Wrocław – St Matthias’ Church


   The history of the church dates back to the first quarter of the 13th century, when a chapel was erected at the nearby Henry’s the Bearded manor. The church consisted of a two-span nave and also a two-span, narrower and longer chancel.
In 1243 or 1248 princess Anne, a widow of Henry the Pious, founded a hospital of St. Elisabeth, and in 1253 she brought the Crusaders with the Red Star, forming the monastery of this Order and the church also handed over to the monks. Around 1300, the chancel was rebuilt, giving it a three-sided closure, and the construction of the tower began. Subsequent construction phases took place at the end of the fourteenth century and at the beginning of the fifteenth century, when to the nave was added triangular ends of the chancel, giving the temple plan of the cross. Finishing of the pyramid-shaped bronze helmet of the tower took place in 1487.
In 1569 the church was rebuilt, raising the nave walls and building new vaults. In 1662 the upper part of the tower was demolished and replaced with a baroque onion roof. Later, the interior was changed to baroque and the porch was added from the south. After the secularization of the Order, the temple became an auxiliary parish church. In the years 1895-1896 it underwent a major overhaul. Damaged during the fighting in 1945, the church has long been neglected. Eventually it was rebuilt in 1961-1966.


   The church is orientated, built on a cruciform plan, with the transept arms ended polygonally and with a rectangular nave on the west. The nave is short, two-bay, the chancel on the eastern side is also two-bay, ended pentagonal. From the south, between the chancel and the transept, there is a tower from the fifteenth century, square at the bottom, higher in the octagon form from the sixteenth century. Outside, the church is clasped with buttresses and covered with gable roofs.
   The interiors are covered with cross-rib vaults (six-sided in polygonal closures) supported by carved consoles and fastened with carved bosses, only the rectangular bay of the northern transept’s arm is covered with a four-arm stellar vault. In the presbytery, it is worth paying attention to the corbels in the shape of the Evangelists’ heads and symbols.

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Architektura gotycka w Polsce, red. T. Mroczko i M. Arszyński, Warszawa 1995.
Pilch J., Leksykon zabytków architektury Dolnego Śląska, Warszawa 2005.
Website zabytkowekoscioly.net, Wrocław – Stare Miasto, kościół św. Macieja.