Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians


(Salesian Society)

Originally a church and convent of the Dominican sisters built in the 1280s. The presbytery and the choir are from the 13th c., the nave was built in the 14th c.. In the 15th c. the east gable was remodelled and a chapel added on the north which was extended in the 16th c. to form an aisle. After the dissolution of the order by the Prussians in 1822 the church fell into disrepair. It was renovated by the Salesian Society in 1926 to the design by Kazimierz Ruciński (an organ loft was added and a Neo-Baroque façade designed by Professor Lucjan Michałowski).

It is a Gothic structure. The presbytery boasts rib vaulting from around 1440 (the only of its kind in Poznań); sail vaulting in the nave, stellar vaulting in the aisle. Church furnishings are from the years 1927-30 (designed by Lucjan Michałowski). A painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, in the central panel of the Neo-Baroque altar from 1928; a painting of St. Catherine of Alexandria (a work by Antoni Ziętkiewicz) at the top of the altar. An eclectic altar with a sculpture of St. John Bosco and the Salesian coat of arms in the right corner of the nave. The portraits on the table top of the altar depict the blessed Oratorians ("the Poznań Five from Wroniecka Street"), Czesław Jóźwiak, Edward Kaźmierski, Franciszek Kęsa, Edward Klinik and Jarogniew Wojciechowski, boys engaged in underground activities during the war, murdered by the Germans and beatified by Pope John Paul II in Warsaw in 1999. Other interesting artefacts include: the pulpit, sculptures of St. Joseph, Dominic Savio and St. Anthony, the Neo-Baroque altar with a sculpture of the Sacred Heart in the aisle and the pipe organ from the years 1928-29. A plaque commemorating the blessed Oratorians in the narthex.

The west wing and a tower in the thirteenth-century fortification system are the only remains of the former buildings of the convent (14th-16th c.).

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