The church was built by Ulrych von Dewin at the beginning of the 13th century. Gothic expansion was carried out in stages. At the end of the thirteenth century, the construction of a new chancel began, which was consecrated in 1309. The nave began to be built in the fourteenth century, work continued in the fifteenth century, and it was only around 1430 that the vaults were completed. Also in the 15th century the chancel was raised, the church was enlarged by two chapels and a magnificent vestibule to the west.
In 1559, the top of the eastern wall of the nave collapsed, destroying the vault of the presbytery, which were reconstructed until 1581. From 1528, the building was in the possession of Protestants, who after the fire in 1684 transformed the interior, bordering the central nave with galleries. The reconstruction lasted until 1694 under the supervision of construction master Kasper Müller from Bolesławiec and the bricklayer Stefan Spinetto from Żagań. In the nineteenth century, the walls of the church, its window frames and portals were refaced. The temple was destroyed again in 1944 as a result of bombing.
The church was located in the eastern part of the town, close to the defensive walls. The original Romanesque temple was built of bricks in the monk bond, as a two-aisle building supported on three central pillars with a stone tower attached from the north to the presbytery.
As a result of the Gothic extension, the church reached the form of a five-bay, three-aisle hall building with an elongated, three-bay, much lower presbytery, three-side ended in the east (at the time of the construction of the presbytery there was no such high nave planned, as evidenced by a chancel arch wall fault). In the northern corner between the nave and the presbytery there was an older four-sided tower (raised in the fifteenth century by an octagonal part), and on the southern side by the presbytery there was a three-bay sacristy with the upper floor. In addition, in the fifteenth century, two more porches were erected: the north and west, the first one was exceptionally large, covered with a two-bay stellar vault.
The walls of the Gothic nave from the fourteenth century were initially left smooth from the inside, and outwardly separated by rhythmically placed buttresses, with three portals on the axes of the walls. At the beginning of the 15th century, construction plans were changed with a different concept of dismembering interior walls. The thickness of the walls between buttresses was reduced by almost half, and the pilaster stripes were erected in the buttresses line, or flat semi-pillars with steps on the sides and higher profiled with concaves and corner shafts. This profiling at the top smoothly turned into ogival arcades. In all corners of the nave there are profiled pilaster strips on which conical-cylindrical corbels for vault ribs are mounted.
Above the presbytery there was a cross vault, and above the nave stellar vaults were created, whose ribs descend to tracery consoles and are based on octagonal pillars. A stellar – net vault was also erected in the chapel (porch) at the tower, and the Parler-type net vault in the west porch.
Kozaczewska-Golasz H., Halowe kościoły z wieku XV i pierwszej połowy XVI na Śląsku, Wrocław 2018.
Kozaczewska H., Średniowieczne kościoły halowe na Śląsku, “Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki”, 1-4, Warszawa 2013.
Pilch J., Kowalski S., Leksykon zabytków Pomorza Zachodniego i ziemi lubuskiej, Warszawa 2012.
Website lwkz.pl, Żary – Kościół p.w. Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa.