Łomża – St Michael’s cathedral

History

   The largest gothic church in the northern part of Mazovia began to be built in 1504. The founder was Anna Radziwiłł, wife of the duke of Mazovia Konrad II Rudy and her sons: Janusz and Stanisław. The local patron and canon of the cathedral chapter in Płock – Jan Wojsławski is considered the proper patron of the building. The vaults were ready in 1526, but the finishing works lasted four more years, and the consecration was made by bishop Andrzej Krzycki in 1530.
   As a result of the destructions during the Swedish Deluge, in the years 1691-1692, a renovation took place, as a result of which the church’s decoration changed from gothic to baroque, according to the design of Józef Szymon Bellotti. It was erected, among others, a new west gable. The church was also rebuilt in the nineteenth century, but the traces of later interventions were largely removed during a thorough regothisation, taken after the destruction of World War II. Repairs were carried out in the years 1953-1958.

Architecture

   The church was initially supposed to be a basilica, but the planned proportions of aisles were too ambitious for masters supervising the construction and around the mid-sixteenth century, in fear of disaster, layout was changed to the pseudobasilica system, lowering the walls of the central nave and lifting walls of the aisles. The whole temple is built of brick with a large use of zendrówka. A short but rather wide presbytery is pentagonal ended. At the northern side of the corpus there is a gothic, free standing belfry with a porch in the ground floor.
   In the nave of the church, stellar and net vaults were used, while in the aisles, diamond ones. The whole church surprises with the scale and diligence of performance, quite unusual in the Mazovia region. A number of solutions, for example impressive diamond vaults, prove the impact of Gdańsk buildings.

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bibliography:
Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. T. Mroczko i M. Arszyński, Warszawa 1995.
Walczak M., Kościoły gotyckie w Polsce, Kraków 2015.