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Stara Wiśniewka: church of St. Martin the Bishop

Date of construction: 1647

There is a small painting of a very popular saint in the side altar– Martin of Tours. An extremly interesting legend is connected with it. What story does it tell?

Splendid wall paintings in Stara Wisniewka will soon undergo conservation. Whilst looking at them from a short distance, one can spot many interesting details, mysterious dates and signatures among them.

Another interesting painting is in the side altar. It presents a dreadful scene of Christ’s death. How did the local artists imagine the death scene on the basis of prophecies?

In Latin „frenetum” means a strecher. The name feretory stems from it. It can be seen in almost every church. What does it look like and what is it used for?

Monuments Project effects Gallery

Wooden monuments
Stara Wiśniewka: church of St. Martin the Bishop

The patron saint of the church in Stara Wiśniewka is St. Martin the Bishop. He was born in around 316 in Pannonia in the present-day Hungary. His father was a Roman military tribune. Martin, aged 15, joined the army of Constantinus II. One day he gave half of his mantle to a beggar who asked for alms at the gate of the town of Amiens. The following night Christ reveled Himself to him dressed in the same mantle and said to angels: “It was Martin who covered me with his coat”. After this event, Martin took baptism and left the army, claiming that fighting is against the principles of faith. He became a disciple of St. Hilary, the bishop of Poitiers (in France). He became an acolyte and the a deacon and later he settled on an island near Genoa as a hermit, gathering a group of disciples. He founded the first monastery in Gaul, and in 371 he was anointed the bishop of Tours.

Another example of the theatrical character of the church interior (apart from Szaradowo and Wysoka) are paintings of the church in Stara Wiśniewka. An anonymous artist spread painted curtains held by numerous angels on walls. They uncover in the direction of the altar, symbolically inviting to participation in the mystery which is holy mass. Such an artistic manipulation must have caused unusual sensations of the locals of Stara Wiśniewka. In the modest church there was a spectacular and colourful polychromy which brought to mind rich palaces and theatres.

The chancery has been decorated in the most grand way: on the vault one can see Adam and Eve in an ornamental tondo (a round frame) and a fabric with a decorative crown, held by little angels.

On the walls there are images of saints (not identified yet), a dove and date: 1765.

In the side altar a painting shows the scene of Crucifixion. Figures were painted in “stiff” poses, emotionless, in a bit clumsy way. However, the painting has lot of the folk sublime in it which is conveyed by dark clouds and red moon among others. The scene is connected with the prophecy of Joel: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come”. The tragic moment of Christ’s death in the imagination of the folk artist focused not only on his relatives: Mary, Saint. John and Mary Magdalene, but also the sun and the moon. The reveries, sadness and sorrow are visible on their faces.

The Gospel of St. Luke: „At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom”.

The furnishings of the church stands out by many folk motifs in vivid, contrasting colours. These are floral ornaments, angels and floral decorations among others.

A feretory is an exceptional object but rarely seen, only during processions. It is a portable religious painting in a decorative frame, painted on both sides. A scene is usually painted on a metal sheet and framed. Feretories always have a rectangular base where holes for bars are placed so that it can be carried. The objects are connected with processions which are manifestations of faith publicly presented. In the feretory from the church in Stara Wiśniewka there are images of St. Barbara and probably of St. Kinga and on the other side St. Anne who is teaching Mary and St. Martin the Bishop.

Photo gallery
Stara Wiśniewka: church of St. Martin the Bishop

Useful information

Stara Wiśniewka: church of St. Martin the Bishop


Stara Wiśniewka 69, 77-411 Stara Wiśniewka
tel.: 67 263 18 22


Sundays: 8.00 am, 11.30 am

holy days of dispensation: 6.00 pm

working days: 6.00 pm

Indulgence date

St. Martin’s day: November 11th

The project is co-financed by European Union subsidy as a part of European Regional Development Fund