Brodnica – St Catherine’s Church

History

   Construction of the church of St. Catherine was begun in 1285 from the foundation of the then parson Nicholas Wolwelin from Sandomierz. Construction began from the chancel, then construction of naves began, which were completed around the middle of the fourteenth century, and finally, perhaps around 1370, a tower was erected. In addition, it was increased around 1485. In the years 1554-1598 the temple was taken over by Lutherans, then it was used again by Catholics.

Architecture

   Gothic church of St. Catherine is built of brick, some of which is glazed and arranged in rhomboidal patterns and in the letters “W” and “V”. It has three naves of equal heights, reinforced outside by buttresses. The central nave is separated from the aisles by six pillars. On the eastern side, there is a rectangular chancel to which the sacristy was placed from the north. A similar annex was once also located on the southern side, but it was dismantled. A massive, four-sided tower was placed from the south-west side. Originally, it was planned to erect the second tower on the north-west side, however, it was finally built only south, with a height of 50 meters. Instead of porch between the towers and the northern tower, two low annexes were erected, covered with separate roofs supported on pinnacle-blende gables from the third quarter of the fourteenth century. In this way, the original symmetrical design of the church was blurred.
   Against the background of simplified forms of the church, the decoration of the eastern gable of the chancel of a very high artistic level stands out. Its composition and used forms arise directly from local architectural traditions. Its most important feature is the openwork – curtain nature, by adding it as a screen to the eastern wall of the chancel. This impression is enhanced by the clearances in the extreme axes crowned with trefoil arches and openwork triforiums in the last storey of the central axis, or rosettes in the wimpergs.

   In the central nave and chancel there are stellar vaults with carved bosses, and groin vaults in the aisles.
The most important monuments of church furnishings are: a complex of 12 apostles sculptures from the second half of the 14th century and the Crucifixion Group from the 16th century. Figures of the apostles were placed on corbels, both in the nave and the presbytery. They were made of wood, and only the corbels are made of artificial stone. A great surprise of the conservation work carried out in the church, was the discovery in 2004 of an enormous wall painting from the fourteenth or fifteenth century, behind the altar.

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bibliography:
Mroczko T., Architektura gotycka na ziemi chełmińskiej, Warszawa 1980.

Webpage ebrodnica.pl, Kościół farny p.w. św. Katarzyny.