The characteristic of the current state of St Catherine’s and Immaculate Heart of Mary’s Church in Łęki Wielkie
First references to the church in Łęki Wielkie date back to as far as 1298. In 1504 another wooden temple was built in place of the old one but it burnt down in 1768. Then, Maksymilian Mielżyński, notarius magnus, funded the current church. It was in 1776. In 1870 the building was underpinned, and in 1904 two annexes were added from the west.
The church is an orientated, log-framed, and externally planked building. It is built of larch exclusively and is covered with shingle. It is a central building constructed on the basis of a circle with shorter side arms and slightly longer arms along the axis, constituting presbytery and the choir. Adjacent to the church from its eastern side, there are sacristy and the old lodge; however from the western side, there is a three-floored tower with a narthex at its foot, which is preceded by a newer and more spacious narthex built in 1870.
Inside the church, there is an enormous eliptical dome crowned with classic vase with a cross at its top. The inner walls of the temple are covered with polychrome from 1777, repainted during the renovation of 1870. The inside of the polychrome depicts the Holy Trinity among angels and clouds, to which, on the occassion of the 1000th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland, the characters of Holy Mary with Her Child and two Polish martyrs – St Wojciech and St Stanisław Szczepanowski – were added.
In the neo-baroque main altar, a painting of St Catherine, the church’s patron, had been located for many years. However, since 1958 there the figure of the Mother of God has been placed. The picture of St Catherine has been moved to one of the side altars. Leftward to the main altar, there stands a magnificent pulpit dating back to the 18th century, adorned with paintings from 1897. The beautifully sculpted baptistry with the figure of Christ the King and the Madonna from 1789 is the peculiarity of the church. Next to the baptistry, in the span of the lodge, there is a wooden sculpture from 1789 located depicting the scene of the baptism of Christ performed by St John the Baptist in the waters of Jordan. In the right-southern arm of the transept, there is Jesus’ Heart’s side altar erected in 1897. A figure of Jesus’ Heart is located in its middle field. In the left-northern arm of the transept, a late classical St Catherine’s altar is located (also dating from 1897). The painting of St Catherine the Great Martyr of Alexandria’s death is placed in its middle field, between two great columns. Said painting adorned the chief part of the main altar up to 1958. A baroque sculpture from the first half of the 17th century is placed right next to the main altar, on the wall. The sculpture depicts Salvador Mundi, Christ the Saviour of the World.
The western end of the temple is decorated with an overhung choir with an 18th century decorated in its upper-part with the figures of angels and the Eye of Providence organ front and a concavo-convex balustrade. Historic organs are also placed on the choir.
There is a historic bell tower dating back to the end of the 18th century in the vicinity of the church. It is of post and lintel structure with a shingle-covered pavilion roof. The bells are from 1778. A lot of chapels and roadside figures, especially of St Florian, St Wawrzyniec, the Mother of God and Jesus’ Heart, are located somewhere in the area of the parish.
In the years 2017-2019 with the help of the European Union as part of the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment 2014-2020, restoration work of the inside and historic equipment of the church was conducted.
The restoration of:
- the main altar from the 18th century
- the side altar of Jesus’ Heart erected in 1897
- the late-classical side altar of St Catherine’s from 1897
- the wooden pulpit dating from the end of the 17th century
- the baptistry from 1789
- the early-barque sculpture of Salvator Mundi from the first half of the 17th century
- the baroque crucifix from the 18th century
- the sculpture of Jesus the Resurrected from the fourth quarter of the 18th century
- the late-baroque organ front from the turn of the 19th century
- the wall and vault polychrome (the original one from 1776) was conducted.
St Catherine’s and Immaculate Heart of Mary’s Church
tel. 61 443-10-84