St. Peter and Paul Church in Łapsze Wyżne

Catalogue note author
Maria Działo

History of work

The previous church in Łapsze Wyżne was a wooden temple. In the files of episcopal visits from 1655-1712 three altars were noted: the main one dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul and two side ones of St. Nicholas and the Virgin Mary. The construction of the new church was started by Fr. Szymon Gorelowicz (Gorylewicz) in 1759. The founder of the temple was baron Jan Joanelli. Details of the construction were recorded in the book of church expenses, which is kept in the parish archives. The date of 1765 includes the names of two "master bricklayers": Józef Mencell and Jan Leich (?). After Father Gorelowicz, the construction was supervised by his successor, Fr. Jan Mossor. Researchers of the history of the church in Łapsze Wyżne, indicate the date of completion of the year 1768, because then the vaults in the temple were founded. Then, the furnishing of the church began. In the accounting book "Rationes Ecclesiae Felso Lapsensis", the erection of the high altar was recorded in the years of 1771-1772. The following year, it was written that in the coping of the retable there is a group representing the Holy Trinity. In 1776, information was provided about Jan Joanelli of Tolvano - the founder, who decorated the altar and hired four painters working in the church for the next five weeks. In the years 1777-1778 the purchase of paintings depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist, St. Valentine and St. Sebastian: "Pro imaginibus BMV et Joanni Baptista, S. Valenti Ep Mart et S. Sebastiani Mart. 24 Rfl”. The painting of St. Valentin was originally in the main field of the altar, now it hangs on one of the church walls. In turn paintings of St. John the Baptist and St. Sebastian are located in the crowns of side altars. Under the next date of expenses recorded in the book of temple accounts, the name of the creator of the sculptures placed on the high altar and on side altars - Johann Feeg - was recorded. However, the stylistic analysis of the works, which was carried out by the Slovak researcher Katerina Chmelinová, showed the workshop of one more sculptor: Franciszek Feeg. Another artist of Spiš, Imrich Jagušič, painted a picture for the high altar - of St. Peter and St. Paul. In addition, at the end of the 18th century, in 1796, the illusionist side altar of St. Joseph on the wall of the nave. Unfortunately, the creator of this wall polychrome is unknown. The fate of equipping the temple with church equipment in the 19th century is unknown. However, this is not surprising, because the church in Łapsze Wyżne is decorated with an integral, eighteenth-century interior, without any later additions. In the 20th century, the church underwent various renovations: the first after the tower was damaged during war operations in 1945, the next in 1981-1982 and 2001-2006.


St. Peter and Paul Church in Łapsze Wyżne was built in the years 1759-1768 in a typical interior layout divided into two quadrangular parts relevant to liturgy: the chancel intended for priests and the nave intended for parishioners. The shape of the body of the building and its architectural detail show the example of classical church architecture, without distinctive accents and architectural details. Only tower's baroque tented roofs and ridge turrets indicate the time of creation of the temple. A completely different style is presented by interior furnishings of the temple. The pulpit, altars and sculptures located on them are examples of so-called Rococo of Spiš – a style that gradually developed from the 1740s and was characterised by exceptional decorativeness of means of expression. The work of Johann and Franciszek Feg, artists from Kežmarok and authors of the aforementioned works, was the culmination of this style.

Persons related to work

How to cite?

Maria Działo, "St. Peter and Paul Church in Łapsze Wyżne", [in:] "The Sacred Lesser Poland Heritage", 2023, source:

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