Świecie nad Wisłą – St Stanislaus Church

History

   The chancel, sacristy and the base of the church tower were built in the years 1400-1410, after stabilizing the situation in connection with the town’s relocation to the other bank of the Wda River and after the construction of the city’s defensive walls, more important from the defense point of view, requiring high labor and finance and building materials. It was not until after 1470 that work continued on the nave. The break in construction was caused by continuous Polish-Teutonic wars, army marches and war damages from 1455, or a flood five years earlier. Despite the calmer political situation in the second half of the 15th century, until 1480 only the pillars between the aisles were raised and the tower was raised to the third floor.
   The building was consecrated in 1521, but after another break, construction works were resumed in the second half of the 16th century. At that time, the construction of the nave was completed, according to a changed, rather primitive plan, which eventually received the shape of a basilica.
   The church survived the Swedish-Polish wars from the first half of the 17th century and was rebuilt in the Renaissance style in the second half of the century. At that time, the side aisles were caulted, the gables of the tower were built, and the presbytery and central nave were covered with decorated ceilings with scenes from the life of Christ and stylized floral ornaments. Despite the floods and fires of the town, the church survived without major losses until 1945, when it was significantly damaged during military operations. Its reconstruction was carried out in 1983-1988.

Architecture

   The church was located in the north-west corner of the medieval town. At the end of the Middle Ages, it consisted of a three-aisle nave, originally planned as a hall one, with much smaller than originally assumed width of side aisles, a narrower but higher chancel on the eastern side and a three-story tower on the western side. The incorporation of the finished walls of the hall nave into the basilica form in the 16th century caused the necessity to use the upper parts of the existing nave pillars as elements of the external side aisles walls, which eventually resulted in a rather unusual structure.
   The chancel was closed from the east with a straight wall, crowned with a gable decorated with pinnacles and blendes and reinforced with buttresses. Its eastern façade was pierced with a single ogival window flanked by two niches of identical design. In addition to the chancel, the sacristy with rib vault inside was also given a Gothic form. Judging by the buttresses at the presbytery, it was also supposed to be vaulted, but it was probably never realized. Both the chancel and the nave were covered throughout the end of the Middle Ages by flat wooden ceilings.

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bibliography:
Dzieje Świecia nad Wisłą i jego regionu, red. K.Jasiński, t. 2, Warszawa 1980.

Grzyb A., Strzeliński K., Najstarsze kościoły Kociewia, Starogard Gdański, 2008.
Website odznaka.kuj-pom.bydgoszcz.pttk.pl, kościół p.w. św Stanisława Biskupa i Matki Boskiej Częstochowskiej w Świeciu.