Racibórz – St James Church


    Church of St James is the only remnant of the monastery. Its construction is connected with bringing to the city the Dominican Order about 1258. The church was built quite fast and probably already in the same year was consecrated by the bishop of Wrocław, Thomas I. The monastery,  according to the rule of the convent, was erected within the town walls, near the then market square. The building burned in 1300, and its present appearance dates back to the early 15th century. Another fire in 1637 resulted in the reconstruction of the church, ended in 1655. In 1810, after the dissolution of the Dominican monastery, the church also was to be liquidated. However, as a result of the clergy’s efforts, an agreement was reached. It was said that the church of St. James will not be demolished and there will be in it celebrations in Polish language. There was also a reconstruction, as a result of which, the western facade was given neo-roman character, while neo-gothic was given to the tower and side elevations. In 1945, during the war, the church suffered serious damage.


   The church is a building orientated towards the sides of the world, built of brick. It consists of a rectangular nave and a narrower, elongated, four-span chancel with a three-sided end to the east. In the southern corner of the lower nave and the higher presbytery, there is a squat tower topped with a pyramid roof. A row of annexes, the remnants of the former monastery, adjoins the chancel from the north. They were adapted to the sacristy, storerooms and staircase. A shallow porch was added to the nave at the southern side. The elevations of the church were varied with symmetrically arranged, ogival and semicircular windows, placed between buttresses.
The original church, modeled on the Dominican church of Holy Cross in Wrocław, was subordinated to strict religious regulations, as evidenced by the construction of a single nave covered with a timber ceiling, an extended chancel and the lack of a tower, which was added from the south at a later stage, probably at the end of the 14th or the beginning of the 15th century.

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Pilch J, Leksykon zabytków architektury Górnego Śląska, Warszawa 2008.
Website wikipedia.org, Kościół św. Jakuba w Raciborzu.