Evangelical church, currently serving as the Roman Catholic church of the Holy Spirit and St Stanislaus Kostka, Toruń
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Evangelical church, currently serving as the Roman Catholic church of the Holy Spirit and St Stanislaus Kostka

Toruń

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An important public building and a local landmark in the city of Toruń, this church was the very last to be erected prior to the period of the Partitions of Poland and also one of the largest ecclesiastical building completed in the second half of the 18th century. The tall tower of the church became a characteristic feature of the city landscape, its bright plaster finish making it stand out among the red-brick walls of the Gothic churches more commonly seen in the area.

History

In 1743, the cornerstone was laid, followed swiftly by the construction of the foundations for the new church, intended to serve the needs of the Evangelical community of the Old Town district. The church was designed by the architect Andreas Adam, commonly known as Bähr and hailing from Saxony. In 1753, the construction works experienced a brief hiatus and were only resumed one year later, albeit following a different design prepared by the Toruń-based architect Efraim Schröger, with the most notable change compared to the original design being the absence of a tower. In 1756, a grand consecration ceremony was held, followed by a solemn mass. In years 1897-99, a tower designed by the design firm of Karl Schaefer and Hugo Hartung was constructed, adjoining the eastern façade of the church. The side aisles now incorporated wooden galleries - a typical feature of Evangelical churches - attached to the pillars at mid-height; these were later removed after World War II, when the church was handed over to the local Catholic community. In 1926, the restoration of the façades took place, followed by interior renovation in 1932, with central heating and electrical lighting also being installed during this period. In 1945, the church was taken over by the Jesuit Order. In years 1986-88, both the façades of the main body and the tower and the interiors of the church were subjected to renovation works. In 1989, a fire broke out, leading to the destruction of the pipe organ, the collapse of parts of the plasterwork and the loss of the painted decorations behind the main altarpiece. The electrical wiring and the internal window glazing were also lost to the blaze.

In years 2009-2012, a series of comprehensive renovation and conservation works took place, including the repainting of all façades, the tower and the architectural detailing, the replacement of the roof cladding and the restoration of the stone portals and marquetry doors. The interior was likewise repainted, with the polychromy lost during the fire being partially reconstructed.

Being an academic church, the edifice has been of particular importance to the employees and students of the Nicolaus Copernicus University, established in 1945.

Description

The parish church of the Holy Spirit forms part of the city block positioned at the south-western corner of the Old Town Market Square, alongside Różana street.

The Late Baroque church is not oriented towards the east; it was designed on a rectangular floor plan, adjoined by a square tower to the east. The three-nave, seven-bay main body of the church incorporates both the naves and the chancel, positioned in the middle of the westernmost bay and flanked by a pair of sacristy rooms.

The hall church features a uniform, compact silhouette covered by a tall gable roof with dormer windows, above which rises the monumental, three-storey tower crowned with a lavishly ornamented cupola.

The church is a brick structure, its walls covered with plaster inside and out. The walls feature a pronounced socle clad with sandstone. The main nave, the chancel section and the ground-floor level of the tower all feature double barrel vaults. The roof features pantile cladding, while the tower cupola is clad with copper sheeting. The chancel is graced by period flooring made of Swedish marble, with granite slabs used for both the nave and the side aisles.

The façade is adorned by paired pilasters flanking rectangular windows positioned on two levels and topped with simplified entablature with a pronounced cornice.

The front (eastern) façade follows a three-axial layout with a three-storey tower in the middle; at the ground-floor level of the tower there is a portal flanked by pairs of Doric columns on plinths and surmounted by a triangular pediment incorporating an ornamental cartouche. The upper level of the front façade is punctuated with windows framed with eared surrounds and flanked by pilasters. The third storey of the tower, incorporating the bell chamber, featured arcaded bell openings flanked by Ionic columns supporting the entablature above. The tower is flanked by a pair of single-axial, two-storey annexes.

The northern and southern façades follow a seven-axial layout, with black Dębnik marble portals positioned on the middle axes, flanked by diagonal pilasters supporting triangular, mitred pediments. The western façade follows a three-axial layout and is crowned with a gable adorned by a volute-shaped coping and a split pediment.

An entrance portal identical to those positioned in the side façades can be seen inside the porch, its state of preservation being much better due to the lack of exposure to the elements for the last 100 years. The chapel of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is located on the northern side of the interior.

Most of the fixtures and fittings date back to the mid-18th century. Notable items include a free-standing Baroque wooden altarpiece from 1757, its overall shape resembling that of a tabernacle; the designer of the altarpiece was J.A. Langenhahn the elder, a sculptor based in Toruń. Also worthy of mention are the two marquetry doors leading into the sacristy and a Rococo pulpit with a lavishly decorated canopy, dating back to 1759.

The structure is accessible all year round.

compiled by Marzenna Stocka, National Heritage Board of Poland Regional Branch in Toruń, 24-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Domasłowski J., Kościół Akademicki Św. Ducha w Toruniu. Dzieje - architektura - wyposażenie wnętrza, “Rocznik Toruński” 21, 1992, pp. 173-203.
  • Błażejewska A., Kluczwajd K., Pilecka E., Tylicki J., Dzieje Sztuki Torunia, 2009, pp. 314-315
  • Birecki P., Z dziejów staromiejskiego kościoła ewangelickiego obecnie kościoła katolickiego pw. Świętego Ducha w Toruniu, 2013.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1754-1756 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Rynek Staromiejski , Toruń
  • Location: Voivodeship kujawsko-pomorskie, district Toruń, commune Toruń
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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