Chojnice – basilica of St John’s Chap

History

   The gothic church of St. John was built in Chojnice in 1340 – 1360 during the reign of the Teutonic Order. Its construction began with works on the presbytery and the tower, and ended with the construction of the naves. At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the tower was raised. In 1466 king Kazimierz Jagiellończyk became the patron of it. From then on, Polish kings presented candidates for the vacant Chojnice priory. In the years 1555 – 1616 it was in the hands of Lutherans. After the church was recovered by Catholics, three chapels were added: Saint Anne, Saint Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary. Unfortunately, the church was robbed and destroyed many times by fires, three of which were particularly severe – in 1657, 1733 and 1945 when all the interior furnishings were destroyed.

Architecture

   It is a monumental, hall, three-nave temple erected in the style of Pomeranian Gothic of red brick, on the foundation of granite boulders, with a square tower from the west. Its considerable dimensions are: length 46.2 meters and width 19.6 meters. It consists of a three-nave corpus with four bays, with a low and a short chancel with a width of the nave, ended pentagonal. On the west there is a huge four-sided tower with two porches on the sides. From the north, the sacristy adjoins the chancel, and to the northern aisle the chapel of the Virgin Mary from the 15th century.
   
In the western façade, there is a large pointed arch, which houses the entrance to the church, enclosed by slender windows and porch windows. The above tower is fragmented with blendes with ogee arches from the turn of the 15th / 16th centuries and covered with a hip roof. The corpus and the chancel are covered with gable roofs. External elevations are strengthened with buttresses reaching the base of window arches.
   
The interior is covered with vaults, stellar in the presbytery and central nave, and cross-rib in the aisles. Their walls were decorated with polychromes. Arcades between the naves are ogival, profiled and supported on octagonal pillars.

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bibliography:
Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. T. Mroczko i M. Arszyński, Warszawa 1995.
Website zabytkowekoscioly.net, Chojnice, kościół Ścięcia św. Jana Chrzciciela.