Gryfino – church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

History

   The original church was erected between 1254, when the town was founded under the Magdeburg Law, and 1278, when prince Barnim I transferred the patronage of the Gryfino temple to the collegiate church of St. Mary in Szczecin. The second stage of construction was probably carried out around 1300, then the church was rebuilt into a basilica. When in 1325, prince Otto I offered the second altar, the temple had to be completed in the main framework. The third stage of construction took place in the fifteenth century, when the side aisles and the tower were raised, stellar vaults were established and the windows were adapted to the layout of the vaults.
   In the 16th century, the temple was taken over by Protestants. In early modern times, the architecture of the temple has not fundamentally changed. Unfortunately, during the fire of the town in 1530, the church was partially destroyed, and in 1725 the gothic tower helmet was destroyed by a thunderbolt. A serious restaurant took place in the nineteenth century under the direction of the architect Buchterkirch, known for not very successful regothisations of Pomeranian temples. In 1938, the medieval cone on the tower was changed into a neo-baroque helmet that collide with the gothic architecture.

Architecture

   In the 13th century, the eastern part of the church, that is the chancel and transept, was erected on the plot in the northern frontage of the market. These parties were built of stone blows with the addition of bricks in architectural details. Until 1325, a basilica church was built from bricks, with three naves of one bay each and a western tower, made of stones in the lower part. In the fifteenth century, the side aisels were raised to the height of the central nave and vaults were established. Until then, the temple was covered with a wooden ceiling.
   Finally, the medieval church consisted of a rectangular chancel, transept, a single-bay, three-nave hall structure, a tower added from the west to the nave and sacristy adjoining the chancel from the north. The tower was erected on a square plan. Originally, it was two-storey with a porch in the ground  floor. At the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries it was raised by the third and fourth floor with blendes decoration and twin, ogival windows. The elevations of the church are surrounded by buttresses and crowned with triangular gables decorated with ogival blendes. The entire building is covered with gable roofs. In the east wall of the chancel, a large, four-light ogival window was placed, entering the gable zone, which was added around 1300. Stepped arranged, alternately pointed and trefoil ended blendes were placed on it. In the northern and southern façades of the transept, there are portals with granite reveals and a brick archivolts.
   In the interior, individual parts of the space were separated with arch bands. Massive, stocky pillars on the L-plan set the boundaries of the transept and nave. The vaults were set rather low, which gave them a dynamic expression with their considerable span. In the main parts: the presbytery, the transept, the central nave and the ground floor of the tower, stellar vaults were used, while in the presbytery and the tower, the four-sided, and the other ones eight-sided. Above the aisles there is a rib vault, and a part of the transept protruding beyond the extent of the side aisles is separated by arches cutting off narrow bays, which have been covered with cross-ribbed vaults.

Current state
 
   The church has been preserved to this day in the form given to it by a not very successful 19th-century renovation. Especially it touched the gables of the building, which, except for the east one at the chancel, come from the period of neo-gothic renovation. The appearance of the original temple is also interfering with the 20th-century neo-renaissance helmet of the tower, which is all the more sad because the medieval temples on the Greek cross plan are rarely found in West Pomerania.
 

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bibliography:
Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. T. Mroczko i M. Arszyński, Warszawa 1995.
Jarzewicz J., Architektura średniowieczna Pomorza Zachodniego, Poznań 2019.

Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, 2012.
Webpage zabytkowekoscioly.net, Gryfino, kościół Narodzenia NMP.