The St. John the Baptist’s Beheading Basilica in Chojnice

In 1993, at the request of the Pelplin Bishop Jan Bernard Szlaga, John Paul II granted the title of basilica minor to the church. This honorary title, which is received by churches distinguished by their historical value or liturgical qualities or, as in the case of the Chojnice basilica both qualities, is a great honour and distinction. It emphasises the relations with the Holy See and the local importance of the temple.

This church is the oldest preserved sacral building in Chojnice. The construction of the temple began in the 14th Century, in the place of the old, wooden House of God. The hall church with three aisles, a separate presbytery and tower presents the Pomeranian gothic style. It was destroyed many times by fires associated with wars, devastated, robbed and persistently reconstructed. During the the Reformation, the church was occupied by Lutherans. After it was recovered, three chapels were added: St Anna’s, St. Mary Magdalene’s and the Holiest Virgin Mary’s. The latter is the only one preserved to this day. It is the home of the replica of the Beautiful Madonna from the Church of St. Johns in Toruń. Unfortunately, the church failed to preserve its original interior. One of the few surviving elements is the Baroque baptism font in the shape of a goblet from the beginning of the 18th Century. It is made of wood and its lid is decorated with the sculpture of Christ and St. John. The neo-gothic wooden main altar, which was rescued from a fire, was replaced with a silver altar presenting scenes from the Gospel.

The most recent archaeological work in the church’s crypt revealed several burials from medieval times. One of them can be seen through the glass floor. This was the location of the burial of the great Gdańsk painter, Herman Han, who lived in Chojnice during the final years of his life. His most famous works include the Coronation of the Holiest Virgin Mary, the Holy Trinity and the Assumption of the Holiest Virgin Mary and the Concert of the Angels.



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