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″The church which is no more there″

Krzysztof Sawicki, 5 lipca 2011 09:20

The evangelical temple in Kowary together with the building of presbytery and school formed a complex of huge architectural and artistic assets for over 200 years. 47 years ago the church burnt to the ground. The foundation stone for the building was laid in 1743. The building of presbytery and evangelical school was planned together with the temple building. Two lanes of deciduous trees forming a natural avenue were grown in front of the church. The construction of the temple lasted two years. The church project is attributed to a bricklayer Józef Antoni Jentsch from Krzeszów. The church alluded to the already existing buildings and the inside resembled the evangelical church in Cieplice. The temple from Kowary was founded on a plan of an elongated rectangle with an irregular octagon inscribed in it. The inside of the church presented the highest artistic class. The wooden matronea were propped on columns and they had two storeys. The space in the middle was covered by a flat wooden dome. The spare part of the nave was covered by a barrel vault. The church was illuminated by the windows of side walls. Painting decorations were white and the profiles of the organ cornices and panel slats were in golden colour. The main altar was a work of a woodcarver and sculptor Antoni Dorasil and a carpenter Hanke from Krzeszów. The pulpit project is attributed to Józef Lachel. The most valuable equipment in the church was an organ placed over the altar (patterned after the church in Cieplice). The instrument was a work of an organ-builder Michael Engler (1688-1760) and his son Gottlieb Benjamin Engler (1734-1793). They were the constructors of outstanding instruments in the St Elisabeth church in Wrocław (the instruments burnt in 1976) and in the post-Cistercian church in Krzeszów. The construction of the façade and the instrument started in 1754 and lasted for 10 years. The façade was the work of sculptors from Krzeszów, Antoni Dorasil and Józef Lachel. Michael Engler was never to finish the instrument, he died on 15th January 1760, and the work on the instrument was taken over by his son, Gottlieb Benjamin. The organ was finished and ceremonially consecrated in 1764. The façade was crowned with the "Eye of Providence" and it had 33 pitches divided into two manuals and a pedalboard. The temple survived the war undamaged, fulfilling its function for 14 more years. After the last pastor had left in 1945 the temple lost its host and was closed. Once a week, on Sunday at 9 a.m. the masses for Catholics – the dwellers of Kowary – were held. On a morning of 3rd January 1959 a fire broke which consumed the church completely. The only thing left were the external walls, pulled down in the 1960s. The official reason of the fire given by the authorities was a defective electrical system in the temple. The rumour had it that it was arson. It suited the then communist authorities. This way the town lost one of the more valuable historic monuments. In the 1970s a shopping mall was built here.

  1. Evangelical complex, church, school, presbytery 1920s
  2. Main altar and organ façade
  3. Matronea were illuminated by the windows of side walls
  4. Organ – work of Michael and Gottlieb Englers
  5. Ruins of the church, 1960s