disturbance of peace

Churches of Peace

The Churches of Peace (Kościół Pokoju, Friedenskirche) in Jawor (Jauer) and Świdnica (Schweidnitz) in Silesia (Poland) were named after the Peace of Westphalia of 1648 which permitted the Lutherans in the Roman Catholic parts of Silesia to build three Evangelical churches, to be built outside the city walls, without steeples and church bells and made of wood, loam and straw. The construction time was limited to one year.

Since 2001, the two remaining large ones are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Constrained by the physical and political conditions, three of the churches anyway became the biggest timber-framed religious buildings in Europe. With pioneering constructional and architectural solutions unknown ever before or since in wooden architecture, and surviving for over 300 years, they bear testimony to the quest for religious freedom and are a rare expression of Lutheran ideology in an idiom generally associated with the Roman Catholic Church in the Austrian Empire of the Habsburgs.

The church in Jawor, under the invocation of the Holy Ghost, sized 43,5 m long, 14 m wide and 15,7 m high, seating 5,500, was constructed by Breslau (Wroclaw) architect Albrecht von Saebisch (1610–1688) and was finished in 1655 after a year. The 200 paintings inside by were done by Georg Flegel in 1671–1681. The Altar, by Martin Schneider, is of 1672, the original organ of J. Hoferichter from Legnica (Liegnitz) of 1664 was replaced 1855–1856 by Adolf Alexander Lummert.

By that time, the town was already for about 100 years part of the Lutheran Kingdom of Prussia. Another 100 years later, in 1945, as a result of losing World War II by Nazi Germany they became part of Poland, following Potsdam Agreement.

The similar church, erected in Głogów (Glogau) had burned in 1758, but the one of Świdnica, under the invocation of the Holy Trinity, survived like the one in Jawor. Both were restored by a Polish-German cooperation, and added by UNESCO in 2001.


  • Worthmann, L., Führer durch die Friedenskirche zu Schweidnitz. Breslau 1929
  • Kalinowski, Konstanty, Barock in Schlesien. München 1990. ISBN 3-422-06047-2.

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