Kłodzko - www.klodzko.pl

This beautiful temple is the oldest preserved church in Kłodzko. Its rich architecture, decorations, and interior furnishings are a testament to the fascinating history of the building.

The first references to the building date all the way back to 1194. Back then, it was most likely a modest wooden church. The cornerstone for the current structure was set in 1344 by the local Knights of the Order of Saint John. During that era, the Kłodzko region – a part of the Kingdom of Bohemia – fell under the newly founded Archdiocese of Prague. Proper construction of the church did not start until after the death of the main benefactor – Ernest of Pardubice, the first Archbishop of Prague. Before his death in 1364, he bequeathed considerable amounts of money for purposes of its construction. The construction was a very slow process because of fickle fate and the endless wars and fires continuing to descend upon the city. The walls of the triple nave basilica were up before the Hussite Wars. The work was resumed in 1462 and construction of the southern White tower began. The sign of the Maltese cross and the date of 1465 are still visible on the external stairs, but in reality construction was not completed until three years later. The work on the northern Black Tower began in 1487 and would continue until the 16th century. Consequentially, the architecture and interior of the Kłodzko temple were strongly influenced by late gothic and primarily by baroque style.

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Numerous legends are associated with Ernest of Pardubice, the main benefactor of the church. Even though he was never canonised, the locals considered this man a saint. During his youth, when he was attending the school of the Order of Saint John in Kłodzko, he had allegedly witnessed a miracle, which would turn his life around. The young Ernest was the son of the Kłodzko castellan and was very proud of his heritage. During a mass, as he and his friends were singing the “Salve Regina” hymn, he saw the statue of the Virgin Mary standing on the main altar turn towards him. According to legend, the future archbishop experiences a spiritual transformation and started to praise the glory of the Virgin Mary.

Allegedly, there were also a few miracles after his death. According to his wish, the archbishop was buried in the royal crypt of the Assumption of Mary church he had founded. A sandstone sculpture of Ernest was erected on the floor above the crypt on top of a tomb made of black marble. However, the new tombstone would soon start to crack for unknown reasons. People believed that it was because of some supernatural power. Furthermore, some strange oil started to leak out of the tombstone on two occasions in 1468. It was believed to have some mysterious properties: it had a pleasant scent, was non-flammable, and did not rise in water. The people of Kłodzko declared it to have miraculous properties. There was enough of it for the locals to collect into vessels with spoons. This was a very hard time for Catholics in Kłodzko because all masses, funerals, or sermons were prohibited. The city was under the curse cast by the pope upon King George of Poděbrady, who was a Hussite and the owner of Kłodzko County. The locals saw the wonderful oil as proof that the archbishop would never forget about Kłodzko or its residents, even after his death.

In 1562, the temple was taken over by Protestants. During this time, the catholic masses conducted by the Order of Saint John in Kłodzo were held only in Saint James’ Chapel and the northern nave of the church. In late 16th century, the Jesuits would arrive in Kłodzko to launch an intensive recatholisation campaign. In 1624, thanks to the support of Emperor Ferdinand II of Habsburg, they bought back the church and the commandery from the Order of Saint John – which was quickly losing influence in the city – and immediately started extensive campaigns. These campaigns were not limited to only spirituality as they also prepared an extensive architectural programme. Besides the work on the parish church, they would focus on the convent school and college being built at the church. Their plan had two stages. The initial baroque reconstruction saw erection of three chapels and a vestry in the southern nave, as well as the Chapel of the Dead, which is directly adjacent to the northern nave. Its family crypt holds the remains of its founder, the Count Montani of Ołdrzychowice. The Jesuits also recruited stuccoists from northern Italy to modernise the interior during the years 1660-1670.

The second stage was carried out in the first half of the 18th century, when the still-surviving main elements of the interior were created: the pulpit, the altars, the organ gallery, and the confessionals. This period would produce exquisite sculptures, many of which can still be admired in the parish church. The most prominent artist working for the Jesuits of Kłodzko was Michael Klahr the Elder. Between 1717 and 1725, he created some of the sculptures, the pulpit, the confessionals, and the ornaments and figures decorating the organ gallery. The artist himself, a native of the Kłodzko region, had learned his art from Austrian sculptor Karl Sebastian Flacker. Klahr’s descendants went on to keep his traditions alive until early 19th century. After the Jesuit order was dissolved in 1776, the Assumption of Mary church was taken over by the Royal Prussian School Board. During the military and administrative Prussian rule, the monuments of sacral architecture were pretty much forgotten for quite a while. In 1814, when the Order was restored, the temple was returned to the Jesuits, who remain in charge of it to this day. On the 500th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Ernest, the disintegrating tombstone was moved from the main nave to the northern one. The church underwent renovation a little earlier, during the years 1836-1841.

This beautiful temple is the oldest preserved church in Kłodzko. Its rich architecture, decorations, and interior furnishings are a testament to the fascinating history of the building.

The first references to the building date all the way back to 1194. Back then, it was most likely a modest wooden church. The cornerstone for the current structure was set in 1344 by the local Knights of the Order of Saint John. During that era, the Kłodzko region – a part of the Kingdom of Bohemia – fell under the newly founded Archdiocese of Prague. Proper construction of the church did not start until after the death of the main benefactor – Ernest of Pardubice, the first Archbishop of Prague. Before his death in 1364, he bequeathed considerable amounts of money for purposes of its construction. The construction was a very slow process because of fickle fate and the endless wars and fires continuing to descend upon the city. The walls of the triple nave basilica were up before the Hussite Wars. The work was resumed in 1462 and construction of the southern White tower began. The sign of the Maltese cross and the date of 1465 are still visible on the external stairs, but in reality construction was not completed until three years later. The work on the northern Black Tower began in 1487 and would continue until the 16th century. Consequentially, the architecture and interior of the Kłodzko temple were strongly influenced by late gothic and primarily by baroque style.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8

Numerous legends are associated with Ernest of Pardubice, the main benefactor of the church. Even though he was never canonised, the locals considered this man a saint. During his youth, when he was attending the school of the Order of Saint John in Kłodzko, he had allegedly witnessed a miracle, which would turn his life around. The young Ernest was the son of the Kłodzko castellan and was very proud of his heritage. During a mass, as he and his friends were singing the “Salve Regina” hymn, he saw the statue of the Virgin Mary standing on the main altar turn towards him. According to legend, the future archbishop experiences a spiritual transformation and started to praise the glory of the Virgin Mary.

Allegedly, there were also a few miracles after his death. According to his wish, the archbishop was buried in the royal crypt of the Assumption of Mary church he had founded. A sandstone sculpture of Ernest was erected on the floor above the crypt on top of a tomb made of black marble. However, the new tombstone would soon start to crack for unknown reasons. People believed that it was because of some supernatural power. Furthermore, some strange oil started to leak out of the tombstone on two occasions in 1468. It was believed to have some mysterious properties: it had a pleasant scent, was non-flammable, and did not rise in water. The people of Kłodzko declared it to have miraculous properties. There was enough of it for the locals to collect into vessels with spoons. This was a very hard time for Catholics in Kłodzko because all masses, funerals, or sermons were prohibited. The city was under the curse cast by the pope upon King George of Poděbrady, who was a Hussite and the owner of Kłodzko County. The locals saw the wonderful oil as proof that the archbishop would never forget about Kłodzko or its residents, even after his death.

In 1562, the temple was taken over by Protestants. During this time, the catholic masses conducted by the Order of Saint John in Kłodzo were held only in Saint James’ Chapel and the northern nave of the church. In late 16th century, the Jesuits would arrive in Kłodzko to launch an intensive recatholisation campaign. In 1624, thanks to the support of Emperor Ferdinand II of Habsburg, they bought back the church and the commandery from the Order of Saint John – which was quickly losing influence in the city – and immediately started extensive campaigns. These campaigns were not limited to only spirituality as they also prepared an extensive architectural programme. Besides the work on the parish church, they would focus on the convent school and college being built at the church. Their plan had two stages. The initial baroque reconstruction saw erection of three chapels and a vestry in the southern nave, as well as the Chapel of the Dead, which is directly adjacent to the northern nave. Its family crypt holds the remains of its founder, the Count Montani of Ołdrzychowice. The Jesuits also recruited stuccoists from northern Italy to modernise the interior during the years 1660-1670.

The second stage was carried out in the first half of the 18th century, when the still-surviving main elements of the interior were created: the pulpit, the altars, the organ gallery, and the confessionals. This period would produce exquisite sculptures, many of which can still be admired in the parish church. The most prominent artist working for the Jesuits of Kłodzko was Michael Klahr the Elder. Between 1717 and 1725, he created some of the sculptures, the pulpit, the confessionals, and the ornaments and figures decorating the organ gallery. The artist himself, a native of the Kłodzko region, had learned his art from Austrian sculptor Karl Sebastian Flacker. Klahr’s descendants went on to keep his traditions alive until early 19th century. After the Jesuit order was dissolved in 1776, the Assumption of Mary church was taken over by the Royal Prussian School Board. During the military and administrative Prussian rule, the monuments of sacral architecture were pretty much forgotten for quite a while. In 1814, when the Order was restored, the temple was returned to the Jesuits, who remain in charge of it to this day. On the 500th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Ernest, the disintegrating tombstone was moved from the main nave to the northern one. The church underwent renovation a little earlier, during the years 1836-1841.

the most interesting works of sacral art at Kłodzko’s

Besides the aforementioned tombstone of Ernest of Pardubice from the 14th century, the most interesting works of sacral art at Kłodzko’s parish church include the following:

  • The Main Altar from 1727-1729 with the gothic statue of Mary in Radiant Glory designed by local Jesuit Christopher Tausch,
  • The statue of Madonna with the Siskin from circa 1360-1364 sculpted in oak wood and attributed to master sculptor Peter Parler, the builder of the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague,
  • The Figure of the Madonna with Child on the main altar from circa 1450 sculpted in linden wood, likely a part of the previous gothic altar
  • The Statue of Ernest of Pardubice, the Archbishop of Prague, sculpted in marble by a famous Bohemian sculptor named Jan Janda,
  • The Altar of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by the aforementioned Michael Klahr the Elder from 1725, one of the finest altars created during this period in Silesia.

These are only some of the historical works of sacral art to be found at the Assumption of Mary church. Through almost three hundred and fifty years of continuous effort, the grand baroque temple was continuously subject to improvements and modernisation. Visitors have a hard time taking their eyes off the numerous beautiful sculptures and paintings, the extraordinary altars, and the enormous confessionals. Created over the centuries by the greatest artists, they continue to astound with their beauty to this day.

The Black Gate

The Black Gate is the only preserved wall fragment of the former cemetery at the Assumption of Mary church. The beautiful late baroque gate was commissioned by the Jesuits in 1703. Flanked by a pair of reinforced Tuscan columns, it is topped with the statues of three saints: Saint Francis Xavier holding the cross – the symbol of the Lord’s suffering – stands on the left, Saint Ignatius of Loyola – the founder of the Jesuits – holding the book of rule stands in the middle, and Saint Francis Borgia – the well-known follower and propagator of the Marian cult – stands on the right. The frieze of the gate presents the abbreviation of the Jesuit motto: AMDG, which stands for the Latin phrase attributed to Saint Ignatius of Loyola: Ad maiorem Dei Gloriam (For the greater glory of God). With time, this phrase would become the leading philosophy of the Jesuit order.

The cemetery

At a certain point in time there was a cemetery at the Assumption of Mary church. The custom of burial within church grounds dates back to the 4th century. It emerged with the announcement of religious freedom for Christians and the start of church building. The church grounds were used to bury mainly those from low society, while those of greater prestige (dukes, aristocrats) were usually buried in castle churches and chapels and at urban and rural parish churches. At church cemeteries, there were no signs presenting the names of the deceased, which would often be impossible anyway because there were numerous bodies buried in one grave, usually without caskets. And not everyone could be laid to rest as these cemeteries either. People who committed suicides, had a poor reputation, or did not attend church were usually rejected. Back in the middle ages – especially in big cities – there were attempts to create new burial grounds away from urbanised regions, but such plans were met with firm opposition because burial outside of church grounds was considered to be sacrilege. However, as the populations – and consequentially number of deaths – kept growing, this approach slowly started to change for sanitary reasons. The custom of burying the dead at church grounds was ultimately dissolved by the Edict of Nantes signed by Henry IV of the House of Bourbon in France in 1598. The cemetery at the Assumption of Mary church in Kłodzko was closed in 1624 and the tombstones were used as floor tiles during the church’s reconstruction. The walls were taken down in the 19th century when the cemetery was finally demolished. The only fragment preserved to this day is the aforementioned Black Gate.

The statue of Saint John of Nepomuk

Saint John of Nepomuk – patron against calumnies, protector from misfortunes. The statue of Saint John of Nepomuk, which stands in front of the main entrance of the Assumption of Mary church in Kłodzko, was founded in 1714 by the Starost of Kłodzko and Commander of the Tower Count Maksymilian Mitrowicz. The benefactor’s coat of arms on the pedestal under the statue and the subtle wording: “Max. LB. Mitrowski D. Mitrowicz S. Caes. R. Maj. Cam. Capitaneus Com. Glatz” (Maksymilian, baron Mitrowicz of Mitrowice, chamberlain by the holy imperial and royal grace, Starost of Kłodzko County) have been preserved to this day.

John of Nepomuk was born in Pomuk near Prague. He dedicated himself to clergy and was schooled first in Prague and then in Padua. When he received the degree of Doctor of Laws, he took the position of vicar general and became the right hand of Prague archbishop John of Jenstein. During this time, Bohemia was under the rule of King Wenceslaus IV of the Luxembourg dynasty, who presented the archbishop of Prague with fierce opposition when it came to filling positions within the church. The Bohemian king wasted to do away with an inconvenient witness and invited John of Nepomuk to a feast. He then seized him and subjected him to murderous tortures. It was like the Way of the Cross for the future saint. He was kicked, beaten, stabbed with sharp objects, and burned. As the king looked on with satisfaction, John was forced to open his mouth to have his tongue removed with pliers. The king then ordered the poor canon to be executed. In the middle of the night, they took him to the bridge on the Vltava River and threw him down into the water with a stone chained to his neck. Legend says that five stars appeared when he was drowning. The locals noticed them. We have no idea why the Bohemian ruler committed such a horrible crime. Was it simply because of the hate and anger resulting from the vicar’s support of the archbishop? Some sources claim that the saint was the queen’s confessor. Perhaps the hatred was born from his refusal to reveal the secret of the queen’s confession? With time, the memory of John of Nepomuk would transform into a cult. The first statue of the saint was installed on the Charles Bridge in Prague, the location of his death. This was well before his canonisation, which is a testament to his popularity in Bohemia. [/item] [/accordion]

stopka UE

Projekt "Budowa innowacyjnych e-usług w Gminie Miejskiej Kłodzko" współfinansowany przez Unię Europejską ze środków Europejskiego Funduszu Rozwoju Regionalnego w ramach Regionalnego Programu Operacyjnego Województwa Dolnośląskiego na lata 2014-2020 oraz budżetu Gminy Miejskiej Kłodzko

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