Tczew – church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

History

   The first brick church in Tczew was built in the middle of the 13th century. Erected at that time tower preserved to this day, but this primary church was almost completely destroyed in 1308, after the town was taken over by the Teutonic Order. The subsequent dynamic development of the city contributed to the reconstruction and extension of the temple. At the burnt-out tower a church was added, starting with the chancel, followed by the main nave and aisles. To the north wall of chancel, sacristy and treasury were added. The whole was finished before 1364.
   From the beginning of the 16th century to 1595 the church was in common ownership of Catholics and Lutherans.
In 1577, a part of Stefan Batory’s army going to Gdańsk set the camp under the walls of Tczew. As a result of accidental fire by the soldiers, almost the entire city burned down, in this parish church. Damages were removed after about six years. In the early nineteenth century the temple was in very poor condition. Devotions were transferred to the Dominican church and in 1838 a general renovation was started. World War II did not cause much damage to the church.

Architecture

   The church since the 14th century has been in the form of a four-span, three-nave hall, a five-side ended chancel from the east and a massive tower from the west side. The treasury and sacristy were added to the chancel. Inside the church stellar vaults were installed.
   
In the second half of the fourteenth century, the church’s corpus was raised, and on its sides were successively built chapels, equal to its height (inside one of them were discovered valuable fourteenth-century frescos). A matroneum was also built over the southern porch, and at the chancel, on the extension of the southern aisle, a two-bay chapel was erected.

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bibliography:
Grzyb A., Strzeliński K., Najstarsze kościoły Kociewia, Starogard Gdański, 2008.

Website fara.tczew.pl, Historia Tczewskiej Fary.