Głubczyce – church of the Nativity the Blessed Virgin Mary


    The construction of the parish church in Głubczyce began in the third quarter of the 13th century. The first record of it appeared in the document from 1259, and again in 1279, when the patronage passed to the Order of St. John (Knights Hospitallers). Construction continued in the fourteenth century, to about the second quarter of that century. At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, a free-standing chapel of St. Fabian and Sebastian was built at the church.
In the years 1535-1633, the parish church together with the entire principality of Głubczyce was managed by Protestants. In their times, in 1579 the southern tower was raised, and the interior design and equipment of the church probably changed in connection with the different requirements of the new liturgy. From the mid -seventeenth century, the building was again administered by the Knights Hospitallers, who were patrons of the buidling until 1810, when the order was abolished by King Frederick William III.
   In 1826, the nave was covered with one common roof, but the medieval appearance of the church only changed the reconstruction from 1903-1907.
The two-bay chancel of the church was pulled down than, a transverse nave, that is transept, was added to the nave and the previously demolished choir was rebuilt on today’s site, but only with one bay (although original corbels, wall shafts and ribs were used). The tower was also rebuilt than and a new west gable was erected.


    The church was built of bricks on a stone foundation in the north-west part of the town, separated by a block of residential buildings from the market square. Originally it was built as a three-aisle basilica with a nave on a square plan with a side length of 23.5 meters, to which from the east was a two-bay choir, polygonally ended, and from the west a two-tower facade. On the north side there was a three-bay sacristy.
   Perhaps in the 13th century the temple from the basilica was transformed into a three-aisle hall church with gable roofs above each of the aisles (due to their large width of 6.8 meters in the side aisles and 7.3 meters in the central aisle), although the theory of the basilica phase of the church is sometimes questioned because of the wide aisles (the nave of the basilica should have narrower aisles) and no signs of walling up. In this case, from the very beginning, the church would be a hall building, one of the earliest of its kind in Silesia (next to the parish churches in Racibórz and Złotoryja).
   The church was surrounded with buttresses, between which there were ogival, spalyed on both sides windows with traceries. The facades rested on a plinth with a moulded cornice, cordon cornices separated the floors of the towers. Three ogival, early Gothic entrance portals led into the interior: on the axis of the west facade and in the central bays of the aisles. The west portal received a projected form and was separated without visible stepps. The west and south portals received a zone of capitals with floral and leaf decorations and a zone of bases with disc forms on cylindrical pedestals.
The interior of the nave and chancel was covered with cross-rib vaults, with arch bands between the aisles. Foursided pillars with cut corners were embedded on low plinths with moulded bases and equipped with shafts with stone capitals of plant decoration from the second quarter of the fourteenth century. The capitals of the shafts in the porch and ground floor of the towers obtained a chalice form. The interiors of the western towers were open to the interior of the nave, but not very wide arcades did not integrate space. In the chancel there were two rectangular bays and the eastern, polygonal bay. An arcade separated the central nave from the chancel.
Next to the church there is a two-bay chapel of Saint Fabian and Sebastian from the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. It is a small aisleless building with buttresses in the corners and around the polygonal east part. The western side is crowned with a Gothic gable decorated with blendes and pinnacles, under which an oculus and an ogival entrance portal are placed.

Current state

   To this day, the nave and the eastern closure of the chancel have survived from the medieval building. The whole wide transept is a modern building, although during its construction architectural details from the original presbytery were used (vaults ribs, corbels). The neo-Gothic form was obtained by the western gable, the culmination of the western portal projection, and the upper floors of the towers. The original roofs were higher and probably gable above each aisle. The windows of the medieval part of the church retained their original form, but unfortunately their traceries were renovated in the nineteenth century.

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Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. M.Arszyński, T.Mroczko, Warszawa 1995.

Kozaczewska H., Średniowieczne kościoły halowe na Śląsku, “Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki”, 1-4, Warszawa 2013.
Kozaczewska-Golasz H., Halowe kościoły z XIII wieku na Śląsku, Wrocław 2015.

Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Górnego Śląska, Warszawa 2008.