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Gothic, Baroque, half-timbered houses, built of wood, brick, or filled with clay or plastered – only Pomerania offers such a diversity of religious buildings. The rich interior decor, the wall paintings and incredible stained glass windows, give the finishing touch to the structures.
St. Jack’s Church in Słupsk
The tall shape of the tower in the panorama of Old Town Słupsk is what distinguishes the former Dominican Church, which is currently St. Jack's Parish Church.
The church is located to the south of the Old Town, near the Castle of the Pomeranian Dukes. The beginnings of the Dominican order in Słupsk date back to the 13th Century, when the Gdansk Duke Mestwin II, who ruled the Słupsk land at the time, issued the foundation document for this order in 1278, at the request of Woyan - the Gdańsk Dominican Abbott.
In 1395, the monastery buildings and the church burnt down in a huge town fire. In 1524, due to religious riots, the annoyed crowd robbed the church and the monastery reconstructed 100 years before and scattered the monks. The neglected and abandoned buildings began to fall into ruin. A breakthrough period in the church's history came during the beginning of the 17th Century, when the Duchess Erdmuta, wife of the Duke of West Pomerania Jan Fryderyk, decided to rebuild it. The restoration was completed in 1602; on 24 June the church was consecrated and renamed St John's Church. It acted as the Castle church until the Grifit Dynasty died out. During this period, successive residents of the nearby Castle maintained it, equipping the interior with many fantastic works of art. After 1693, the church became the property of the Protestant commune.
During World War II, warfare spared the building, only the windows and roof being partially damaged. After the renovation in 1946, the church was consecrated again and renamed St. Jack's Church.
The Renaissance altar with its clear and harmonious construction is from the beginning of the 17th Century. It is decorated with sculptural ornaments and paintings. The church pulpit is also from the Renaissance era. It is richly decorated with paintings and sculptural details.
The north wall of the church hosts the richly-decorated marble epitaph of Duchess Anna. To the right of the altar is the Baroque gravestone of Duke Ernest Bogusław. The whole object is surrounded by a wrought grating. The gravestone was designed and possibly made by the famous Gdańsk sculptor Hans Caspar Gockheller.
Duke Ernest Bogusław is also the one who funded the organs for the church. Then are distinguished with the richly- sculpted front, where the Croy and Gryfit coats of arms are visible. The organs are used for concerts, which are organised every summer. Important historical monuments of the church's interior are the tombstones from the 17th and 18th centuries and the church's consecration plate from 1602.
For many years, the church played a significant role as the burial place for people significant to the history of West Pomerania. Those who were buried here include the wife of Duke Boguslaw IX, the Duchess Maria, who died in 1454, and the mother of Duke Boguslaw X, Duchess Zofia, who died in 1497. The bodies of Duchess Anna and her son, Ernest Bogusław, were laid in one of the crypts under the altar. The tin sarcophaguses with the wooden coffins were found in 1976 and since their restoration have been presented as a regular exhibit of the Museum of Central Pomerania.