Kożuchów – church of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary

History

   The parish church in Kożuchów was built in the mid-thirteenth century as a modest and small building in the northwestern part of the then town center. The oldest mention of it appeared in 1273 in the document of Prince Henry III of Głogów, while information from 1287 recorded that Henry III gave patronage over the church to the Teutonic order.
   After being destroyed in a fire in 1339, the church was rebuilt and enlarged at the initiative of Henry V in 1340-1369. The same length of the nave was preserved, but its width was increased by 10 meters. An old chancel also stayed, although it was enlarged by a side aisle. Further expansion was made at the end of the fourteenth and in the fifteenth century from the foundation of the Głogów princes, adding chapels, porches and the sacristy. Henry IX and his successor Henry XI rested in the newly created crypts of the chapels. As a result of the fire of 1554, another renovation and reconstruction was needed, culminating in the vaulting over the presbytery and nave.

  
In 1725, the baroque Olives Chapel was added. In this century, after another fire, the temple gained new roofs and the top of the tower. The church survived the Second World War happily without major damages.

Architecture

   The original church from the thirteenth century was a not very large stone building consisting of a rectangular nave with a 1.8-meter thick wall and a narrower, also rectangular chancel with a wall thickness of 1.5 meters. The dimensions of the chancel were 8.7 x 15.1 meters, while the nave about 12.5 x 21.6 meters. The west wall received two diagonal buttresses and a window (maybe round) and a three-stepped entrance portal on the axis with columns on the sides. Its archivolt had an ogival form. Buttresses, probably also located along the longitudinal walls, indicate that the church was planned to be vaulted. Its large width rather excluded a single-space interior, while the two-aisle arrangement excluded a large window and west portal. Thus, the church probably had a three-aisle form, covered by one gable roof above the nave and one above the chancel.
   In the fourteenth or at the end of the thirteenth century, a four-sided tower was added from the north side of the presbytery. For the construction of its walls, 2.7 meters thick, erratic stones and bricks were used in the lower part, while the upper octagonal part of the tower was built entirely of bricks. An entrance opening from the north from the presbytery and a small passage from the northern aisle led to the ground floor of the tower.
   The first major extension from the mid-fourteenth century consisted of widening the brick nave by ten meters, by two new aisles and the construction of a high western porch at the end of that century (its lofty height was forced by the western window). As the traces of arcades indicate, it was open on three sides. A southern aisle was erected at the presbytery and a sacristy added to it. The side aisle was connected by arcades in the southern wall of the presbytery, while its interior and the inside of the nave were covered with vaults. Bays spacing was determined by inter-nave pillars and buttresses attached to the external walls.

  
In the 15th century, chapels of the Holy Cross and All Saints, opened by arcades to the interior, were added to the northern aisle. In the second half of the fifteenth century, the church was enlarged with further chapels and a porch, this time added to the southern aisle. At the end of the fifteenth century, a new, larger sacristy was erected on the north side. It received a net vault, while the naves, presbytery and chapels were topped with rib vaults. In the mid-sixteenth century, the walls of the chancel were raised, aligning them with the walls of naves, and the whole church was covered with three parallel roofs.

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bibliography:
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.