Church of St. Anthony of Padua


(Conventual Franciscans)

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Poznań

The conventuals (black friars) settled in Poznań in the 17th c. The church was commissioned from Jan Koński and built atop Castle Hill (presently Przemysł Hill) in the years 1674-1757. The monastery was erected in the years 1672-1749 east of the church but it was partly dismantled after the suppression of the order in 1834; only the north part survived to the present day. In the 19th c. the church was given to German Catholics by the Prussian authorities. The black friars returned in 1921. Heavily damaged in the war, the church was renovated in 1945.

It is a basilica with the nave flanked by two aisles that stop at two chapels; there is also a chapel in the west aisle and a gallery over three bays in both aisles. The presbytery and the nave are covered with a barrel vault with lunettes, the aisles are groin vaulted whereas the chapel adjoining the west aisle is sail vaulted. Both chapels at the end of the aisles have domes with lanterns. The church is lavishly decorated with stucco-work and the polychrome decoration from around 1702 is the work of the Franciscan monk Adam Swach; it depicts scenes from the life of St. Anthony (in the presbytery and the nave), St. Francis (in the west aisle) and the Blessed Virgin Mary (in the east aisle). The high altar (c. 1690, a work by Antoni Swach, Adam's brother) features Adam Swach's painting Vision of  St. Anthony in the central panel and a painting of the Virgin Mary of Immaculate Conception (copy of B.E.  Murillo's work from 1877) at the top. Chiselled stalls from the early 18th c. decorated with intarsia and figures of Franciscan saints. Above the stalls two epitaphs of Florian and Wojciech Zdzychowski from 1754, wrongly attributed in the 20th c. to Jan Radoliński (d.1761) and Jan Łącki (d.1694).

The nave is adjoined by two square chapels covered with domes and topped by lanterns. The Chapel of Mother of God was built in 1681 and it features the miraculous painting of Mother of God, Our Lady of Poznań. It is a copy of the miraculous painting from the Sanctuary of Our Mother of Consolation from Borek - Zdzież. According to tradition, the painting belonged to the Franciscan friar Tomasz Dybowski before it was mounted in the chapel. In 1670 it was temporarily placed in the high altar. When an altarpiece was built in the chapel in the years 1688-93 (the work of Antoni and Adam Swach), the painting of Mary with the Infant was placed in the central panel in 1713. It features a silver frame from the years 1676-1718 and was crowned in 1968. When the covering of the painting is lowered, images of St. Joseph, St. John the Evangelist flanked by St. Francis and St. Anthony come to sight. Paintings of St. Anne and St. Joachim in the side panels, figures of angels and St. Michael the Archangel at the top and images of the guardian Wojciech Zawadzki and the friar Tomasz Dybowski at the bottom. The dome is lavishly decorated with stuccowork from Alberto Bianco's workshop from 1701 and features sculptures of Christ and the Apostles and four medallions depicting saintly women on the vault.

Lying opposite is the Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi built in 1757 and richly decorated with stuccowork. The Rococo altar from 1757 features Adam Swach's painting St. Francis Receiving the Porziuncola Indulgence in the central panel, a bas-relief The Discovery of St. Francis's Grave at the top surmounted by a sculpture of St. Francis. Sculptures of Franciscan saints at the base of the dome, the vault is decorated with medallions featuring saintly men and women.

A pulpit from 1732-33 in the nave and the Baroque tomb of Wojciech Rydzyński (d. 1733) and his wife Anna nee Proska (d. 1736). The nave ends in an organ loft supported by columns and arcades.

In the arcades separating the aisles from the nave six Late Baroque altars from 1755 and two Baroque epitaphs from the 18th c. commemorating Katarzyna Skrzetuska nee Smoszewska (d. 1701) and Dorota Kołaczkowska nee Rogalińska (d. 1719). The west aisle is adjoined by the Chapel of the Most Precious Heart of Jesus from the years 1757-58, rebuilt to a design by Lucjan Michałowski in the early 20th c. The Neo-Baroque decoration is from the years 1928-29.

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