Church of the Holy Cross in Wroclaw

 

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Church of the Holy Cross was the first two-storey church built in Silesia and one of only a handful in Europe. It was founded by Duke Henry the Righteous to commemorate the end of his long dispute with Bishop Thomas II (1270–1292) and was to serve as a sanctuary where masses would be said for the souls of the deceased members of the dynasty.

Construction work on the chancel began in 1288. It was completed in 1295 and consecrated by Bishop Romek of Krakow. The large crypt constructed below the choir was an architectural novelty, splitting the church into two levels, each with its own row of windows: long windows on the upper level and small ones below. Although the section to the west of the chancel is also two-storey, this was added twenty years later. At one time, an excellent piece of sculpture – the sarcophagus of Henry the Righteous – was housed in the presbytery of the upper church. It can now be viewed at the National Museum. The fact that the Church of the Holy Cross was raised to the rank of a collegiate church testifies to its importance



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