Gdańsk – St Joseph’s Church

History

     Initially, on the site of St. Joseph’s church, there was a hospital and a chapel of St. George. In the fifteenth century, monks from the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Mount Carmel settled here, commonly known as Carmelites. Financial difficulties after the Thirteen Years War meant that intensive construction works began only around 1482, beginning with the construction of the chancel. Most of the works were completed at the beginning of the sixteenth century, not much before the first Reformation protests.
  
In 1523, robberies, plundering and requisition of monastic and church property occurred. At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, the condition of the monastery and Catholics in Gdańsk improved slightly, and the church was renovated. In 1623, after receiving compensation for the destructions of the war with king Stefan Batory, the temple was enlarged, raising a slightly lower so-called western annexe. The church suffered in 1668 during a fire that broke out in the vicinity of the brewery. In 1678, there was an attack on the monastery and the Carmelite church during the riots associated with the celebration of the anniversary of the peace in Oliwa. In 1823, the Carmelite monastery was dissolved, and the monastery’s buildings until 1920 were taken over in majority by the army to the administration headquarters, while the temple itself with chapels, as well as a part of the monastery intended for the clergy house, were transferred to the Chełmno diocese. In 1847, the church was renovated, but still many elements of the temple, including the vaults were in bad condition. The renovation works were continued in 1885-1906.
   
In 1945, as a result of artillery fire, the church was burned and partly demolished. Equipment, most of the altars, sculptures and paintings have been completely devastateed. The vaults and roofs were destroyed, the western facade collapsed. From 1947, the reconstruction of the temple was undertaken, securing the walls and covering with a makeshift roof. In 1953, the partially rebuilt church was consecrated and made available to the congregation.

Architecture

    The originally planned church was to be a three-nave building and much larger than it was finally built, because the project was abandoned due to lack of funds. Only one aisle was built, the northern one. Most of the foundations and part of the walls of the planned building were made, so that the planned expansion of the building could be started at a convenient moment. Around 1496, a stepped, late gothic eastern gable with characteristic two corner towers was completed, and around 1500 a sacristy was added to the chancel. The western wall of the choir also obtained a stepped finial, followed by a small ridge turret. At the beginning of the 17th century, a two-span, hall and single-nava western part was built, preserving elements of the gothic style. The third tower from the side of east gable was also added in 1642, now no longer existing. The monastery buildings, built in parallel and connected with the temple, rose to the north of the church.

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bibliography:
Webpage gedanopedia.pl, Kościół św Józefa (Stare Miasto).