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Church of the Feast of the Cross in Jelenia Góra

1709–1718 – Building of the temple, which served the evangelical community until 1945.

1806 – The fire of the tower above the dome (rebuilt in 1810).

2006 – After bringing the relic of the Tree of the Holy Cross in 2002 the church is lifted to a rank of a Sanctuary of The Holy Cross of the diocese of Legnica.

The church in Jelenia Góra is the biggest church of grace built in Silesia after the peace in  Altranstädt in 1707, on the strength of which, Joseph I, the Catholic Austrian Emperor, with Swedish king’s - Charles XII – recommendation, shown mercy to his evangelic lieges in Silesia, letting them build six temples.

Martin Frantz from Tallina built this temple in imitation of the evangelical Church of Saint Catherine in Stockholm. It is built on a Greek cross plan, with one arm lengthened by the altar span and with a dome above the crossing of naves. Between the arms of the cross staircases leading to matronea are placed. From the east a sacristy (former of The Last Supper), and from the west a vestibule, called the Hall of Weddings adjoin the trunk. The impressive hall is crowned with a tall, two-storey cupola over a dome, mansards over the naves and octagonal turrets  with domed cupolas over the staircases. The elevations on the other hand are characterised by modest decorations and quiet divisions.

 

The interior – in a way typical for protestant churches built in small numbers in Silesia in Counter-Reformation – is surrounded with matronea, which allow to seat a great number of the faithful. The two bottom matronea’ storeys are supported on composite columns, with a third one, a bit shallower, over them. The balustrades are decorated with painting and biblical quotations.

Felix Anton Scheffler and Johann Franz Hoffmann made the rich painter’s decoration on the Barrel vaults, and on the flat dome, where they cross, in 1734-1751. Over the altar the Holy Trinity is depicted, further the Resurrection, Assumption and The Evangelists (on the naves’ crossing), the Conversion of Paul in the northern arm and Jacob’s Ladder in the southern.

The equipment was being made parallel to the building of the church. Baroque altar and organ were founded by a patrician from Jelenia Góra - Christian Mentzel and made in 1727–1729 by a local wood carver David Hielscher. The statues were probably sculpted by Johann Georg Urbansky.

They depict, in the bottom part, Christ with the Cross and allegories of Faith – Saint Mary Magdalene, Repentance – Saint Peter, and an allegory of Redeemed Soul – Hezekiah. Above are personifications of Silesia and Jelenia Góra and allegories of Superiority and Authority, and a crucifix in the crowning. The painting of Christ in the Gethsemane was painted in 1859 by Otto Mengelberg from Düsseldorf.

The altar is connected with a huge Baroque organ casing built in 1727 by Johann Michael Röder from Berlin, with statues of atlantes holding the pipes, orchestra of angels, and in the middle a stained-glass glory with the name “Jahve”.

A beautiful Baroque pulpit from 1717 is located by the crossing of the naves. The guard, supported on the figures of four angels, is decorated with low-reliefs of the Evangelists, Faith, Love and Christ the Saviour, and on the banister – of the extolation of the copper snake, Crucifixion, Moses and the descent of the Holy Spirit. The wooden canopy is decorated with figures of apostles, angels and a dove – the Holy Spirit.

Also in 1717 the baptismal font made of blue marble was founded. Its cup is decorated with scenes of Baptism, Christ’s Resurrection, Crossing the Red Sea and Noah’s Ark.The church is surrounded by the parish churchyard with the house of pastors with a gymnasium and a house of cantors. By the churchyard wall is a unique (in Silesia) complex of Baroque  mausolea chapels of patricians of Jelenia Góra. Built in the 18th century, they are characterised by rich architectural forms and sculptor’s decorations. Moreover, the entrance openings were once veiled by intricate bars.

 


Diecezja Legnicka

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