Świebodzin – St Michael’s Church

History

   The first mention of Świebodzin was recorded in 1302, and of the local parish church in 1311. At that time, it was probably a small timber building, dedicated to St. Peter, replaced by a brick church around the mid-fourteenth century. In the second half or at the end of the 15th century, it was rebuilt into a hall church with central nave and two aisles.
   The medieval church survived unchanged until the great fire that destroyed Świebodzin in 1541. During the reconstruction, which in 1546 the townspeople commissioned to Georg Jakub Curtio and Thomas Heintzio, and which was completed in 1555, the church was enlarged by a third aisle on the north side and a row of chapels with a gallery on the south side.
   In 1570, the church was taken by the Evangelicals, in office until 1657, when the parish came under the authority of the Wrocław bishopric. In the 19th century, the church was in poor condition, and the tower was pulled down. The then parish priest ordered large-scale renovation and restoration works in the years 1850 – 1858.

Architecture

   The original church from the 15th century was a rectangular hall with central nave and two aisles, measuring 31 x 27 meters, with a tower on the west side, and a chancel ended with a pentagon, equipped with an ambulatory, not separated from the body of the church from the outside. In the 16th century, the church was enlarged by a fourth, four-bay aisle on the north side and a row of chapels with a gallery on the south side. The elevations, reinforced with buttresses, were pierced with high, splayed, pointed windows, in the chancel part distinguished in the arches with ceramic moulding in the form of half-shafts. From the west, each aisle was decorated with gables with a pinnacle-blend decoration. The entrance portals were also crowned with pointed arches, with the northern one placed in a porch. Inside, the nave was covered with rich net vaults, two chapels had stellar vaults, and the third one had diamond vault.

Current state

   The shape and layout of the Gothic church were modified in the early modern period, especially in the course of works from the 19th century. A stair turret was added to the south, the facades were decorated with a frieze, and the western part of the building was then rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style. An arcaded porch in the place of the demolished tower and a large tracery flanked by two soaring towers on the axis were added. The annex (sacristy) on the north-eastern side of the church is older, but also early modern. All neo-Gothic modifications were quite neatly combined with the original parts of the church. In the interior, apart from the vaults, the late-Gothic triptych from the 16th century and the late gothic Passion on the rood beam are noteworthy.

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bibliography:
Kowalski S., Zabytki architektury województwa lubuskiego, Zielona Góra 2010.
Murowana architektura romańska i gotycka w Wielkopolsce, red. J.Tomala, tom 1, Kalisz 2007.

Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, Warszawa 2012.