Włocławek – St Witalis Church

History

   Church of St. Witalis was founded in 1330 by bishop Maciej of Gołańcz, after the destruction of the town and the burning of the cathedral by the Teutonic Knights in 1329. Until 1411, it was the replacement of the cathedral, then the hospital church. In 1535 it was restored and vaulted. Since 1569 the church was in use of a seminary. In 1717 a sacristy was erected on the north wall of the chancel. In the years 1851-1853 the church was repaired and in 1888 a new tower was erected. In the years 1930-1934 another repair was made. This time a new music choir was created, using part of the corridor of the seminary building and partially exposed plastered walls. During World War II the church served as a chapel for german soldiers in the hospital, to which the seminar building was adapted. Church of St. Witalis is the oldest architectural monument in Włocławek.

Architecture

   The church was erected as a Gothic building, orientated towards the sides of the world, made of bricks of a Flemish bond. It received a short two-bay chancel closed with three sides, and a pentagonal sacristy next to it from the north. The two-bay nave was slightly wider and slightly higher. The interior was covered with a cross-rib vault from 1535 and a net vault in the nave. To maintain their weight, from the outside the church was clasped with buttresses with one step. The façade was finished with band friezes, while the chancel’s frieze was enlivened by an engraved decoration with tracery motifs.

Current state

   Today, St Witalis Church is one of the oldest architectural monuments in Włocławek, and at the same time the only one that has practically fully preserved Gothic form without major modern transformations (window openings have been enlarged). Currently, the church of St. Witalis is the belongs to the Major Seminary in Włocławek, the buildings of which have absorbed the western facade of the temple.

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bibliography:
Website odznaka.kuj-pom.bydgoszcz.pttk.pl, kościół p.w. św Witalisa we Włocławku.