Reszel – St Peter and St Paul’s Church


   The parish in Reszel received a salary in the town charter of 1337. The Gothic church was built around 1360 – 1402, and was mentioned for the first time in written sources on the latter date. At that time, the lower part of the tower was built together with the nave, while the sacristy and porch were built in the 15th century.
   The church was partially destroyed by a fire in 1474. During the reconstruction, which was undertaken the following year, a new eastern gable and a stellar vault were erected. At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries, the tower was raised. At that time, the construction works were led by master Niklis Schewnemann, who is credited with the authorship of the vaults, and then by James Sternberg.

   In 1580 the consecration of the church was made by bishop Marcin Kromer in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the apostles Peter and Paul. After the fire of 1806, the rebuilt church was re-consecrated in 1817 by bishop Andrzej Stanisław Hatten in honor of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul and St. Catherine. In 1837 a new helmet with a lantern was erected, and in 1822-1843 a new interior was created.


   The Gothic church was erected as an orientated, three-aisle, hall structure (all aisles of the same height), without a separate chancel. It was created on a rectangular plan, of bricks on a low stone foundation. On the west side there is a square in plan, eight-storey tower 52 meters high, with a porch in the ground floor. On the north side, there is a porch and sacristy, and between them a single-storey, narrow annex. Unusually at the eastern elevation, on its axis, there is a rectangular one-story library, added in 1471.
   The nave of the building is surrounded with stepped buttresses. There are ogival portals with richly moulded jambs from the second half of the 14th century. The windows are embedded from the inside in wide pointed-arched recesses. The building was decorated with moulded cornices and blind windows, as well as with stepped gables with pinnacles. The eastern gable was divided by a series of cornerly positioned pinnacles. On the top axis there is an octagonal turret for a bell. In the half-gables of the sacristy there are recesses imitating pointed windows.
   The interior of the nave was covered with a stellar vault, supported by four pairs of octagonal pillars and the same number of half-pillars placed by the walls. In the two-story sacristy adjacent to the north, as well as in the porch, stellar and cross-rib vaults were used. From the outside, on the left side of the portal, there is a pillory in the form of a round stone slab from the 14th or 15th century.

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Kościoły i kaplice archidiecezji warmińskiej, tom 1, red. B.Magdziarz, Olsztyn 1999.
Rzempołuch A., Przewodnik po zabytkach sztuki dawnych Prus Wschodnich, Olsztyn 1992.

Website, Kościół pw. św. Apostołów Piotra i Pawła w Reszlu.