The church of St Adalbert (church complex), Wojciechowice
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The church of St Adalbert (church complex)

Wojciechowice

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The church features a well-preserved Gothic nave and chancel, with the interior walls of the latter graced by the painted decorations executed by Wojciech Gerson.

History

The Wojciechowice parish was first mentioned in written documents dating back to 1326; however, the exact appearance of the erstwhile church remains shrouded in mystery. The existing church was founded in 1362 by Wojsław of the Wilczekosy coat of arms, a canon originating from Sandomierz. Despite the intervening ages, the basic structure of the church has changed little since that time. The original spatial layout of the church was preserved until the first half to the 17th century, when a spacious chapel of the Virgin Mary adjoining its northern wall was added, featuring a crypt underneath; this structure was erected for the funds provided by Hermolaus Ligęza and his family and was most likely intended as a family tomb chapel. During the second half of the same century, a pair of small sacristies adjoining the northern wall of the chancel have also been constructed, while a low entrance porch was added to the western façade somewhere around the year 1870. In the years 1885-1887 or thereabouts, reverend Władysław Fudalewski – an avid scholar specialising in regional history who has made a name for themselves in the annals of the parish – conducted a series of refurbishment and restoration works; it was also at his initiative that the bell tower and the small funerary chapel of St Joseph were erected in the corners of the cemetery, surrounded by a perimeter wall. It was likewise his idea to use the ground-floor level of the bell tower as the chapel of St Magdalene; from 1980 onwards, this room has served as a catechetical hall. The chapel of St Joseph, on the other hand, has begun to serve as an ossuary soon after it was erected. In 1891, the famous painter Wojciech Gerson, invited to Wojciechowice by rev. Fudalewski, executed the painted images of saints which grace the Gothic chancel of the church. All of these painted decorations were later subjected to conservation works in the years 1957-1960. In 1987, maintenance works were carried out on the church façades.

Description

The church complex is situated on the plateau atop a small hill in the northern part of the village. The building itself, made of stone ashlar blocks, was originally designed on a plan which incorporated numerous influences of the Romanesque architecture, consisting of a rectangular nave and a single-bay, rectangular chancel. This oldest, core part of the church is covered by a pair of tall gable roofs. Although the walls of the church are now covered with plaster, some of the stone Gothic detailing of the now-vanished apertures are still readily apparent, including the bricked-up pointed-arch portal in the southern wall of the nave as well as the likewise blocked window in the eastern wall of the chancel, adorned with tracery. This window currently serves as a niche occupied by the sculpture of the Virgin Mary. The chapel added at the request of the Ligęza family is covered with a flattened dome resting on pendentives, topped with a roof lantern. An arched opening facilitates access form the nave to the chapel. The chancel features a ribbed groin vault with a single keystone adorned with the coat of arms of the founder of the church; the original rood arch made of massive stone blocks has also survived intact. In stark contrast to this architectural sophistication, the nave features an ordinary coved ceiling, which is most likely a later addition. The painted decorations executed by Wojciech Gerson on the chancel walls as well as the wall paintings inside the Ligęza family chapel make the interior appear light, airy and filled with vibrant colours.

The bell tower situated in the north-western corner of the cemetery and adjoining the perimeter wall was built using split stone, with the visible surfaces of individual boulders being finely dressed and smoothened. The brick sections of the walls are purely decorative in nature. The bell tower is covered with a pyramid hipped roof topped with a roof lantern and forms a fairly typical example of late-19th century Historicist architecture.

The site is open to visitors. The church can be explored by prior telephone arrangement with the parish priest.

Compiled by Aleksandra Ziółkowska, 04-12-2015

Bibliography

  • Record sheet of monuments of architecture, Wojciechowice, Zespól kościoła par. pw. św. Wojciecha, Kościół, Dzwonnica, Plebania (Wojciechowice, parish church of St Adalbert [church complex – church, bell tower and rectory], prepared by A. Adamczyk, 1991, Archive of the Regional Monuments Protection Office in Kielce, Sandomierz Branch Office.
  • Katalog zabytków sztuki w Polsce, vol. III, issue 7, Warsaw 1959.
  • Kazimierza Stronczyńskiego opisy i widoki zabytków w Królestwie Polskim (1844-1855), vol. II: Gubernia Radomska, prepared by K. Guttmejer, Warsaw 2010
  • Wiśniewski J., Monografie kościołów w dekanacie opatowskim, Radom 1906. 

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1362 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Wojciechowice
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district opatowski, commune Wojciechowice
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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