Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary parish in Tarnawa
Catalogue note author
Agata Felczyńska

History of work

The parish priest in Tarnawa was mentioned in the oldest census of the Peter's pence from 1325–1327, thus it can be assumed that already then there was a church in the village. In the "Liber beneficiorum dioecesis Cracoviensis", Jan Długosz noted the existence of the temple itself, without providing any information about the invocation or emolument. In the 16th century, a second, also wooden, church was erected in Tarnawa. During the 16th-century religious movements, the then owner of the village, Joachim Lubomirski, turned it into a Calvinist church (in 1560). After Joachim's death in 1583, his son, Mikołaj, returned the temple to the Catholics, but its second consecration was awaited until 1628 (this was done by the auxiliary bishop of Kraków, Tomasz Oborski). At the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, there was a wooden church of St. Mary functioning in Tarnawa. The church had three altars in a nave covered with a painted ceiling. The Gothic-Renaissance baptismal font, the stoup with the Drużyna coat of arms and the unique tombstone of the aforementioned Joachim Lubomirski have survived from this period. More information about the temple comes only from bishop's visitations in the 18th century. There was a painting of Our Lady located in the brick and polychrome high altar, the side altars included images of St. Joseph and St. John of Nepomuk, and the side chapel was adorned with the painting of the Madonna of Częstochowa. The presbytery includes preserved patron's pews with painted images of saints and baroque figures from the rood beam. A wooden bell tower with three bells stood next to the temple. Visitation at the end of the 18th century describes the tragic condition of the building.
In 1803, a new brick temple was erected on the site of an old wooden church, which was consecrated by Bishop Grzegorz Tomasz Ziegler in 1823 (1826?). In 1835, the ridge turret was covered with sheet metal, in 1851 the façade was plastered, a year later the rest of the church was plastered and whitewashed, and in 1861 the ridge turret was repaired. The church was electrified in 1967 and in 1971 the equipment was entered into the register of historic monuments. In the 1970s, a boiler room was added to the sacristy. In 2011–2012, stained glass windows were fitted, the building was plastered and the roof covering was replaced.


The present, brick church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Tarnawa was built in 1803-1811 from the foundation of Izabela Lubomirska. Previous churches were wooden in this village, the first one might have been built in the 14th century. The church's furnishings include monuments from the 16th century: the renaissance tombstone of Joachim Lubomirski (the then owner of the village), a baptismal font and stoup with the Drużyna coat of arms and late baroque side altars transferred from the previous, wooden temple.

How to cite?

Agata Felczyńska , "Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary", [in:] "The Sacred Lesser Poland Heritage", 2023, source:

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