Pyrzyce – church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

History

   The original church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built around the middle of the 13th century as evidenced by the stone, lower part of the tower. Then, in the first half of the fourteenth century, it was rebuilt into a brick pseudobasilic with an extended chancel. It was mentioned for the first time in 1250, on the occasion of land divisions in nearby villages, and six years later prince Barnim I donated its patronage to the monastery of Augustinians in Pyrzyce. In the first half of the fifteenth century under the influence of St. Mary’s Church in Stargard and St. James in Szczecin an ambulatory of the chancel was built. At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, a porches were erected at the west tower.
   Church
originally wore the call of St. Maurice, on this call for the first time appeared in sources in 1312. After 1534 it was taken over by Protestants. In 1596 it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt to 1602. In the mid-nineteenth century it was partially transformed into a neo-gothic style, unified than the size of the windows, introduced new tracery, replaced the main portal in the tower and reconstructed most of the vaults. In 1945, during the battle for the city, the temple was burned down and destroyed, the vaults collapsed. Survived walls of the nave and lower parts of the western tower. In 1948 security work was taken, but they were stopped because of lack of funds. It was only in the years 1958-1966 that the temple was rebuilt.

Architecture

   The church was erected in the very center of the town. It consists of a three-nave pseudobasilic corpus, and a pentagonal ended chancel, since the first half of the fifteenth century surrounded by an ambulatory. From the west a tower is added on a rectangular plan with a porch in the ground floor and annexes on the sides. Outside, the church is clasped with small buttresses decorated with ornamented blendes. The façades are opened with ogival windows. The tower has a decoration in the form of ogival blendes, located on several floors. The nave and the chancel are covered by a common gable roof. Both towers are covered with tent roofs.
   Three ogival, gothic portals lead into the interior. Inside the naves are separated by ogival arcades, supported on octagonal pillars. On the pillars were placed pilaster strips, passing into the arches and the wall fields were divided by groups of five ogival blendes. The bays of the central nave are broaden towards the east, because the lines of the inter-arcades are not parallel. In the presbytery, the central nave consists of three rectangular bays and eastern bay is on the polygon plan. A similar system was used in the ambulatory – three rectangular bays with unequal length and five trapezoidal bays corresponding to the inner polygon. Also in the presbytery the central nave is widening towards the east. Buttresses in the polygon of the ambulatory (preserved from the first phase of the one-nave chancel) are richly decorated with rectangular blendes in three storeys, with the lower ones divided by tracery and gables (similar decorations were used on the parish church in Gryfice).
   The central nave and the presbytery are covered with stellar vaults, while the side aisles and ambulatory contain cross-rib vaults. Those in the ambulatory were founded lower in relation to the central nave of the presbytery, therefore the arcades had to be lowered. Due to this, during the construction of the ambulatory, the upper parts of the original window niches in the nave of the choir had to be walled up (decorated with blendes). The exception was the arcade on the axis, which maintained the original height of the old window, because a vault at the height of the presbytery was installed in the bay behind it. To enable this, massive arch bands were used to support the vault in this bay. The purpose of this construction was to fill the interior of the church with light from the largest eastern window, not obscured by the ambulatory and as a result, an unusual tower on the eastern side of the church grew out of the external façade.

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bibliography:
Jarzewicz J., Architektura średniowieczna Pomorza Zachodniego, Poznań 2019.

Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, 2012.
Website zabytkowekoscioly.net, Pyrzyce, kościół Wniebowzięcia NMP.