Małujowice – St James church

History

   The parish church of Saint James the Apostle, originally dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, was built in 1250. In the first half of the 14th century, it was partially rebuilt and extended by the owner of Małujowice, Samborius. In the 60s of the 14th century, there were rich, early-gothic polychromies on the subject of Old and New Testament, made by an artist from the Prague school. They were located on the ceiling of the nave of the church at the time. At the beginning of the fifteenth century, a tower and a vestibule were added, and the walls and ceiling were covered with a new series of biblical polychromes. Due to the destruction caused by the Hussites, painting work was completed only in 1480. In 1500, a new ceiling was built in the nave, composed of over 600 planks with colorful plant, animal and heraldic ornaments. Since then, no major construction works have been carried out in the church.
   
In 1526 the temple was taken over by protestants, and in 1817 all the paintings were covered with plaster. In the 1860s, the plaster in the central nave was removeed, and the polychromes underwent a very professional restaurant, consisting of, among others, on painting the missing fragments and repainting the poorly preserved ones. In 1945, the church was taken over by Catholics, and in 1964 the oldest polychrome was discovered in the attic.

Architecture

    The church is composed of a two-span chancel, ended by a straight wall and a rectangular nave, to which from the west a square tower with annexes on the sides is added. The tower is preceded by a three-span porch. Another porch is added to the nave from the south, while from the north the sacristy adheres to the chancel. Outside, the church is clasped with buttresses, between which there are pointed, three-light windows in the nave, and two-light windows in the chancel. The church is covered with gable roofs. In the vestibule of the tower there is a gothic, pointed portal with depicting of the coronation of the Virgin Mary, visitation of Saint Elizabeth and bowing of three kings. The tympanum is framed by a series of sculptures of wise and stupid virgins and carved rosettes and floral elements. The southern porch is topped with a late-renaissance gable.
    
Inside, the chancel is covered with a rib vault, the nave is covered with a flat ceiling. The chancel from the nave is separated by a pointed arcade. Vaults and walls are covered with valuable gothic and renaissance paintings. The oldest gothic paintings from the fourth quarter of the 14th century have survived on the top walls of the nave. On the walls of the chancel there are gothic paintings from around 1450-1460. Somewhat later are paintings in the nave: on the walls from 1483, and on the ceiling from the first quarter of the sixteenth century. A baptismal font and tabernacle also belong to the gothic furnishings.

Current state

   Currently, the church located on the route of Brzeg polychromy has one of the richest cycles of gothic wall paintings in Poland. A gothic, richly carved portal with a tympanum is also very valuable. The temple performs sacral functions, but is open to visitors.

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bibliography:
Pilch J, Leksykon zabytków architektury Górnego Śląska, Warszawa 2008.
Website wikipedia.org, Małujowice.