Parish Church of St. Leonard, Wierzbie
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Parish Church of St. Leonard

Wierzbie

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The sixteenth-century church in Wierzbie has rich fixtures and fittings, and unique profiled portals from around 1522. Despite alterations it is an example of old traditional wooden architecture.

History

The parish in Wierzbie existed probably as early as the 15th century, then it was affiliated to the parish of Ożarów and re-established in the early 20th century.

The foundations of the present church date back to around 1522. Its first description dates from 1668; at that time, the church was a wooden building with a bell tower, masonry sacristy and brick floor. It underwent alterations during complete renovation in the late 18th century and was restored in 1889 and 1949.

In the second half of the 20th century it underwent alterations which involved, among others, extending the nave and the chancel by the addition of rectangular annexes opening towards the interior and removing the southern porch. The tower, originally reaching only the roof ridge, was extended by one storey and incorporated in the body of the church by enclosing its lower part in annexes and covering the annexes with extended roof planes over the nave. In the western part of the nave, window openings were added to allow more light to the choir; the northern wall was pierced by an entrance opening, which was fitted with a portal relocated from the demolished southern wall. These works improved the technical condition of the church, but obliterated its original shape.

Over the last few decades, the church underwent systematic restoration.

Description

The church is located in the south-western part of the village, near the junction of the main road with the road to Ożarów, from which it is separated by an extensive car park and greenery.

The wooden walls of the nave and chancel are made of interlocking logs, their newer sections feature a post-and-beam structure, like the tower with annexes. The sacristy and its vestibule are made of brick and plastered. The roofs are shingled; the façades are covered with vertically positioned weatherboards, with trimming strips.

The nave, which was formerly rectangular in shape, features a false transept in the eastern part; the transept is made up of annexes opening towards the interior of the nave. Along the northern wall of the chancel, there is a rectangular sacristy, which adjoins a small vestibule to the west; the vestibule is separated from the nave by a diagonal wall. The tower adjoins the nave to the west; on the sides of the tower there are stairs and storage space.

The body of the church is elongated, without a balancing dominant feature. The nave and the chancel are covered with a double-ridge saddle roof, the planes of which turn into shed roofs over the slightly lower annexes and sacristy at about one third and one half of the height. The western part of the roof is surmounted by a quadrangular tower covered with a tented roof with curved eaves. The low quadrangular steeple turret is surmounted by a sheet metal cupola.

The interior is covered with flat ceilings supported by posts; the sacristy is topped with cloister vaults. A simple choir supported by pillars with a full balustrade holds a pipe organ casing and harmonium. The main altar features a Late-Gothic triptych. The interior of the church is covered with floral murals, forming, among others, colourful window surrounds. The outer façades are pierced by two massive portals from around 1522. The western portal topped with a segmental arch was cut out in the lower part of the lintel and features wide profiled frames. The northern portal with an entrance opening in the shape resembling a horseshoe is embellished with rope and dentil ornaments, precisely made in the frames, additionally decorated with rosette and rhombus motifs.

The structure can be viewed from the outside; the interior is open to visitors during services or by arrangement with the parish priest.

compiled by Ewa Kalbarczyk-Klak, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Opole, 30-09-2014.

Bibliography

  • Katalog Zabytków Sztuki w Polsce, Vol.2 (text), J.Z. Łoziński (ed.); prepared by H. Hohensee-Ciszewska, Warsaw 1954, p. 385.
  • Materyały do architektury polskiej. T.I, Wieś i miasteczko, collective edition, Warsaw 1916, p. 124.
  • Inwentarz drewnianej architektury sakralnej w Polsce, z. 4b , Kościoły w Wielkopolsce XVI wieku (Dzietrzniki, Gaszyn, Grabie, Jaworzno, Kadłub, Łaszew, Łyskornia, Ochodzyn, Popowice, Wierzbie, Wiktorów), opr. R. Brykowski , G. Ruszczyk (Źródła i materiały do dziejów sztuki polskiej, red. M. Arszyński, t. XXIV, red. naukowy tomu R. Brykowski), Warszawa 1993.
  • Rosin R., “Słownik geograficzno-historyczny Ziemi Wieluńskiej w średniowieczu”, Warsaw 1963, pp. 275-279
  • Białas Zofia, Parafia św. Leonarda w Wierzbiu, Tygodnik Katolicki, edycja częstochowska, 32/2009.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1 poł. XVI w.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wierzbie
  • Location: Voivodeship opolskie, district oleski, commune Praszka - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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