Chełmno – church of the Apostles Peter and Paul


   The construction of the church of the Apostles Peter and Paul began the Dominicans in the 4th quarter of the 13th century, although there are earlier fragments of the late-romanesque building from around 1240-1250. In the first half of the fourteenth century, the chancel and the corpus were built, initially in the form of an asymmetrical two-nave hall with six bays, which in the third quarter of the fourteenth century was transformed into an asymmetrical, three-nave hall.
An important event in the history of the church was the reconstruction of the main corpus in the 17th century. A baroque vault was opened on six huge pillars. This has changed the previous hall layout of the church into a basilica. Also, the porch and sacristy and the monastery were rebuilt.
In 1720 a fire on the roof took place, and in 1829, the Prussian authorities liquidated the order and the church’s decor was moved to other Catholic churches. A year later, monastery buildings adjacent to the church were burnt down. From 1841, the new owner – Evangelical commune – adopted the church to meet its needs. It stayed in their hands until 1945, when after over a hundred years it became a Catholic temple again.


   The church is made of brick, orientated. In the first half of the fourteenth century, the corpus was built in the form of a two-nave hall with six bays. It was rebuilt in the third quarter of the fourteenth century, then a third, very narrow aisle was added. The chancel of the church is three-bay, ended by the half of the octagon. Its length is 22.9 meters, width 8.7 meters and height 19.2 meters. This is the first soaring interior in the land of Chełmno. Particularly noteworthy are rib and stellar vaults and carved brackets on the walls. From the outside, the chancel is reinforced with buttresses. Its interior was once accessible only to monks. The church is 54,5 m in length and 19,3 m in width. Due to the fact that it stood on the edge of the Vistula embankment, it has solid foundations and walls, whose thickness in the presbytery is 1,5 m.
   The largest architectural decoration of the temple is the beautiful western gable, which is 31 m high and 19 m wide.
It is asymmetrical in relation to the chancel, which is clearly visible when you look from the steps of the altar towards the entrance. When entering the church, pay attention to the pointed, gothic portal made of profiled bricks. Inside, in 1969, frescos from the fourteenth century were discovered depicting the Slaughter of the Innocents and Golgotha.

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