Monday, 20 January 2020

The Church and Monastery in Katowice Panewniki.

I visited this place last Friday.


Due to the pressing need for Christian ministry in the Upper Silesia region, on March 22, 1900, the decision was taken that a new monastery of the Franciscan friars would be established near Katowice, in the village of Panewniki. The design for the monastery was approved on July 1, 1900, while in 1901 reverend Ludwik Skowronek acquired the necessary land. In that same year, the parish priest from Mikołów, rev. Augustyn Schumann, agreed to the establishment of a new monastery. On October 30, 1902, rev. Wilhelm Rogosz bought a house in Stare Panewniki, allowing the first of the Franciscan friars to move in a few months later, in December. Once settled, they adapted a part of the house to serve as a chapel and added a small steeple. Towards the end of the year, the chapel was consecrated by rev. Augustyn Schumann, with rev. Kamil Bolczyk becoming the first abbot of the monastery. In 1904, on the fiftieth anniversary of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, rev. Kamil Bolczyk initiated the construction of a replica of the Lourdes Grotto in Panewniki. For that purpose, another 50 ares (0.5 hectares) of land was acquired, with the task of constructing the shrine being entrusted to Johann Carl Naumm from Duisburg; with the support of the local residents, the works were completed in August 1905, while during the following spring, the entire area received new plantings. The construction of the monastery and the church commenced on October 4, 1905, on the day of St Francis, once the ministry in Berlin had granted the necessary permit. The cornerstone was laid on July 1, 1906, with the structure of the side aisles and the nave up to window height having been completed by the end of the year. The works on the church and the monastery were being performed in parallel, so that in the spring of 1907, both buildings were already standing. Later on, the structures received their roof cladding, with the tower and the dome being constructed during the same period. Shortly afterwards, on the day of St Michael the Archangel, i.e. on September 29, rev. Alban Sobota, the guardian from Góra św. Anny (the Mountain of St Anne) consecrated the monastery building. Major works which deserve a mention at this stage include the installation of the rose windows and stained glass windows made in Munich in 1908. The church itself was consecrated on July 19, 1908. The complex also encompasses the Panewniki Calvary, which was created following the completion of the monastery and the church in 1909.


The complex is located in the western district of the city of Katowice known as Ligota-Panewniki, at 76 Panewnicka street. The street separating the monastery site from the municipal cemetery forms the southern boundary thereof, while various residential buildings lie to the east and the west. North of the site lies the Panewniki Calvary - a landscaped area created in the years 1909-1959.

The design for the church itself was produced by Mansuetus Fromm, a Franciscan monk and eminent architect; however, the actual building was not erected in a manner entirely consistent with the original plan. The basilica church, designed in the Romanesque Revival style, was constructed in the years 1905-1908; unlike most other Catholic churches, it is not oriented towards the east. Its walls are made of brick, with the front façade featuring a clinker brick lining arranged in the so-called header bond. The church, erected on a Latin cross floor plan, is characterised by a three-nave basilica layout, consisting of a three-bay chancel, transept and crypt, all of them ending with semi-circular apses. Inside, the church features ribbed groin vaults. The main part of the church - the middle nave, the transept and the chancel - are all covered with gable roofs, their surfaces punctuated with dormer windows. The main body features a distinctive southern façade with two towers, reminiscent of a Romanesque westwork, incorporating a niche containing the statue of St Francis. An octagonal dome rises above the crossing of the naves. The façades of the church feature sumptuous stone detailing in the form of various portals as well as cornices and arcaded friezes made up of shaped bricks. Inside, the church features a lavish collection of Romanesque Revival fixtures and fittings from the early 20th century. Particular attention should be paid to the main altarpiece with an impressive ciborium, dating back to the year 1909, the altarpiece of St Anthony of Padua, the series of stained glass windows in the transept apses, the ornate reliquary as well as the altarpiece of Our Lady of Sorrows designed by Bruno Tschötschel. The monastery building adjoins the eastern side of the church. The monastery, erected at the same time as the church, was designed by brother Mansuetus Fromm and bears the hallmarks of the Romanesque Revival style. It was designed as a three-storey brick building with a compact silhouette, erected on an elongated rectangular floor plan, its main body covered with a gable roof. Today, most of the former monastery is taken up by the Higher Seminary.

The site is accessible all year round.

How it started in 1902.

Tomorrow about the biggest Nativity scene in Europe which is here every year.


  1. Great photos of a very fine looking building.

  2. Lovely photos Gosia - nice reading the history - thanks.

  3. Great photos and thank you so much for all the history :)