Parish church of the Holy Trinity – church complex with cemetery wall, Wejherowo
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Parish church of the Holy Trinity – church complex with cemetery wall

Wejherowo

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The parish church occupies the site of the former votive church funded by Jakub Wejher and has both historical and symbolic meaning for the town of Wejherowo. The church belongs to the oldest parish in the town.

History

The very first church in town was erected in 1643 by Jakub Wejher as a sign of gratitude for escaping an almost certain death underneath the fallen masonry of the Biała stronghold near Smoleńsk back in 1634, after which he swore to build a church devoted to the Holy Trinity. Initially known as the church of the Holy Trinity and of St Francis, the church was erected in the settlement of Wejherowska Wola, which later became the town of Wejherowo (Wejheropolis) under the royal charter of king John Casimir granted in 1650. The first church to be erected here was a timber-framed structure. Until 1651, this church was also used by the Franciscans of Wejherowo who held church services here right until the consecration of the monastery church. In the years 1754-1755, count Piotr Przebendowski funded the construction of a new, brick church designed in the Baroque style which replaced the original, wooden parish church. In contrast to the Baroque exterior, the interior of the new church had a distinct Rococo décor. The original foundations and a crypt built for fourteen local parish priests have survived underneath the floor of the church. In the years 1927-1929, the church underwent a redesign. At the initiative of prelate Edmund Roszczynialski, the upper section of the church and the chancel were extended. The initial idea for the construction of a new church was thus abandoned in favour of extending the existing structure. The extension works were performed on the basis of a design prepared by Stanisław Świątkiewicz, the municipal architect who also oversaw the works. Most of the works were performed by local Polish contractors, with only more specialised tasks being entrusted to companies from Poznań, Cracow, and from Germany. The chapel of St Anthony received painted decorations executed by Inger Berchsenius, a Danish painter. In addition, new stained glass windows were also installed. In 1928, bishop Wojciech Okoniewski consecrated the church. The ceremony was also attended by count Henryk Keyserlingk, the benefactor of the church, who was of Evangelical denomination.

Description

The church stands in the centre of the town, in the south-western corner of the Wejherowo market square. The structure consists of two distinct parts: the Baroque northern section and the monumental southern part, extended during the 20th century. The works performed during that time included the addition of a transept with porches and a chancel with a semi-hexagonal termination. As a result, the overall appearance of the church can now be described as eclectic. The Baroque section of the church was designed on a rectangular floor plan and is covered with a gable roof. A tower built on a square plan rises above the northern end of the church, providing a finishing touch to the entire design. The tower is crowned with a Baroque cupola clad with sheet metal. The northern façade features a tripartite porch with a complex outline; each of its sections has a separate roof, all of which are clad in sheet metal, much like the roof of the tower above. A pair of niches are visible above the porch; set into the northern façade, they contain painted wooden sculptures of St Peter and Paul. Today, the original figures stand inside the church, while the niches house copies thereof. The side façades feature rusticated corners and are topped with a horizontal frieze and a profiled cornice. A chapel adjoins the western façade. Inside, the church features surviving original altarpieces as well as a Rococo pulpit and baptismal font, a painting of the Crucifixion in the style of Rubens, dating back to 1629, and a hand-wrought brass chandelier adorned by a sculpture of the eagle - the symbol of Poland. The tripartite pipe organ comes from Goebel’s, a specialist company from Danzig, with all three sections now connected by an electrical apparatus. The stained glass windows in the old part of the church are a gift from prelate Dąbrowski. They were made in Berlin in the 19th century. Only the last window on the right hand side was added later, with Stanisław Powalisz from Poznań being responsible for its design. It was also him who reconstructed the lost stained glass window in the chapel (formerly the sacristy), with a portrayal of St Anthony. The stained glass windows in the southern section of the church were made in Quedlinburg; the ones inside the chancel were designed by professor Wacław Szczeblewski from Gdynia.

The parish church complex also includes the original cemetery wall which had once separated the area around the very first parish church that stood on this spot. Today, only the western section of the wall remains, with all other parts thereof having been demolished as the church itself was being extended. The wall runs in a straight line alongside the western façade of the church. It is a brick structure with a row of deep niches topped with segmental arches and incorporating an entrance gate. The wall is topped with a mono-pitched roof clad with pantiles; in years 1963-1964, the wall was covered with plaster. The overall condition of the wall remains poor.

The site is open to visitors.

compiled by Dorota Hryszkiewicz-Kahlau, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Gdańsk, 16-12-2014.

Bibliography

  • Schultz F., Dzieje powiatu wejherowskiego i puckiego, Gdańsk-Puck-Wejherowo, 2011;
  • Karta ewidencyjna zabytków architektury i budownictwa Kościół parafialny p.w. Trójcy Przenajświętszej, autor: M. Kaliszczak, b.d.
  • http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parafia_Świętej_Trójcy_w_Wejherowie
  • http://swtrojcawejherowo.com

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1754 - 1755
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wejherowo
  • Location: Voivodeship pomorskie, district wejherowski, commune Wejherowo (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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