Brześć Kujawski – Dominican Church

History

    The Dominican church of St. Michael the Archangel was built, according to the tradition handed down by the chronicler Jan Długosz, in 1264 by Kazimierz I, the prince of Kujawy. The first confirmed record appeared only 1294.  Initially, it was probably a timber building. The brick chancel was funded in 1383 by the bishop of Włocławek, and then a nave was probably added.
    
The Brześć monastery had a secondary role, especially in the late Middle Ages. It could not match the Dominican convents in such town as Wrocław, Gdańsk, Toruń, Elbląg or Poznań, not to mention the capital city of Kraków. However, all the time it had great importance for religious and cultural life in Brześć and its surroundings. The basis for the monks living was primarily a collection in the church during the services, as well as the direct patronage of the princes of Kujawy. With time, however, the brothers from Brześć began to derive income from estates, which they obtained by way of donation or purchase. These were rents from three mills, fish ponds, fodders and renting the refectory to meetings of land courts. In addition, the
community made donations. Although the convent did not present large economic potential, it was an important trade partner, especially for the local population. This is evidenced by records in the ecclesiastical and secular courts books.
    
The church and the monastery suffered damage during the wars with Sweden in the 17th century. After the reconstruction and renovation of the 17th and 18th centuries, it took on a baroque appearance. The last reconstruction, in which it was reduced, occurred after a fire in 1922.

Architecture

    The church together with the monastery was located in the northern part of the town. Adhered to the town walls, so it probably played an important role in the defense system of Brześć Kujawski. The monastery church was gothic, brick, in a basilica form, had three-aisle nave and a chancel. The entrance to it led from the south through a pointed, profiled portal from the second half of the 14th century. The monastery buildings were on the north side of the church. Most likely, it was a wooden structure with a brick foundation, it is possible that only the priory building was fully bricked.

Current state

   The present appearance of the Dominican complex is the result of reconstruction from the inter-war period, when the monastery and church were maintained in the style of the Polish Baroque. The only original visible element is the wall of the southern aisle with a gothic, pointed arch portal, over which three blendes are placed.

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bibliography:
Webpage parafia-brzesc.pl, Z dziejów klasztoru w Brześciu.