Świerzawa – church of St John and St Catherine

History

   The church was built in the second half of the 13th century. In 1263, local priest Walter was mentioned in the documents. From 1552 it served Evangelicals, which was taken away in 1654. In 1506 to the church was added tower, southern annex and vestry. Since 1713 it was a cemetery church. After the displacement of local Germans after 1945 the church began to destroy, but fortunately avoided total devastation. The first maintenance work was carried out in 1959, the next in the 1960s and from 1977 to the present day. The church is no longer sacred, but functions as museum and exhibition.

Architecture

   The church is made of unworked stone and sandstone (used in window frames and portals), one-nave with dimensions 11.6 x 17.5 meters, with a four-sided chancel measuring 8.5 x 8.5 meters closed with a semicircular apse and a tower from the west added in the 16th century. The sacristy adjoins the chancel from the north, while on the south-west side there is a four-sided annex from the 16th century. Nave and chancel are covered with a timber ceiling supported on two pillars. In the apse there are three romanesque windows with columns. On the western and southern sides there are two gothic portals.
   Inside, on the western side, there is an early modern empora, however, it had to have its medieval predecessor, as evidenced by the entrance opening in the upper part of the western wall. A medieval stone altar has been preserved in the presbytery, but t
he real work of art is a magnificent portal with the Tree of Life, dating back to the twelfth century. Inside the chancel there are paintings of animal and plant life, presenting, among others, birds, fish and fantastic animals, probably from the thirteenth century.

Current state

   Because of the state of preservation and lack of major alterations is a very valuable monument of romanesque architecture. Only the southern window in the chancel and the south-eastern one in the nave were enlarged during the construction of the tower and annex in the 16th century. The southern portal in the nave probably also comes from this period, and the chancel portal has been bricked up than. At present church no longer sacral functions, but it is museum. In the summer season it is open from 10.00 to 18.00.

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bibliography:
Dzieje budownictwa w Polsce według Oskara Sosnowskiego, t. 1, Świechowski Z., Zachwatowicz J., Warszawa 1964.

Jarzewicz J., Kościoły romańskie w Polsce, Kraków 2014.
Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.
Świechowski Z., Architektura na Śląsku do połowy XIII wieku, Warszawa 1955.