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Ślesin: church of St. Nicholas

Date of construction: 1779

Wooden benches from Ślesin are almost 500 year old! Richly decorated, the benches are now undergoing the process of renovation and conservation. What was their function? Who could use them?

In the church the rood beam with a figure of crucified Christ is clearly seen. Why doed it catch one’s eye?

Who was St. Anthony, whose help we often ask for when we search intensely for lost things? Why is he usually portrayed with Baby Jesus?

In the side altar of St. John of Nepomuk there is an unusual symbol with a halo. What is it and what does it mean?

Monuments Project effects Gallery

Wooden monuments
Ślesin: church of St. Nicholas

Very beautiful choir stalls which are benches for the clergy, usually placed in a chancel, are noteworthy objects. Stalls from the church in Ślesin are 150 years older than the church – they were made in the second half of the 16th century. They mark out thanks to the mastery of the manner they were made and meticulous detail. Although first made for the clergy, the stalls in Ślesin were used by the secular participants of liturgy and they were put in the nave and the narthex of the church. Wood from which the stalls were made, during its multigenerational service for the faithul, has become a silent witness of pleas and thanksgiving prayers addressed directly to God.

Richly decorated choir stalls had a backrest (used to rest one’s back comfortably) and a kneeler enclosed by a front wall.

Choir stalls were made in the Mannerist style. Their front walls were divided by decorated columns and stylized arcades were put on the panels. In the tripartite stalls in the centre of the middle part the Sas coat of arms and letters A, K and Z were painted on the sides. The quadripartite stalls stand out by full-bodied figures of saints painted on the paneles below the arcades.

In the church there are extraordinarily beautiful ornaments on the rood beam which emphasize the pained image – Christ crucified. They were made in the second half of the 18th century in a form of a band of rocaille ornaments (stylized shell). One of the decorative elements is also a cartouche with coat of arms of the Grzymała family. The family were the founders of the church, the fact which was commemorated by the building’s décor.

Covered with gold and silver flakes, the handmade ornaments unify the composition of the side altars and
symbolically close the space of the chancel. Directly below the crucifix a sing in Latin was put in a decorative
Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my
sorrow. Jeremiah

My people, what have I done to you?
How have I offended you?
Answer me. Micheas

One of the most popular patron saints whose image we can find in Ślesin is St. Anthony of Padua. He lived at the turn of 12th and 13th centuries and he was a very esteemed preacher who possessed the gift of speech. He spoke with the faithful in an extremely vivid and illustrative style. Anthony also stood out by his ascetic way of being and enthusiastic sermons which gathered many listeners. He is presented with a small Jesus in his arm because the Child came to him at night and assured him of His love. St. Anthony of Padua is famous for a great number of healings but he is usually called in case of a loss – not only a material one like a wallet or keys, but also when one looses faith, love or even a meaning of life.

Tony, Tony, turn around.
Something’s lost and must be found.

There are images of two saints, both of whom have one untypical feature: their tongues are relics. One of them is St. Anthony (a prominent preacher) whose tongue is kept in Padua, and the second one is St. John of Nepomuk – his tongue rests in Prague.

The image of St. John can be found in the side altar. In the predella of the tabletop of the altar one can spot the saint’s tongue, surrounded by the rays of glory.

St. John of Nepomuk was a Czech priest who lived in the 15th century. He died by martyr’s death after tortures. Because he did not want to reveal the secret of confession, he was thrown into the Vltava river. He enjoys great trust of the faithful who make pleas, requests and thanksgivings to him.

A historic element of the church’s furnishings which has undergone conservation procedure is a set of benches. These particular pieces of furnishings do not usually draw attention with their aesthetic value, rather, the faithful are more likely to appreciate their comfort. However, benches are very often examples of very good craftsmanship, they are decorated in a sophisticated way, and the ones from the church in Ślesin are outstandingly ornamental and precisely made.

Benches are made of wood and they have very decorative side walls. The ornaments are in the form of carved spirals, flowers, leaves and shells.

Photo gallery
Ślesin: church of St. Nicholas

Useful information

Ślesin: church of St. Nicholas


8 Kościelna Street, 89-121 Ślesin
tel.: 52 385 70 14


Sundays: 5.00 pm (Saturdays), 8.00 am, 11.00 am

holy days of dispensation: 8.00 am, 6.00 pm

working days:
9.00 am (Tuesday and Thursday), 5.00 pm (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday)

Indulgence date

St. Anne’s day: July 26th

St. Nicholas’ day: December 6th

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