St. Michael the Archangel parish church in Lublin
The parish church of St. Michael the Archangel was built in Bronowice, a district of Lublin, in the years 1930-1938, to the project of well-known Warsaw architect Oskar Sosnowski.
The church is situated in the Bronowice district, at the junction of Fabryczna St. and Wolska St.
The plot on which to build the church was donated by the Sachs family together with the mansion that would later become the parish house. The parish was established on 28 November 1921 by the bishop of Lublin, Marian Fulman. The design was commissioned to Oskar Sosnowski, a Warsaw architect and a professor of the Warsaw University of Technology. The execution of the design, created in 1929 and quickly accepted by church and state authorities, commenced in 1930. The works were supervised by Lublin architect Ignacy Kędzierski.
The church was consecrated on 5 June 1938. Sosnowski’s design was not executed in its entirety, as it had been decided not to build the atrium with a mortuary chapel on the eastern side of the church. After a minor damage sustained during the war, the church was quickly restored, and on 28 September 1947, the then bishop of Lublin, Stefan Wyszyński consecrated the main altar which still exists today.
The church performs the function of a parish church. It has been undergoing gradual repairs for last few years.
28 November 1921 – the parish established by bishop Marian Fulman;
1929 – the church designed by Oskar Sosnowski;
1930 – beginning of the construction works;
5 June 1938 – consecration of the church;
1944-1947 – repair works after war damage;
28 September 1947 – consecration of the main altar by bishop Stefan Wyszyński;
1971–1974 – construction of a parish house near the church;
1978 – restoration of the church;
Since 2004 – further restoration works.
The church has a basilica layout, with a nave and two aisles, and a tower projecting from the body over the point where the nave and the transept cross. The chancel is enclosed with a straight wall. On the western side, there is a chapel covered with an eight-panel cupola. The sacristy is located opposite to it. The structure is made of reinforced concrete, and the walls are built of bricks. The northern façade and the end walls of the chancel and the transept are topped with pinnacled gables accentuating the vertical accents in the church body.
Both the body and the ornamentation of the St. Michael Archangel parish church feature many historicizing elements, as well as numerous references to previous works of Oskar Sosnowski. As art historian Adam Miłobędzki noted, some of the architectural elements of the Lublin church have their origin in the design of the Providence church in Białystok, northeastern Poland (today’s church of St. Roch), created two years earlier. Nevertheless, those are not direct derivatives of the architectural solutions used in Białystok. The articulation of the towers of both churches is similar, with slender openwork arcades, but in the Lublin church there are no characteristic crosses made of reinforced concrete, which can be seen in Białystok. The towers themselves have completely different shapes. The position of the tower - the dominant element of the body - moved closer towards the chancel, is also a similarity to the church of st. Roch. In Lublin, it is situated above the crossing, and in Białystok at the side of the chancel, opposite one of the two main entrances.
The general layout of the body of the church, based on the basilica scheme, resembles the first sacred building designed by Sosnowski, the Warsaw church of the Immaculate Conception (today’s St. Jacob church). The architect had won the design competition in 1909. Another reference to that design is the blind recess above the window in the end wall of the chancel of the St. Michael the Archangel church. The borders of the windows in the nave of the Warsaw church have similar shape, as do the blind windows on the outside of the apse. The gables that top the walls in Sosnowski’s 1912 design submitted to the design competition for St. Anne church in Lviv are a close analogy to the gables and the attic wall of the tower of the Lublin church.
The transept (optically “toned down” by the triangular ends of its arms) and the slender arcade portico in the façade of the church, are examples of the architectural elements that are rarely encountered in other designs by Sosnowski.
Text by Hubert Mącik
Edited by Monika Śliwińska
Translated by Jarosław Kobyłko
Dolistowski A., Kościół św. Rocha w Białymstoku syntezą twórczości Oskara Sosnowskiego, „Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki” t. XXVI, 1981, z. 3–4, s. 247–267.
Miłobędzki A., Oskar Sosnowski jako architekt, [w:] Sztuka i historia. Księga pamiątkowa ku czci profesora Michała Walickiego, Warszawa 1966, s. 191–201.
Brykowska M. [red.], Oskara Sosnowskiego świat architektury. Twórczość i dzieła, Warszawa 2004.
Kochanowska I. [red.], Zabytki architektury i budownictwa w Polsce, t. 22, Województwo lubelskie, Lublin 1995.
Zarębska T., Urbanistyczne aspekty twórczości Oskara Sosnowskiego, „Kwartalnik Architektury i Urbanistyki” t. XXXV, 1990, z. 3–4, s. 267–269.