Przeworsk – monastery and church of St Barbara

History

   Monastery church of St. Barbara was built in the years 1461-1465 from the foundation of Rafał Tarnowski, the owner of Przeworsk and later the grand mareschalus of Regni Poloniae. The monastery buildings were erected by the Bernardines themselves in the years 1465-1489. The decision about the foundation was influenced by religious motives, a desire to strengthen the city’s prestige and manifest wealth of the Tarnowski family. The monastery was also to play a significant role in the so-called a Russian mission led by king Casimir the Jagiellon and saint John of Capistrano, whose aim was to reaffirm the Catholic population and convert the Orthodox population in the Red Ruthenia.
     
The great invasion of the Turks and Tatars in 1498, although it did not reach Przeworsk itself, was an impulse to build the monastery’s defensive walls in 1506, to ensure the safety of the monks and the surrounding population. Funds were provided by the city and nearby nobility. At the beginning of the 17th century, the church gained a mannerist gable above the chancel and an octagonal tower erected in 1644, topped with a roof with an attic, serving as a watchtower during the threat of invasions from the east. The Great Northern War and the frequent marches through Przeworsk of various armies, were a burden to the convent, but there were no major fights or requisitions. The General Commission in 1725 described the good order in the monastery, as well as religious discipline and the state of the building.
    
In 1822, the Galician bishops decided to put in a part of the monastery buildings a correction house for diocesan priests. The monastic authorities tried to oppose such a solution by asking the emperor Francis I to withdraw his decision, but to no avail. The rooms for priests were located in the south and west wing of the convent. Later, the authorities were even inclined to completely take over the convent, but the monastery eventually remained in the hands of the order, and the correctional house was liquidated in 1869. At that time, the archival and library collections were largely dispersed. Many manuscripts and antique books through antiquarians went to private collections. In the late nineteenth century, the situation improved, the first renovations and restorations of the temple began.

Architecture

     The monastery church is a late-gothic, three-aisled church on a rectangular plan with a three-side ended chancel topped with a rib vault. The west façade of the church is decorated with a gothic crow-stepped gable with narrow, vertical blendes. To the south of the church, three wings of monastic buildings were erected, which together with cloisters surrounded a small patio.

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bibliography:
Website wikipedia.org, Kościół i klasztor Bernardynów pw. św. Barbary w Przeworsku.