Duszniki Zdrój – the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
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Duszniki Zdrój – the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul

The parish church of St. Peter and St. Paul in its present Baroque form dates back to the years 1708-1730, but its history reaches as far back as the Middle Ages. The original sanctuary dedicated to St. James was mentioned in 1324, and between 1571 and 1576 it was reconstructed in the late Gothic style. In the 18th century it was practically built anew, substantially expanded and reoriented. Lower parts of a tower and fragments of the chapel of the Purgatorial Torment – a former chancel (located to the right of the entrance, with two corner buttresses) were preserved. In 1844 the church burned down but was soon reconstructed. The cupola on the tower comes from that period.

The church in Duszniki, characterized by a simple architecture economical in form (a single-aisle church with a barrel vault) has very interesting Baroque furnishings. The main altar, three lateral altars, the pulpit and a symmetrically situated sculpture group (St. John of Nepomuk Thrown Into the river Vltava), the statues of saints on the choir loft and eight statues of the apostles were created between 1718 and 1730. Michał Kössler, an artist from Swabia, was the author of the main altar and the pulpit (and perhaps the entire group). The polychromies of the sculptures are secondary and were made by painters: Hank and Fuchs, between 1853 and 1856. A painting by a distinguished Czech painter Piotr Brandl was placed in the main altar in 1791; it presents the patrons of the church in a farewell scene. The altar of the Fourteen Holy Helpers is the most interesting of the lateral altars; it depicts Mother Mary suffering for the souls in Purgatory, surrounded by the figures of the apostles. The remaining altars are dedicated to St. Anna and to Crucifixion.

The most famous part of the church is the unique pulpit, in the shape of a big fish with a twisted tail and an open mouth, from which sermons were delivered. Such pulpits are common in Lusatia, Saxony and Bohemia; in Silesia there are only two more pulpits of this sort, both of which are much more modest. They refer to the biblical story of Jonah, who was saved by a giant fish (the scene of Jonah Thrown Into the Sea is depicted on a relief on the pulpit door). It is decorated with numerous sculptures – figures of the evangelists, Ezekiel’s Vision (the prophet, and figures rising from the graves), figures of the four Fathers of the Church, and – in the finial – Christ, whose blood drips into a goblet. The figures of Jonah, Ezekiel and Christ are related to the topic of the Resurrection (the prophet being spat out of the fish alive after three days in its stomach is considered to be the prefiguration of the Resurrection); the remaining figures depict preaching and interpreting the Word of God, and the Eucharist. The pulpit was constructed between 1720 and 1722, funded by the town council. The then provost, Jan Franciszek Heinel, funded the organ front.

The stone baptismal font from 1560 situated in the chancel is the only item which was preserved from the old church. There is a statue of St. John of Nepomuk in front of the church (1722), and three 19th-century tombstones of visitors to the Polish resort in the former church cemetery.

The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul (Kościół parafialny p.w. św. Piotra i Pawła)

ul. Kłodzka 15, 57-340 Duszniki Zdrój

tel. 74 866-97-07 (parsonage)

Masses:

September – June

Saunday: 7.00 a.m., 9.00 a.m., 11.00 a.m., 6.00 p.m.

Weekdays: 7.00 a.m., on Wednesdays and Saturdays additionally at 6.00 p.m.

On holiday:

Sunday: 7.00 a.m., 9.00 a.m., 11.00 a.m., 7.00 p.m.

Weekdays: 7.00 p.m., Wednesdays and Saturdays additionally at 7.00 a.m. 

Gallery