The Missionary church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven, Siemiatycze
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The Missionary church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven

Siemiatycze

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An excellent example of an architectural and urban complex that has been successfully incorporated into the fabric of the surrounding town. The church complex exhibits features of the Baroque style of an exceptionally dynamic sort, created by members of the community of eminent Warsaw artists and architects; the complex also remains one of the most important of all the buildings erected in the Podlasie region by the members of the Sapieha noble family.

History

The first Catholic parish in Siemiatycze was established in 1456 by Michał Kmita Sudymontowicz. The existing church was erected in the years 1626-37 for the funds donated for the purpose by Lew Sapieha, the chancellor and great hetman of Lithuania; following his death, the task of overseeing the completion of construction works fell upon his son, Kazimierz Leon, the deputy chancellor of Lithuania. The edifice was consecrated in 1638 as the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; in 1719, the parish was taken over by the Congregation of the Mission. In the years 1719-1727, the monastery designed by Karol Antoni Bay was erected, with the task of supervision of the actual construction works being performed by Vincent Rachetti. The perimeter wall with belfries was erected in 1725. In 1737, the front façade of the church underwent a redesign, with a pair of porches being added on both sides of the tower. In 1754, the church was damaged by fire; once the flames were extinguished, the restoration efforts could begin, with the vaulted ceilings above the side aisles being reconstructed. In 1780, a new organ gallery was added. In 1832, the Congregation of the Mission was dissolved, with the parish and the church being reclaimed by the diocese. In the year 1860, a gate with an arched passage supported by a pair of pillars was erected in front of the church façade, with a sculpture of St Michael the Archangel being positioned atop the gate in 1863. During the period of the Partitions of Poland, the monastery was commandeered for use as a military hospital; in the years 1914-1920, the building was partially damaged, with the north-eastern pavilion being demolished completely after being lost to the blaze. The southern belfry was dismantled during World War II. In 2001, the north-eastern monastery pavilion was reconstructed. Today, the former monastery serves as a social care home.

Description

The complex is located north-east of the market square, on 3 Maja street. The church is oriented towards the east. The entire complex was designed in the Baroque style, although the church itself had originally been a Late Renaissance design and has only attained its current, Baroque appearance after being remodelled at a later date.

The complex consists of a church surrounded by a brick perimeter wall with a bell tower as well as a monastery building. The church - a brick structure following a basilica layout and featuring a tower rising above its front façade - is positioned in the middle of the complex. The perimeter wall encircling the church was designed on a roughly oval plan and consists of a number of concave, convex and straight sections, interconnected by shrines taking the form of aediculae. A gate surmounted by the figure of St Michael the Archangel is positioned in the western section of the perimeter wall, on the axis of the church entrance. A single-storey belfry designed on a square floor plan and covered with an eight-faced roof following a convexo-concave outline is incorporated into the south-western section of the perimeter wall. South of the church lies the brick monastery building, preceded by a courtyard, its front façade facing the west; it is a two-storey structure consisting of the main body and four corner pavilions. A fragment of the original fence can be seen east of the monastery.

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Grażyna Rogala, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Białystok, 21-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Borowski E., Działalność Zgromadzenia Misji w Siemiatyczach (1719-1832), “Studia Teologiczne. Białystok, Drohiczyn, Łomża”, 3 (1985), pp. 173-216.
  • Dobroński A., Siemiatycze pod zaborem rosyjskim (1807-1914), (in:) Studia i materiały do dziejów Siemiatycz, H. Majecki (ed.), Warsaw 1989, pp. 83-113.
  • Diecezja drohiczyńska. Spis parafii i duchowieństwa, Drohiczyn 2004, pp. 403-405.
  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, vol. XII, Województwo białostockie, issue 1, Siemiatycze, Drohiczyn i okolice, compiled by M. Kałamajska-Saeed, Warsaw 1996, pp. XI-XII, 55-69.
  • Maroszek J., Siemiatycze jako ośrodek dóbr ziemskich w XV-XVIII w. (do 1801 r.), (in:) Studia i materiały do dziejów Siemiatycz, H. Majecki (ed.), Warsaw 1989, pp. 7-42.
  • Oleksicki A., Zabytki architektury w Siemiatyczach a przemiany w rozplanowaniu przestrzennym miasta w XVIII w., (in:) Studia i materiały do dziejów Siemiatycz, H. Majecki (ed.), Warsaw 1989, pp. 43-49.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1626 - 1637
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: 3 Maja , Siemiatycze
  • Location: Voivodeship podlaskie, district siemiatycki, commune Siemiatycze (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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