The initiator of the monastery complex was the Ciechanów standard-bearer Paweł Kostka. In 1586 he obtained from Pope Sixtus V permission to bring the Bernardine Order to Przasnysz. Work on the construction began in 1588 under the direction of an unknown architect, on the site of the former hospital church of St. James the Apostle. Before 1607 from the funds of Elżbieta Mostowska, chapel of St. Anne was added to the church on the south side. Monastery buildings were erected by the efforts of Jan Nowodworski and his wife Barbara Kretkowska.
In the middle of the 17th century, during the Swedish Deluge, the church was plundered. Bernardians used the church and monastery to dissolution in 1864. They ran a well-known male school and had a rich library. Several monks were involved in patriotic activities during the January Uprising. After 1864 the church was run by the rector, and the monastery was dedicated to secular purposes.
During World War I, these objects were destroyed many times. Since 1916, the preservation work at the church and the monastery was carried out by the Society for the Protection of Monuments of the Past. In 1923 the monastery was taken over by a convent of Passionists. They continued to rebuild the church and monastery from war damage. In the years 1924-28 the roof and the ceiling of the church were reconstructed, and the northern and some other wings of the monastery were reconstructed. During the Nazi occupation, the Germans turned the church into a granary, and the monastery buildings for the hospital and prison. They also demolished the historic fence and the chapel of St. Lawrence of 1615. After the war the church was renovated several times.
Monastery church in Przasnysz is one of the latest gothic churches in Poland. It consists of a four-span nave and a slightly narrower two-span, three-sied ended chancel. On the north side of the church, at the crossing of the nave and the chancel, stands a 32-meter, quadrangular tower, and from the south is the rectangular chapel of St. Anne. The walls of the church are buttressed and the large windows have pointed arches. In the eastern wall of the chancel there is a pointed niche and a circular window, in the south facade of the chapel a large, circular, plastered blende. Gothic gables of nave and chapels are decorated with pinnacles and wimpergs with circular slides. Around 1637, a small porch and a room between the porch and the chapel were placed in front of the facade of the church, with an entrance to the circular stepped turret. The nave and chancel of the church are covered with a barrel vault, with a stellar ribs grid.
Grzybkowski A., Gotycka architektura murowana w Polsce, Warszawa 2016.
Walczak M., Kościoły gotyckie w Polsce, Kraków 2015.
Żabicki J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Mazowsza i Podlasia, Warszawa 2010.
Website wikipedia.org, Kościół św. Jakuba i Anny w Przasnyszu.