Chwarszczany – chapel of St Stanislaus

History

   The chapel dedicated to Saint Stanislaus in the village of Chwarszczany is a remnant of the Templar’s commandry, who settled here thanks to prince Władysław Odonic in 1232. The church itself was probably built at the end of the 13th century, although perhaps its lower parts of the granite cube date back to about 1250. A slow-standing temple was accompanied by other buildings located in the area of a large courtyard, probably surrounded by fortifications. After the liquidation of the Knights Templar, in 1345-1540 Chwarszczany remained in the possession of the Knights Hospitaller. Then, when the commandry was moved to Świdwin, the Brandenburg margraves founded a farm in Chwarszczany, functioning until the end of the Second World War. However, the complex was destroyed earlier, in 1758, during the Seven Year’s War.

Architecture

 

   A commandry was located in the area of a flattened, small hill (2 meters high) in the shape of an ellipse, measuring 150 x 100 meters. Its longer axis ran on the east-west line. From the west, the elevation adjoined the river, and from the other sides was surrounded by a hundred meter marsh strip. The chapel was placed in the north – western part of the ward.

   The chapel was built of bricks on a pedestal made of granite blocks in the gothic style. It is an aisleless, buttressed building with dimensions 25,2 × 9,5 and height of 13,6 meters. It is polygonal ended from the east. In western corners it has two cylindrical towers. You can read in it a distant reference to the Paris Sainte-Chapelle, or the Jerusalem architecture, especially through the biblical description of the Temple of Solomon, which coincides with its external appearance. The exception is the two cylindrical towers partially embedded in the corners of the building, flanking the west façade exactly where the corner buttresses were used. It is assumed that this solution may be a reference to the Cistercian architecture or the military character of the Knights Templar. This impression is further intensified by slit holes illuminating the interior of the towers, imitating arrowslits. The south – west tower contains a spiral staircase connecting the interior of the chapel with an attic, while the north – west tower is empty inside. The walls are clasped by heavy, one-stepped buttresses, not coming to the crown of the walls, but ending at the height of the window arches.
   The ascetic interior is characterized by its severity and is practically devoid of architectural decoration.
It has a rib vault with a visually light canopy closing the temple. Its only elements are two wall niches and a nineteenth-century matroneum. A very valuable element, however, are wall polychromes created around 1400, attributed to the Knights Hospitallers foundation. They form a 2,75 meters high frieze running along the walls on almost the entire length of the chapel, at the height of the windows.

Current state

   The Templar chapel is one of the most valuable monuments of Western Pomerania. Archaeological research has been carried out since 2004. The Templar Museum was opened next to the chapel, concerning the history of the Knights Templar and other knights’ orders, and since 2005, the Cultural Park Chwarszczany has been established in the area of the former complex.

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bibliografia:
Radacki Z., Średniowieczne zamki Pomorza Zachodniego, Warszawa 1976.

Walczak M., Kościoły gotyckie w Polsce, Kraków 2015.
Website templariusze.org, Kaplica templariuszy w Chwarszczanach.
Website wikipedia.org, Kościół św. Stanisława Kostki w Chwarszczanach.