Opole – Holy Trinity Church

History

   The church of Holy Trinity was built at the beginning of the 14th century as a temple of the Franciscan monastery, brought to Opole in 1238. Their first Opole church was destroyed by the Tatar invasion in 1241, and the second by fire in 1307. Around 1309, in the newly erected temple, the chapel of St. Anne was built from the south. It was founded by the Piast princes as a burial chapel. In the fifteenth century, the tower and the next chapels were added to the building. In the second half of the fifteenth century, the chapel of St. Anna, and at the end of that century a northern tower was erected at the corner of the chancel and nave.
   
In 1516, prince Jan II the Good removed the Franciscans from the monastery, and in their place brought the Bernardines. In 1605, the church and monastery were taken over again by the Franciscans. Ten years later, the objects burnt down and further destruction was caused by the Thirty Years War. Once again, the church and monastery were rebuilt in 1646. During the Swedish Deluge, in the years 1655-1656, the chancery of king Jan Kazimierz was in the monastery. In the refectory on November 30, 1655, the royal proclamation was called to call upon the Polish nation to rise against the Swedes.
  
Fires from 1682 and 1739 caused further serious damage. During the reconstruction, elements of mannerism and baroque were introduced to the church’s architecture, but retained its original, gothic shape. In the years 1813-1814 it housed a lazaret of the Russian army. From 1820 to 1945, the temple belonged to evangelicals. In 1899, the upper part of the church tower was rebuilt. During World War II, the monastery was burned and the church seriously damaged.

Architecture

   It is a three-nave church with a Franciscan monastery and chapel of St. Anna as a link between them, adjacent to it. It is composed of a four-span chancel, enclosed by a straight wall and a three-nave and four-span hall corpus. The walls of the church are buttressed. In the chancel between the buttresses there are pointed windows with tracery, and above the ceramic, arcade frieze. From the north, a tower, built in the 15th century, is added at the junction of the nave and the presbytery.
  
The chancel is covered with a groin vault, and the nave covers the barrel-groin vaults. Chapel of St. Anna has a fifteenth-century three-span stellar vault. In the boss, in the middle of the vault, there is a golden eagle in the crown on the blue field, the coat of arms of the Duchy of Opole-Racibórz. On the ceiling of the chapel, the gothic polychrome from the second half of the 14th century has survived. The chapel is a mausoleum of the Opole Piasts with carved tombstones of Bolko I, Bolko II, Bolko III and duchess Anna of Oświęcim from 1378-1382. An important monument is also the gothic polychromies from the first half of the fourteenth century on the walls of the central crypt under the presbytery. They are the oldest preserved wall paintings in Silesia.

 

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bibliography:
Grzybkowski A., Gotycka architektura murowana w Polsce, Warszawa 2016.
Kozaczewska H., Średniowieczne kościoły halowe na Śląsku, “Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki”, 1-4, Warszawa 2013.

Leksykon zamków w Polsce, L.Kajzer, S.Kołodziejski, J.Salm, Warszawa 2003.