St Stanislaus (the Bishop) Church - the Parish Church

The collegiate church of the parish church district under the invocation of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour and St Mary Magdalene is one of the most exquisite examples of Baroque architecture in Poland. It was built by the Jesuits. The work started in 1649 and was interrupted several times until it was finished over 50 years later.

The work was begun by Thomas Poncino and after several years' break it was continued in 1678 by the collegiate rector and a prominent theoretician of architecture, Bartłomiej Nataniel Wąsowski. It is to him that the church owes its present look. Using already existing walls, he elaborated a new design for the church and proceeded to execute it. The construction was halted by Wąsowski's death in 1887. It was resumed by Giovanni Catenazzi in 1697-1701.

Although the church was consecrated in 1705, it got its final form only between 1727-32. After the closure of the Jesuit Order in 1773, the church took over from the destroyed St Mary Magdalene collegiate becoming the city Parish Church in 1798.

Between 1945-56, during the reconstruction of the Cathedral, the church performed the function of the procathedral. In recent years it has been going through general renovation works. The facade is a work of Giovanni Catenazzi; the main portal was designed by Pompeo Ferrari. In the niche above the entrance there is a statue of St Francis Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order.

The three - nave interior is of an awe - inspiring size. It is 55 metres long and 34 metres wide, and the height of the main nave is 27 metres. The interior is extremely rich. No other Polish church represents on such a grand scale the expressive power of the Roman Baroque, deservedly known as "triumphant".

On both sides of the main nave there are 16 massive columns made of imitation marble. Over their capitals there are 12 statues of the apostles. The chancel and the main nave are adorned with early 18th century polychromy by Karol Dankwart. The stuccos from the same period were made by Wojciech Bianco. The pseudo - dome over the crossing square is covered with paintings by Stanisław Wróblewski from 1949.

The high altar was designed by Pompeo Ferrari. It features a painting showing bishop Stanislaus bringing back to life Piotrowin, painted in 1756 by Szymon Czechowicz. It is flanked by two huge sculptures - on the right that of St Stanislaus Kostka, on the left that of St Stanislaus the Bishop. The two large altars closing the transverse nave were modelled on the St Anthony Gonzaga altar designed by Andrea Pozzo from the Roman church of St Ignatius.

In the lower, side naves with cross vaulting there are 10 smaller altars. On one of them there is a Gothic statue of Lashed Jesus dating from around 1430, which was transferred here from the former collegiate church of St Mary Magdalene. The organ was made in 1876 by the famous Friedrich Ladegast of Weissenfelds. The largest of the 2579 pipes are 6 metres long. The church often holds organ music concerts.

A plaque from 1996 is devoted to the memory of Father Jakub Wujek (1541-97) - founder and the first rector of the Jesuit College in Poznań, author of the first translation of the Bible into the Polish language. In the chapel situated at the end of the west nave there is a replica (from 1952) of an icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, crowned with Papal crowns in 1961. It was the first coronation of a Virgin Mary image in Poland after WWII. Between the two world wars the extensive cellars under the church were used for storing barrels with wine, among other things.

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