Kamień Pomorski – St John’s cathedral

History

   The cathedral was founded in 1176 by the Pomeranian prince Kazimierz I in relation with the relocation of the seat of Pomeranian bishops from nearby Wolin. Originally, the temple was erected in the romanesque style. In the years 1180-1210 the chancel and choir with transept were erected, and the sacristy was added to the main corpus. The southern porch was built in the years 1230-1250. In 1308, the unfinished building was destroyed by Brandenburg troops. After the work was resumed, the construction of the basilica was continued in the gothic style. After 1310, cloisters on the northern side were erected, and in the years 1325-1350, a gothic room was added over the eastern wing of the cathedral, in which later the cathedral treasury was located. At the beginning of the fourteenth century paintings were created on the vault of the presbytery and in the apse. At the same time, the basilic corpus was built on the original romanesque foundation, a gothic brick tower and a rood screen in front of the chancel. In 1419, the Lepel chapel adjacent to the nave was built. The church was completed at the end of the 15th century. The chapter house adjoining to the chancel from the south, was built then.
  
In 1535 the cathedral passed into the hands of the evangelical church. During the Thirty Years War, the interior was destroyed, but thanks to the generosity of prince Ernest Bogusław von Croya, in the second half of the 17th century, the temple acquired new baroque furnishings. In 1802, the gothic tower of the cathedral was demolished. The new, neo-gothic bell tower was erected in 1855, and renovation works were carried out. In the 1960s, the temple was regothisated and renovated.

Architecture

   The cathedral is a romanesque-gothic building built of brick in the monk bond and granite blocks in the lower parts of the transept. The church is a three-nave temple with a square presbytery finished with an apse. From the north there is a two-span vestry and cloisters with a storey east wing, surrounding the inner courtyard. In the south there is a chapter house on the square plan and porch. The early modern tower is from the west. The cathedral, with the relative simplicity of the design, surprises with the diversity of details: narrow, pointed windows of various forms, arcaded cornices, pilaster strips, late gothic attics. The walls of the gothic naves are reinforced with buttresses, between which large three-light, ogival windows are placed. The elevation of the southern aisle is topped with an openwork attic, consisting of triangular gables with rich decorations. The church over the presbytery, transept and the nave is covered with gable roofs, whereas the side aisles are covered with mono-pitched roofs.
  
The interiors of the chancel, transept and part of the nave are covered with rib vaults, the southern nave is covered with a stellar vault. The central nave is open to the aisles with large, pointed arcades. There are fragments of polychrome from the first half of the 14th century preserved on the vault of the presbytery and nave. In the main altar there is a late gothic triptych from around 1520, and the early gothic baptismal font from the 14th century is placed in the northern arm of the transept. There is a gothic crucifix from the mid-15th century in the chancel arch. On the wall of the southern arm of the transept, paintings from 1527 are hung.

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bibliography:
Jarzewicz J., Kościoły romańskie w Polsce, Kraków 2014.
Pilch.J, Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, 2012.
Sztuka polska przedromańska i romańska do schyłku XIII wieku, red. M. Walicki, Warszawa 1971.

Webpage zabytkowekoscioly.net, Kamień Pomorski, katedra św. Jana Chrzciciela.