Parish Church of St Hedwig, Siekierki Wielkie
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Parish Church of St Hedwig

Siekierki Wielkie

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The church is a valuable example of wooden ecclesiastical architecture, typical for Greater Poland. It is one of the few churches which still have original, colourful, Late-Baroque ceiling paintings from the 3rd quarter of the 18th century and fittings from the late 18th and early 19th century. There is a wooden bell tower next to the church. The complex represents architectural and spatial features typical for the rural landscape of Greater Poland.

History

A local parish in Siekierki Wielkie, which emerged from the Kostrzyń Parish, was mentioned in written records for the first time in 1391. The parish covered the following villages: Siekierki Wielkie, Siekierki Małe, Tomaszki, Rabowice, and Sułowo. The first church in the village was located approx. 1 km to the south of the present village, in a place which was referred to as “Tomaszki” at that time and is called Grabina at present. Legend has it that that the new church building was erected on the site where Saint Hedwig, Duchess of Silesia and the patron saint of the Polish Kingdom, appeared above a dog-rose shrub. In 1638, the village belonged to Jesuits from Poznań. They founded a new church, made of larch wood, with Baroque fittings. It was built in the years 1759-1760. The church interior was renovated in 1958. Full-scale renovations were carried out in 1980. The works included the conservation of the walls on the outside, replacement of the missing wood shingles on the roof, installation of a new floor, restoration of the ceiling paintings in the nave, restoration of the original appearance of the side altars, and the conservation of: a 16th-century crucifix, a 17th-century painting of the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, a Renaissance founder’s pew from the 16th century (with reliefs depicting the Rawicz, Prawdzic, Wczele, and Łodzia coats of arms), and the main altar with a painting of St Hedwig. In 1970, a roofed annex, open to the outside, was added on the west side.

The graveyard used to contain a tomb of the Radoński family, which was converted into a shelter during World War II; it was seriously damaged and consequently dismantled. In 1992, owing to the efforts of the contemporary parish-priest, the tomb of the Radońskis and the Wilkońskis were reconstructed, however, in a new form — at the moment, they also serve as a funeral chapel. The ashes of August Wilkoński (who died in 1852), a man of letters and satirist, the author of Ramoty i ramotki literackie, and of his wife, Paulina Wilkoński, a 19th-century writer, were placed in the chapel.

Description

The Church of St Hedwig is situated at a fork in a road. It is surrounded by a graveyard and enclosed with a low stone wall with a brick main gate. Beside the gate, there is a wooden bell tower.

The church is oriented towards the east. It has a rectangular floor plan. The chancel, narrower than the nave, terminates in a semi-hexagon. The nave is adjoined by a porch on the south side and a tall square tower with a porch at the ground floor level on the west side. A small sacristy adjoins the north wall of the chancel.

The main body of the church is covered with a gable roof; the chancel has a multi-pitched roof. The dominant element of the building is the tall tower, crowned with an onion-shaped, sheet-metal roof with a lantern. All roofs are covered with wood shingles, with the exception of a small steeple set atop the roof ridge, which is covered with sheet metal.

The building has a log structure made of larch wood. The tower has a post-and-beam structure. The walls are covered with vertically-positioned weatherboards. The segmental-arched windows are framed by profiled surrounds. The door to the porch also has profiled surrounds.

The church has one nave (with no aisles), covered with a flat ceiling with rounded corners. Between the nave and the chancel, there is a rood arch decorated with volutes. On the west side, there is a pipe organ gallery supported by four posts and enclosed with a parapet which bulges out in the centre. The nave ceiling is embellished with the original, colourful, Late-Baroque paintings executed in c. 1761 by the friar Stanisław Sienicki, depicting the patron saint of the church among clouds, surrounded by angels and the Four Evangelists.

The church is open to visitors. More information is available on the website of the Poznań Archdiocese: www.archpoznan.pl

compiled by Radomiła Banach, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznan, 21-10-2015.

Bibliography

  • J. Łukaszewicz, Krótki opis historyczny kościołów parochialnych w dawnej diecezji poznańskiej, Poznań 1858, t.I, s.395-6.
  • Drewniane kościoły w Wielkopolsce, koncepcja, teksty i wybór fotografii P. Maluśkiewicz, Poznań 2004, s. 227.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, t. V, z. 24: powiat średzki, Warszawa 1964, s.19-20.
  • J. Paszenda SJ, O czterech malarzach epoki baroku, BHS XXXV, 1973, nr 2, s.174

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1759-1760
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Siekierki Wielkie
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district poznański, commune Kostrzyn - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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