The Assumption of Mary Church

Chełmno, Poland

The Assumption of Mary parish church is one of East Pomerania’s oldest and biggest churches. Built along the east-west axis, the construction work lasted from 1280 to 1320: a hall church consisting of three naves and two towers, each of a different height, emerged. In the 13th century the church opened a town school and a library. 1473 saw the opening of a 'studium particulare' (a secondary school), which later became known as the Chełmno Academy. The school was run by the Brethrens of Common Life from Zwolle, a town in the Netherlands. In 1519 the Chełmno bishop made the church a collegiate church. In 1649 the church became a sanctuary of Our Lady. Between 1676 and 1825 the church was run by missionary priests. The church’s interior is abundant in Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo decorations.

To those belong, among the other things, colourful Gothic and Baroque paintings, 11 apostle figures, tombstone of Lambert Longus from 1319, Baroque and Rococo altars, organ and deer's head from the 17th century, many valuable epitaphs, two chapels as well as God's suffering mother of Chełmno (north) and Corpus Christi (south). The church also holds the precious relics of the patron of romantic love Saint Valentine.

The tower of the Assumption of Mary parish church is with its 60 meters the highest viewpoint of the town. Open from May 1st until September 30th.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1280
Category: Religious sites in Poland

More Information

www.eurob.org

User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.