THE ST. PETER AND PAUL CHURCH IN GDAŃSK

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history          The St. Peter and Paul Church in The Żabi Kruk Street in Gdańsk is a historical parish church of the Old Suburb. It was built between 1396 and 1516 and is one of the biggest gothic churches of the town The bishop of  Kujawy established in 1456 an independent parish here. In the XV-th century  there existed a chapel for ship carpenters in this church. Already in 1436 a parish school was founded in the vicinity of the church. The school was well known for its  outstanding quality  of teaching.  This school was very popular up to the beginning of the twentieth century.
         There were many outstanding scientists, humanists and theologians among the parish priests of the church. Worth mentioning are Johann Walter  from Chojnice - a great bibliophile, Tiedemann Giese -  a friend and adviser pf Nicholas Copernicus,  subsequently bishop in the Chełm region, Mauritius Ferber - an outstanding diplomat, also subsequently  bishop and  Bartholomäus Nigrinus - graduate of the Frankfurt University, educationist and initiator of the ecumenical dialogue.
         In the year 1557 the church was taken over by Lutherans, after 1622 officially by Calvinists and was in possession of this religious community till 1945.
         The lives of many well known citizens of  Gdańsk were linked with this church. Worth mentioning is Johann Uphagen, member of the city council, ship-owner, merchant and collector. He possessed a house in Długa Street 12, where he founded in 1798 a museum of burgher house interiors. Also the well known painter  and illustrator Daniel Chodowiecki  was linked to  the parish. He was baptized here. In 1779 he was appointed to the post of director of  the Academy  of Arts in Berlin and his artistic achievements made him well known all over Europe. Well known was in the XVIIth century  the preacher Johann Reinhold Forster, a naturehistorian and traveler. Together with James Cook he undertook a voyage from London to the Antarctic. Another well known personality of this parish is the Count of Schwerin.
         During the storm of the Red Army on Gdańsk im 1945 the church was bombed, later also set fire to. The roof of the southern aisle, the nave and the  presbytery collapsed. Also the majority of the vaults collapsed. Three columns between the aisles were damaged. Artillery shells smashed the coping of the tower.
         In 1958 the rebuilding of St.  Peter and Paul  was taken over by the Catholic Church although the state authorities issued a formal rebuilding permission only in 1972. Some years later the thirty years long process of rebuilding could be started. In October 2000 the nave with beautifully restored vaults  could be used again. The renewal of the consecration of the church followed on September 10th 2006.
         The church is 62 m long and 26 m wide, its usable area amounts to 1392 square meters. The tower  is 41 m high.
         The new main altar linking in style and structure to the baroque is fairly remarkable. The construction started in 2000. About 60% authentic baroque parts were used. These parts were saved in 1946 in Stanisławów (now in the Ukraine) and brought to Gdańsk.  A most precious piece of art in the church is the image of the Gracious Holy Virgin from 1742 also brought to Gdańsk from Stanisławów.
         In the northern aisle there is a Renaissance altar (1644) devoted to  St. Klemens Dworzak.  The care of this altar  is performed by the fraternity of bakers and pastry-cooks in Gdańsk. In the vicinity of this altar there are stalls from 1628 which belonged to the Seigniorial Council.
         The church is in possession of an extremely valuable baroque pulpit from 1696. In the year 1944 it was hidden outside Gdańsk and could  in  this way be saved from war damage. The epitaph of the Moir family in the presbytery comes from 1769.
         The church possesses an extremely valuable collection of XVIIth century candelabri.
         In the Uphagen family chapel from 1774 there is an epitaph antique in form as  well as an enclosure in rococo style.
         In the southern aisle there are XVIIIth century stalls which belonged to the  Sailors Fraternity as well as stalls from 1617 belonging to the Fraternity of Coopers. 
         In the northern aisle there is a Romanesque baptismal font now used as a holy water receptacle.
         The reconstruction of the organ gallery is being continued. Original wooden baroque parts are used. The same holds for the XVIIth century  Ecce Homo altar, the altar of St, Kajetan and a baroque gallery for singers. In this gallery there is an original mantelpiece.
         Continued will be the process of reconstruction of damaged grave slabs. The pieces of these plates have to be pasted together.
         A wooden portal of the sacristy (1630)  has to undergo preservation processes.
         A crack in the northern wall corner has to be repaired and the wall has to be solidified.
         You are kindly invited to a next visit in our church. We wish you a pleasant stay in Gdańsk.