), Warsaw 1971
  • Gołubiewowa Z., Kościół dominikański p. w. św. Jakuba w Sandomierzu w XIII stuleciu i jego dekoracja architektoniczna, (in:) Studia nad historią dominikanów w Polsce 1222 - 1972, vol. II, Warsaw 1975, pp. 9-196.
  • Makarewicz S., Wypisy źródłowe do dziejów kultury artystycznej dominikanów sandomierskich w XVIII w., (in:) Studia Sandomierskie, vol. III, Sandomierz 1982, pp. 493-513.
  • Polanowski L., Zub J., Architektura klasztoru dominikanów sandomierskich w świetle ostatnich badań historycznych i archeologicznych, (in:) Materiały i Sprawozdania Rzeszowskiego Ośrodka Archeologicznego za lata 1991 - 1992, Rzeszów 1993, pp. 95-110.
  • Florek M., Kościół św. Jakuba i dawny klasztor dominikanów w Sandomierzu. Wyniki badań archeologiczno-architektonicznych (in:) Kwartalnik Historii Kultury Materialnej, R. XLII, no. 1, Warsaw 1994, pp. 3-25
  • Świechowski Z., Architektura romańska w Polsce, Warsaw 2000
  • Kurzej M., Siedemnastowieczne sztukaterie w Małopolsce, Kraków 2012

General information

  • Type: monastery
  • Chronology: 2. ćw. XIII w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Staromiejska 3, Sandomierz
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district sandomierski, commune Sandomierz
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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