Kazimierz Biskupi – Bernardine Friary


   The church of St. John and the Five Brothers Martyrs together with the Bernardine monastery was founded in 1514 by Jan Lubrański and his brother Mikołaj, owners of Kazimierz Biskupi. It was to be a place of worship of saints whose relics, thanks to the efforts of the bishop, were brought in in 1536.
   In 1518 work on the church presbytery was completed. Initially, the monastery buildings were wooden, but soon the buildings were rebuilt into brick ones and the enclosure was completed around 1520 (date on the portal in the cloisters). The construction of the nave of the church was prolonged as a result of water flowing into the excavated foundations. The completed building was consecrated by Bishop Jan Latalski, who was in office between 1525 and 1536, and in 1536 the chapel of St. Anna was attached to the nave from the south, but pulled down in the 18th century.

In the years 1621-1624 elongated northern wing was extended, unfortunately soon the period of the Swedish Deluge wars led to the destruction of the complex. It was rebuilt in the second half of the 17th century. Also, new cloisters and a gate tower, which also served as a belfry, were built at that time. In 1898 the monastery was closed by the tsarist authorities, but already in 1921, the present hosts, Missionaries of the Holy Family, arrived to this site. During World War II, a camp for Polish priests formed by the Germans was located here.


   Gothic church of St. John received an aisleless form, with a slightly narrower, two-bay chancel, closed on three sides in the east. Its nave and presbytery were covered with uniform eight-pointed stellar vaults, while both parts were connected by a relatively narrow chancel arch with edges decorated with quarter shafts. The vaults were mounted on ceramic sections of cornices, placed on smooth walls. From the outside, the entire body of the church was fastened with buttresses, and the western facade was crowned with a monumental gable.
   The Gothic friary adjoining the church was erected on the horseshoe plan from the north. Its buildings marked inside a small square patio. In the two rooms of the east wing, the sacristy and the former treasury, the Gothic stellar vaults have been preserved. In turn, in the cloisters, two late-Gothic portals have survived: a wooden one from 1520 and a stone one from 1508.

Current state

   The Bernardine church and monastery in Kazimierz Biskupi belongs to the best-preserved monastic complexes in Greater Poland (Wielkopolska region). Nowadays, the buildings are occupied by the Higher Theological Seminary and a small missionary museum, housing ethnographic and nature collections.

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Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. T. Mroczko i M. Arszyński, Warszawa 1995.
Kowalski Z., Gotyk wielkopolski. Architektura sakralna XIII-XVI wieku, Poznań 2010.
Maluśkiewicz P., Gotyckie kościoły w Wielkopolsce, Poznań 2008.

Webpage regionwielkopolska.pl, Kościół klasztorny Misjonarzy Świętej Rodziny pw. św. Jana Chrzciciela i Pięciu Braci Męczenników w Kazimierzu Biskupim.