Wooden churches in Konin county
Sacred wooden building is one of the inherent cultural elements related with the cultural landscape of historical Wielkopolska. From more than 250 historic objects, which have lasted centuries, following buildings continue to disappear, forming evident signs of passing. Time has erased hundreds of sanctuaries from the surrounding scenery and our memory. There are not many left. Hence it is worth to preserve those, which are still present in the close neighbourhood. Sometimes we are not aware how ephemeral, or maybe “how fervent this beauty is”. Every few years a sudden fire erases a church or a historic windmill from our memory. Such a waste is not always equally painful. But this is only pretence… A new building can never replace an old one.
The Konin county is not one of the richest regions in Wielkopolska, where numerous wooden churches can be found. However, this is not an area, which could not boast of this kind of sacred architecture. From few dozens of wooden churches present in this area 100-200 years ago there are only 10 left now. We are unable to recollect the shapes of majority of those irretrievably lost. We only have drawings of some of them, as f. ex. Grochowy near Rychwał, Kawnice near Konin. A small number of photos remind us of the parish church in Budzisław, demolished by Germans during occupation. Now there are just a few black and white photos, and some colour views of the church in Dobrosołów, burned in 2002.
Basing on sparse architectural plans it is hard to reconstruct all technical solutions and recreate the shape of many other churches, such as the Church of the Holy Spirit in Konin, which disappeared from the surrounding landscape in the half of the 19th century. Recreation of original solutions related with this kind of architecture on the basis of preserved descriptions or even photographs doesn’t prove to be successful. It is essential to look after these incredible cultural masterpieces with due diligence and to prevent them from disappearing from the historical landscape of Wielkopolska.
The fragments of collection including documentary photographs remind these churches, which once formed the scenery of Konin county. Soon a permanent exposition presenting wooden sanctuaries of eastern Wielkopolska (the Konin district) will be opened in St. Isaac Church located in Kazimierz Biskupi.
Parish church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Parish mentioned in 14th century. The presence of a wooden object was certified in 1642. Germans demolished the church in 1942. It was never rebuilt. One of sparse existing photographs can be seen on the Budzisław Kościelny parish website.
The old equipment was preserved, including the painting presenting the Crucifixion scene with the Blessed Virgin Mary and John the Baptist surrounded by the donors from the break of 16th/17th century, signed with Sulima and Poraj coats of arms. The painting presenting The Holy Mother of the Rosary encircled with laic dignitaries and clergymen; three sculptures once decorating the triptych, presenting Madonna with Child, St. Dorothea and St. Catherine from about the year 1500. Other preserved relics were created in 18th century.
Church of St. Jacob the Apostle, the Old. Parish mentioned already in the second half of the 15th century. Certified by numerous canonical visitations. Last wooden object, was erected in 1540, as suggested by the date engraved on the beam in the attic. About 1640 the sanctuary was ruined. It was renewed during the following years, and also in 1749, as well as in 1806 and 1862.
The church was a wooden building, carcass construction, with single aisle. A tower, with vestibule in the ground floor, was adjacent to the western side of the aisle, and from the north – on the level of the presbytery – the aisle was connected to the sacristy. Presbytery lower than the aisle, closed polygonally with the so-called women’s gallery.
Interior ceilings flat, supported on wall pillars. The building covered with a shed roof with eaves.
The following works of art were worth noticing among the splendid furnishing: main altar with statues of the apostles – St. Peter and St. Paul, lateral altars with the presentation of St Jacob the Apostle and St. Barbara, sculptured probably in the mid 18th century. The curved crucifix was also created during the same period of time, a group of figures – Holy Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist - presented on the rood beam from the 16th century. The sculpture of Sorrowful Christ can be enumerated among the oldest objects (from the 16th century). The Chalice with paten was performed in 17th century.
Churchof St. Jacobthe Apostle was probably erected under the influence of the cult related with this patron of knighthood, propagated by the Cistercian Order from the neighbouring abbey in Ląd, which was an important centre of the cult on the Ląd-Konin land in the second half of the 14th century (chapel of St. Jacob the Apostle). The sanctuary was burned in April 2002 in the fire started during conservatory works. See: Catalogue of art monuments in Poland, vol. V, book 8, Warsaw 1952, p.2-3.
Church of St. Jacob the Apostle, the Old. The oldest written information concerning the church dates back to 1470. However, the parish was established earlier, in the second half of the 14th century, at the time when the town was located. The present building was erected in the years 1765-1767, in place of the previous, ruined sanctuary.
Wooden church, with carcass construction, oriented, triple aisled with polygonal presbytery. The Blessed Virgin Mary Chapel, erected in 1696, was adjacent to the aisle from the north, while the St. Joseph’s Chapel created in the 19th century was adjoining the aisle from the south.
According to the caption inscribed on the beam under the choir, the church is the work of Antoni Willer, carpenter from Pleszew. The year 1766 engraved on the rood beam indicates the date of the construction. Temple covered with a shed roof with signature.
Valuable relics within the church were taken from the old sanctuary. These include baroque sculptures of Polish patrons – St. Stanislaw, the bishop and St. Adalbert, as well as the painting of Crucifixion with the Divine Mother, St. John, St. Mary Magdalene and the donor, dated about the year 1600. In lateral, late baroque altars, there are images of St. Isidor and St. Valentine from the 19th century. Among the preserved goods there are 2 crucifixes from the 16th and 17th century, pyx-ciborium from 1631, monstrance with Szeliga and Dołęga coats of arms, signed with initials: E.Z.C.M. – related with Elżbieta Żychlińska, Międzyrzecz chatelaine living at the end of the 18th century. Moreover, a thurible from the 17th century, copper Lavabo dating back to 1687.
The church was repeatedly described in canonical visitations in 17th –18th century. Bazyli from Golina, called Fabricius, at the beginning of the 17th century a professor and rector of the Cracow Academy, was one of its benefactors.
The cult of St. Jacob the Apostle in Golina, which in the mid 16th century belonged to the Kiwałowie family from Ostrów (Kujawy), of the Leszczyc coat of arms, was introduced because of activities performed by the Cistercian Order from the nearby monastery in Ląd on the Warta River. Obituary from the abbey indicates the owners of Golina as its benefactors. Their coat of arms was presented on St. Jacob’s chapel, founded by Wierzbięta from Palowice, general starost of Wielkopolska (from 1352) and castellan of Poznań (from 1360), who died at the beginning of 1369. See: Catalogue of art monuments, vol. V, book 8, p.3-4.
Parish church in Grochowy doesn’t exist anymore. What has preserved is solely one water-colour painted by Wojciech Kossak, presenting its former architectural form.
All Saints parish church. Building erected in 1795, renovated in 1912. The relics within the church, such as three altars from the break of 17th and 18th century and a pulpit from the 18th century, come from the old church. On the wall partially surrounding the sanctuary there are several epitaphs from the old parish church cemetery, including the epitaphs of the famous Gałczyński family.
Wooden parish church in Kawnice was burned in 1948. There is only one 19th century drawing presenting the church.
Former chapel of St. Isaac, one of the Five Martyr Brothers assassinated in 1003, is a relic of a complex of several buildings, forming the oldest city-sanctuary in Wielkopolska related with the cult of Five Brothers, located according to the tradition with roots dating back to the 12th century, a target for hermits – John (currently the post-Bernardine monastery), Benedict (destroyed in 18th century), St. Cristin (destroyed in 18th century), St. Matthew (current Romanesque parish church from the 12th century) and Barnabas, the surviving hermit (chapel in Bieniszew, destroyed in the 20th century). The chapel called Łosośka, covering the marvellous well (spring), was related with this complex of buildings.
The present temple erected in 1783, renovated in 1905 and at the end of the 20th century. Restored at the beginning of the 21st century.
St. Matthew the Apostle parish church – raised in 1639 and founded by Aleksander Głębocki, an archdeacon of Gniezno, and Magdalena from Krzyccy Głębocka, as it is stated on the information boards located in the presbytery over the entrance to the sacristy.
Church with carcass construction, timbered; oriented, single aisled and closed with a narrow presbytery. From the west, a lower tower, covered with pavilion roof, adjoins the aisle. From the north - sacristy. Gable roofs, covered with shingle.
Most of the furnishing from mid 17th century, altars of St. Mark and St. Lucas. The rood beam presents sculptures of the Crucified One, Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John and St. Mary Magdalene.
St. Andrew the Apostle parish church – built about the year 1750, restored in 1894 and at the end of the 20th century.
Wooden building with carcass construction, timbered, oriented. Single aisled sanctuary, closed with a narrower, trilateral presbytery. With a sacristy adjoining it from the north, and a church porch from the south. Gable roofs, covered with shingle.
Furnishing: the painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Child from the second half of the 18th century is the most valuable relic, baroque painting with the image of the Holy Family. The painting of the interior was created by Aleksander Przewalski about the year 1900. It was slightly changed during the restoration works in 1967, conducted by Franciszek Bukowski. Stained glass windows from 1985 realised according to the project created by Anna Widawska.
Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary church, former church of St. Jacob the Apostle. An architect named Wilczynski, erected between 1946 and 1948, and located in place of the former temple, destroyed by the Germans in 1942, designed the building. It is one of the biggest wooden sanctuaries in Wielkopolska. What was preserved from the former furnishing was the monstrance, a work of art made in the mid of the 17th century by a goldsmith, Florian Walyntusiewicz or Franciszek Walter. The parish mentioned in 1456.
St. Andrew the Apostle parish church. The object is enumerated among the most representative examples of sacred building in Wielkopolska. Rzgów, which in the 13th century belonged to the Cistercian abbey in Ląd, most probably had its own parish. What indicates the above is the call of St. Jacob the Apostle, whose cult was particularly propagated by this order.
The present building was constructed in the 17th century. St. Anne’s chapel, consecrated at the beginning of the present century, was built as an annex to the church. The sanctuary was renovated in 1760, 1790 and 1867. Its architecture and sumptuous furnishing with preserved relics of wall paintings, allowing to evaluate the church as one of the most magnificent objects representing the wooden architecture of Wielkopolska. The parish mentioned already in the 13th century.
St. Jerome’s chapel “In the forest”, most probably erected in 1732 and founded by Stefan Kiełczyński. Renovation works were performed in 1986 and 1998. Every last Sunday in September there is a church fair, during which the 17th century painting of the patron is being solemnly exhibited.
St. Thekla’s hospital church, former St. Cross church. Founded in 1460. A wooden construction, constructed in 1781, in place of the previous temple.
Carcass construction with double bay aisle, as well as narrower and lower presbytery closed polygonally. On the north, the presbytery is adjoined by the sacristy, and on the side of the southern aisle – by the church porch. Interior with ceilings. Temple covered with shed roof, with a little tower for signature.
A rococo pulpit and three late-baroque altars with rococo decoration and paintings painted by Antoni Szulczyński from the year 1900 were preserved in the interior of the church. The crucifix was made in the second half of the 18th century. See: Catalogue of art monuments, vol. V, book 8, p.24.
Church belfry of the 18th century parish church of the Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession. Pillar construction building, quadrilateral on stone fundaments, covered with hip roof. See: Catalogue of art monuments, vol. V, book 8, p.26; K. Gorczyca, Żychlin near Konin. History of the village and the protestant church, Warsaw 1996.
Prepared by Paulina Wojtyniak