Parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Złotów
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Parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Złotów

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An example of a Baroque urban church erected in 1661-64, one of the most valuable historical buildings of northern Greater Poland. The design was probably drawn up by a renowned architect from Veneto or Lombardy - Krzysztof Bonadura the Older, who designed a number of buildings in Greater Poland during the 17th century. The church was financed by Andrzej Karol Grudziński, Voivode of Kalisz. It features distinctive Baroque fittings dating back to the 17th century.

History

The origins of Złotów date back to the early Middle Ages and are linked to a gord, existing there already in the 12th century, located on an isthmus between two lakes near a crossing point at the Głomia river, on an old trade route from Nakło to Kołobrzeg and Słupsk. The exact date when Złotów was granted municipal rights is unknown. The oldest mention indicating that the settlement achieved the status of a town date back to 1370. Back in those days, Złotów was a private town. In the 15th century, it was owned by the Grzymała family from Greater Poland. At the beginning of the 17th century, the then heir to the town, Jan Potulicki, built a new castle in Złotów. In the mid-17th century, the town went into the hands of the Grudziński family. In 1665, Andrzej Karol Grudziński renewed the location privilege. From the late 17th century, Złotów was owned by the Działyński family. In 1788, the town went into the hands of German families, and from 1820, it became property of the King of Prussia.

According to tradition, the construction of the church in Złotów is linked to the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, however, it is not supported by historical sources. The church probably existed here already in the 14th century. In 1511, there is a mention of St Andrew and St Peter Church. In 1619, the old church destroyed by fire was replaced at the initiative of Jan Potulicki with an also wooden new church of St Anne. He also issued a new foundation act for the parish. During the wars against Sweden, in 1657, the building was burnt down. Soon in the spot where it stood, a temporary building with a frame structure was built. The Baroque church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, preserved up to this day, was erected in the years 1661-64 and was funded by Andrzej Karol Grudziński, Voivode of Kalisz. Works related to interior fittings lasted until 1669. On 25 August of that year, the church was consecrated. In the 19th century and in the early 20th century, it was renovated several times, among others at the beginning of the 19th century (side chapels renovation), in 1839-40 (roof, walls and floors repairs), 1859, 1889, and 1905. In the years 1850-53, a bell tower was erected near the church. In 1965-6, the church’s interior was renovated. The wall painting and sgraffito decorations were made by Anna and Leonard Torwirt. In 2004, the crypts were renovated. Today, the Congregation of Missionaries of the Holy Family takes care of the church.

Description

The church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is situated in the north-western part of the town, near the market square, at Panny Marii street. The church is enclosed with a church cemetery fenced with a brick, partially plastered wall, with the main gate flanked with two wicket gates from the south and a side gate from the south-east. On the cemetery area, there is a monument from 1978 in the form of a cross placed on a column, dedicated to the memory of missing or killed in defence of faith and homeland. Nearby, there is a masonry rectory and a brick bell tower.

The church has a Latin cross floor plan. The church consists of a rectangular, three-bay nave and a narrower two-bay chancel with a straight ending section, adjoining the nave on the east. On both sides, square chapels, forming the arms of the cross, adjoin the eastern bay of the nave. On the southern side of the chancel, there is a rectangular sacristy. The compact body of the nave and the slightly lower chancel are covered with tall gable roofs. Over the roof of the nave, on the eastern side, a steeple turret crowned with an onion-shaped cupola can be seen. Side chapels were topped with cupolas with lanterns.

The church is a brick building. Its walls are covered with plaster. The naves and the chancel are covered with ceramic roof tiles, and the cupolas over the chapels and the steeple cupola are covered with sheet metal. The interiors are covered with brick ceilings.

Outside, the walls of the nave, chancel and side chapels were partitioned with pilasters and are crowned with a profiled cornice. High-situated windows are most often topped with a semi-circular arch. The western façade is framed with pairs of pilasters with Ionic capitals supporting the strongly advancing profiled cornice. The central part is slightly projected. Along the axis, there is a modest portal, semi-circularly topped with a bended, stepped cornice section, crowned with an obelisk with a ball. The façade is topped with a gable partitioned with a pair of pilasters, framed with volutes. A similar gable tops the eastern façade of the chancel.

The interior walls are divided by pilasters supporting the crowing cornice and the arches upon which the vaults rest. The nave and presbytery are covered with a barrel vault with lunettes. Decorative plasterwork adorns the ceilings (modest frame partitions). The chancel opens up towards the nave with a semi-circular rood arch. The western bay of the nave features a music gallery, supported by arches resting on piers, with a frame-and-panel parapet adorned with moldings. The side chapels covered with cupola ceilings open towards the nave through narrow semi-circular arcades. The church interior is adorned with wall painting and sgraffito made by Anna and Leonard Torwirt.

The valuable, 17th-century fittings of the church include among others a set of five Baroque altars, a pulpit, a baptismal, font and a Crucifixion group on the rood beam. They were made by a woodcarver from Złotów, Johann Daniel Danzer. The main altar in the central field features a painting of 1666 by Paweł Hacko from Gdańsk, showing the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the crypt below the chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary, there are tombs of the parents of the church founder, Zygmunt and Elżbieta Grudziński, and of their son - Zygmunt - who died aged three. On his tomb, there is a unique on a national scale child coffin portrait.

The church is open to visitors. More information about the parish and the Holy Mass schedule can be found on the websites of the parish and the Bydgoszcz Diocese: msf-zlotow.pl i diecezja.bydgoszcz.pl.

compiled by Krzysztof Jodłowski, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Poznań, 19-11-2014.

Bibliography

  • Barokowe kościoły Wielkopolski, koncepcja, teksty i wybór ilustracji P. Maluśkiewicz, Poznań 2006, s. 336-39.
  • Bończa-Bystrzycki L., Fara złotowska jako wspaniała świątynia w Panu, Koszalin 2002.
  • Miłobędzki A., Architektura polska XVII w., Warszawa 1980, s. 277.
  • Śmigielski A., Złotów, Poznań 1995, s. 26.

General information

  • Type: church
  • Chronology: 1661-1664
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Panny Marii 13, Złotów
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district złotowski, commune Złotów (gm. miejska)
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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