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Church of St. Stanislaus the Bishop - Pearl of Baroque Architecture

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Of all the numerous churches of Poznan, the Church of St. Stanislaus the Bishop, often referred to as the Parish Church, is worth seeing. It is mostly renowned as one of the most exquisite examples of Baroque in Polish architecture. It is also one of the largest churches in Poland.

Brief history of the Parish Church

the Church of St. Stanislaus the Bishop PoznanThe history of the sight is closely connected with the Jesuits who came to Wroclaw in 1571 invited by Bishop Adam Konarski. They were granted a complex of buildings, consisting of the Church of St. Stanislaus the Bishop, a chapel, a school and a plot of land, by the city authorities. Soon Poznan became one of the most significant Jesuit centres in Poland. The church turned out to be too small so the Jesuits purchased the plots of land adjacent to the church and started building a new church. Its construction, commenced in 1651, was based on the draft designs most probably sent over from Rome. The erection of the church was interrupted by the Swedish invasion, so the consecration took place in 1705. Twenty seven years later, the main portal with a statue of St Francis Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order, in the niche above the entrance, and the high altar were added to the church by Pompeo Ferrari, an outstanding Italian architect. Following the dissolution of the Jesuit Order in 1773 and the 1780 destruction of the Collegiate of St. Mary Magdalene, the post-Jesuit Church of St. Stanislaus the Bishop became the city's Parish Church.

Uniqueness of the Church of St. Stanislaus the Bishop

The Church of St. Stanislaus the Bishop has been renovated recently so it can be admired in its full splendour. It is not only the size of the building (55 metres in length by 34 metres in width) that distinguishes this three-nave church from other sacred edifices of Poznan.

The interior of the church is really awesome as well. The rich adornments of the interior include massive artificial marble columns with the apostle statues, stucco works, the 17th-century polychromy featuring the scenes from the life of St. Stanislaus on the vaulting of the main nave, the pseudo-dome with an illusionist painting on the nave crossing. The high altar, with a painting featuring St. Stanislaus the Bishop bringing back Piotrowin to life (1756) with huge statues of St. Stanislaus the Bishop and St. Stanislaus Kostka at its sides, is also of high artistic merits. The two large altars closing the transverse nave, modelled on the Church of San Ignazio in Rome, are equally imposing. These are only a few of the decorative elements of the church's rich interior.

The Church also boasts a large historical organ dating from 1876. It was made by Friedrich Ladegast, one of the best organ masters of the 19th-century Europe. Some of its almost 2,600 pipes are six metres long. The magnificent sound of the organ, considered to be of better quality than the famous organ in Oliva and Lezajsk, can be heard during concerts, given by the best organ virtuosos, held here at 12.15 on Saturday and from Monday to Saturday in summer. The concert admission is free of charge. The money is used for the renovation of the church. After the concerts it is possible to see the vaults of the church. The organ also has its legend which has it that a woman clad in black happens to appear while the organ is under restoration. It is believed to be the ghost of the anonymous widow who covered the half of the organ construction expenses.

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