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Szaradowo: church of St. Nicholas the Bishop

Date of construction: 1838

The altar in Szaradowo looks like a richly decorated theatrical scene. Why did a sculptor decide to use this particular artistic means? What was it supposed to do?

In the altar – as if on a scene – the figure of St. Nicholas is standing. An interesting legend, in which three gold marbles play an important role, is connected with the patron saint. What was the connection between St. Nicholas and the three marbles?

In the side altar there is a figure of the Archangel Raphael. What does the name mean and why is his characteristic attribute a large fish?

An element of church furnishings is the celebrat’s seat. Where does it come form and who can sit there?

Monuments Project effects Gallery

Wooden monuments
Szaradowo: church of St. Nicholas the Bishop

The patron saint of the church in Ślesin described earlier and the church in Szaradowo is St. Nicholas. He is very popular – the faithful call on him to help them in every need. The oldest record about St. Nicholas confirms that he lived at the turn of the 3rd and 4th centuries and that he was a bishop of Myra. He became famous for miracles and for the help for the poor and those in need. He was a child of noble, rich and pious parents. When he grew up, he renounced women, entertainments, politics and commerce and decided to devote himself to piety.

Nicholas is presented in bishop’s robes with a tray in his hand where three gold orbs are placed. The attribute comes from a legend about St. Nicholas and a neighbour’s three daughters. The neighbour was greedy and he insulted God for which he was punished by the loss of his wealth. The man didn’t have a dowry for his daughters so he wanted to sell them to a brothel. Then Nicholas decided to save the girls and he threw pouches with money through a window. Only when the third daughter collected the money, did the neighbour decide to learn who was so generous and when he discovered the truth, ashamed he thanked Nicolas.

The oldest elements of the main altar were made in the 17th and 18th centuries. Baroque was the dominating artistic style then. It is characterised by the use of contrasts – in the works, things which were real were connected with illusions, passionate piety and ascesis with luxury and splendor. Artists used pathos and illusion to create works which dazzled by their grandour and affected different senses of the viewer. Theatralisation was the means which artists used and which is especially visible in the case of the altar. St. Nicholas in the central painting is standing as if on a stage framed by a gold curtain on the sides.

Beauty and richness of the paintings which is characteristic for the Baroque style resulted from the Counter-Reformation program. The senses of the person who prayed in church were subjected to mystical sensations through works of art created by an artist touched by “the divine spark”. The works expressed his experience, talent but also passionate piety.

The most amazing decorative element of the main altar are the borders. These are wooden, gilded decorations which imitate a draped fabric. They are held by small angels called puttos at the top and at the bottom. This kind of symbolism is an excellent example of theatralisation, a sort of imitation, a cover of truth which was so characteristic for the Baroque period.

In the main altar the most important image is that of St. Anthony of Padua. On the altar’s sides there are figures of archangels: Michael and Raphael. Raphael the Archangel is rarely portrayed in works of art. He is known in the Jewish and Christian traditions and his name means “it is God who heals”. The archangel appears in the Bible in the Book of Tobit as God’s messenger who protects from dangers and looks after travelers. The Book of Tobit tells a story of Tobit and his son who shares the name. Young Tobit is sent by the father to collect deposited money from a friend. Raphael the Archangel accompanied him. He protected Tobit from dangers. One of them was  a giant fish from the river Tigris (this is the reason for the archangel’s attribute) and another one was a demon who possessed one of Tobit’s kin and his future wife. The archangel told Tobit to catch the fish and take its gall bladder, heart and liver. These were used as a remedy to heal the blind father as well as to free the woman, who later became Tobit’s wife, from the evil spirit. Young Tobit returned home happily and Raphael finally revealed himself.

The Archangel is a tool of God’s Providence, a caretaker of the
travelers, a helper in diseases. The guarding angel.
Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court,
you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace.
You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air,
consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.

The seat of the celebrant is a piece of church’s furnishings designed for the use of the celebrant of the liturgy. It is placed in the chancel, which is a place for the celebrant and the liturgical service. It is an element of the sedilia, a line of seats, often richly decorated and placed by the chancel’s wall. In time, the seats started to resemble a throne, especially the ones for the leading priest. He sits on it during liturgical singing or readings. The new liturgy requires the celebrant’s and his assistants’ seats be situated so as the faithful know who leads the community.

Photo gallery
Szaradowo: church of St. Nicholas the Bishop

Useful information

Szaradowo: church of St. Nicholas the Bishop


Szaradowo 9, 89-200 Szubin
tel.: 52 384 84 08


Sundays: 8.00 am, 10.00 am, 11.30 am

Holy days of dispensation:
8.00 am, 10.00 am, 5.00 pm (winter), 6.00 pm (summer)

working days: 5.00 pm (winter), 6.00 pm (summer)

Indulgence date

St. Nicholas’ day: December 6th

Our Lady of the Rosary’s day: October 7th

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