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Swidnica-evangelic-church-of-peace-and-cemetery
Poland

The Peace Church

According to the principles of the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty-Year War,  emperor Ferdinand III was obliged by Sweden to give permission for the Evangelicals to build three churches, called “Peace Churches”, in the hereditary duchies of Jawor, Głogów and Świdnica. The fact did not mean that the Habsburgs had recognized the equality of the Catholic and Protestant faith. It was rather an extorted act of tolerance. In fact, a number of imperial commissions were brought to life and their task was to confiscate churches in Silesia.

Between 1653 and 1654, only in the hereditary duchies of Jawor and Świdnica, over 250 churches were taken away from Evangelical parishes! After many petitions addressed to the Vienna court, on 13 August 1652 the emperor gave his permission to erect the church in Świdnica. 10 days later the grounds for the building were assigned and made over to the chairman of the Pension Office from Otterau. The plot was a 200-step-sided square, and the church itself was to be 100 steps in length and 50 steps in width. It became dedicated to the Holy Trinity. According to the emperor’s regulations the church could be built beyond the town walls, without a tower or belfry. The building materials could be wood, sand, clay and straw. The church had to be erected within one year’s time, which was a particularly hard condition. The first out of the three churches to have been completed was the Peace Church in Głogów, consecrated at Christmas 1652. The foundation stone under the construction of the Peace Church in Jawor was laid in 1654, and as early as on 30 September the square interior of the church was consecrated. The construction process of the Peace Church in Świdnica could make use of the building experience from the churches in Głogów nad Jawor.  In 1656 Świdnican Evangelicals entrusted the construction of the Peace Church to a building
constructor Albrecht von Saebish and the local carpenter Andreas Kaemper. In the same year the foundation stone was laid and on 24 June 1657 the first mass was conducted in the newly built church.

The Peace Church in Świdnica is a basilica erected on the cruciform. The three-nave body intersects centrally with the three-nave transept. The main building was initially extended from the east by the vestry. In later years the Dead Lounge was added from the west, the Wedding Lounge from the south, and the so-called Field Lounge from the north. The structural frame of the building skeleton consists of wooden columns, sized 30 x 50 cm up to 40 x 50 cm. The central nave is about 44 metres long and 20 metres wide. The side nave – about 30 meters long and 20 meters wide. The height of the central nave is about 15 metres. The church is a typical carcass structure. The area of 1,090 m2 could hold 7500 people, including 3,000 seated. In 1852, on the 200th anniversary of the church extensive restoration works were conducted. 50 years later a wide range of other repairs took place. The carcass structure was renovated, and from the south a new vestibule was added. A special attention was given to the restoration of the paintings. The Peace Church in Świdnica is one of the two preserved sites of that kind in Europe so it has enormous historical and artistic value. After World War II the number of the congregation in the Evangelical Parish dropped dramatically. There are now about 120 parishioners who are not able to carry the financial costs of the church maintenance. During the last few years some minor renovation works have been carried out with the financial support of the Gustav Adolph church foundation.

source: http://www.kosciolpokoju.pl/en.php?D=29

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Copyright: H.J.Weber
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 9264x4632
Uploaded: 31/07/2011
Updated: 10/07/2014
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Tags: churches; architecture
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