Zawichost – St John’s Church


   The church was built together with the monastery in the years 1244-1257 for the Order of the Poor Clares, from the foundation of prince Boleslaus the Shy as a wreath for his sister Salomea. In 1255, prince Boleslaw founded a St. Francis hospital, who served the Franciscan Order. In 1257, the Clareans left the monastery and moved to the monastery in the Pradnik Valley, while in Zawichost there were only Franciscan monks. Buildings burned down in 1353 during the invasion of Lithuanians.
In 1412 the monastery was partially demolished by Sandomierz castellan Michał Czyżowski, who was to use the material obtained for the demolition to bulid the castle in Czyżów. In 1548, the the tenant and dissident Stanislaw Dębiński, destroyed the tomb of princess Grzymisawa and the interior of the monastery.
In the years 1600-1633 a restaurant of the destroyed monastery and church was given, which was given a baroque form. In 1752 the chapel of Our Lady of the Scapular was erected from the north. Due to the poor condition of the monastery, it was restored in 1841. In 1864, after the order’s dissolution, the Franciscans had to leave the monastery where the school was located. In 1944 the buildings of the church and the monastery were bombed by the Soviet army, resulting in a fire that burned the interior, ceilings and roofs. Only the presbytery ceiling survived. After the destruction of the war, the church was regothisated in 1945-1949 under the direction of Józef Jamroza, removing baroque elements.


   The church consists of a single, wide nave covered with a timber ceiling and an elongated, three-span chancel with a rib vault and later, a fifteenth-century stellar vault in the western span. The stylistic difference between the “poor”, devoid of articulation and the vault nave and the impressive choir is noteworthy. The brick walls of the church have been pierced with tall, slender windows, through which the interior is full of strong light. From the north, monastic monastic buildings adjoin the church, while from the south side the sacristy was added to the chancel. At the western end of the southern wall of the nave, there is a bricked-in entrance with the remains of the portal, which the negative of the annex once existed around. It could have been part of a monastery or St. Francis. Probably the male monastery was placed on the south and the female monastery on the north side of the church.
   On the left side of the chancel there is a sacramentarium from 1542 made by Simon Pencz and a fragment of polychromy from the 16th century, while on the right there is an early gothic seat recess closed with three pointed arcades. Between the chancel and the nave, there is a trace of the formerly used rood screen in the form of a triptych vaulted porch.

show this monument on map

return to alphabetical index

Pajor P., Podwójny klasztor franciszkański w Zawichoście [w:] Architektura sakralna w początkach państwa polskiego (X-XIII wiek), Gniezno 2016.

Website, Zawichost.
Website, Zespół klasztorny klarysek i franciszkanów, ob. kościół rektoralny pw. św. Jana Chrzciciela Zawichost.