Wrocław – Corpus Christi Church

History

     In the thirteenth century Order of Saint John received goods near Wrocław in the village of Gaj south of the city. In 1320 the church or the chapel of Corpus Christi is mentioned, and in 1351 the church of the Hospitallers is mentioned. In 1369 a cloister was erected, which connected church with commandery on opposite side of the street. Gothic body of the church dates back to the first half of the 15th century. The church, located at the city walls and at the Swidnica Gate, was also a defensive facility.
   
In the following decades it was rebuilt several times. In 1700 interior was transformed into a baroque. In 1749, it was severely damaged during the explosion of the powder tower. From 1758 to 1763, during the Seven Years War, it served as a grain store. Despite subsequent expensive repairs, it was again occupied and devastated by city defenders, first in the years 1778-1790, later in the face of the impending Napoleonic troops in 1805. In 1826 the church was taken over by the Prussian state and at that time the cloister was demolished. Since the 1930s, church renovations and repairs have been carried out, which lasted nearly half a century. In 1875 a neo-gothic porch was erected, and from 1875 to 1920 the church served the Old Catholics. Further repairs were made in 1927-1929, then in 1935-1937. The siege of Wrocław at the beginning of 1945 caused massive destruction of the church. After the war, it was temporarily covered by a roof. Reconstruction was carried out in 1955-1962, and then in the next stage in 1967-1970.

Architecture

     The church is gothic basilic with three aisles. Its length is 39 meters, width 25 meters, and the height of the central nave walls is 27 meters. The central nave has no separated chancel, it has five-span and its triangular ended. The aisles are finished with perpendicular walls. The outer surface of the aisles is fitted with the outline of the buttresses so that they are smooth. The also smooth western façade is decorated with slender pointed window and a ceramic gable with blendes and pinnacles. The church never had a main tower, which was required by the rule of the Order of Saint John, which emphasized the vows of poverty and lack of domination.
    Originally from the church ran an indoor porch to the existing opposite commandry. Inside the church, a gothic sacramentarium from the 15th century and the tombstone of two Hospitallers are preserved on the north wall of the aisle.

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bibliography:
Pilch J, Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.
Website wikipedia.org, Kościół Bożego Ciała we Wrocławiu.