Gryfice – church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

History

   The beginnings of the church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary fall at the turn of the 13th / 14th centuries. The first reference from 1297 mentions the parish priest Ludevinus. The construction was started probably a dozen years later. At the beginning, the eastern part of the church was built, which is today’s chancel. At the same time, a chapel of the Virgin Mary was established, which until 1534 played the role of a church treasury. The nave, meaning the central part of the present church, was built in the years 1300-1350. A different span of load-bearing walls was used in the construction. The south is wider than the north. Several dozen years later, probably at the beginning of the fifteenth century, a church tower was erected. Originally it was made on a granite substructure with higher brick parts, while the upper part was made of wood. It had a gable roof with a slender, pointed helmet. Its present appearance is the result of subsequent reconstructions after fires in 1496, 1562, 1568 and 1658. The last stage of the expansion was the St. Mary’s Chapel, which was located at the north elevation of the nave. Its completion in 1498 crowned the process of the formation of the temple.
  
Until December 13, 1534, the temple was subordinate to the Latin Church, then, as a result of the Reformation, it was taken over by the Lutheran Church. This caused a significant neglect of the object, managed by the deacons of that time. Restoration work was undertaken at the beginning of the 17th century and after a great fire in 1658. Further renovations were carried out in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when the rib vaults, the pinnacles of the eastern gable and windows tracery were reconstructed.

Architecture

   The church is composed of a three-span chancel, ended by a straight wall and a four-span, three-nave, hall structure. At the chancel from the south there is a two-storey sacristy. The nave from the north is adjoined by the St. Mary’s chapel, and from the west a massive tower. At the western corners of the nave there are slender, octagonal stair towers. Outside, the church is clasped with buttresses, between which there are pointed, three-part windows. The east wall of the chancel is crowned with a triangular gable with two zones of bipartite blendes. Below is a large pointed window with a tracery. Under the eaves, the church is surrounded by ceramic friezes with motifs of rosettes and vines. The church is covered with gable roofs. The massive tower is four-storey, decorated in the upper parts with rows of niches filled with twin and circular blendes.
  
The chancel and the nave cover the rib vaults. In the nave, they are supported on octagonal pillars and pointed, inter-nave arcades. The ground floor of the tower and the sacristy are covered with stellar vaults. St. Mary’s Chapel is covered with a rib vault, originally supported on the central pillar. Inside the church there are several valuable pieces of equipment. The oldest is a late gothic triptych from the beginning of the 16th century and a romanesque baptismal font.

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bibliography:
Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. T. Mroczko i M. Arszyński, Warszawa 1995.
Pilch.J, Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej.
Webpage wikipedia.org, Kościół Wniebowzięcia Najświętszej Maryi Panny w Gryficach.
Webpage zabytkowekoscioly.net, Gryfice, kościół Wniebowzięcia NMP.