The Jesuits arrived to Poznań in about 1570 and soon started to rebuild St. Stanislav’s church. They also established a college that later became famous for being one of the best high schools in Poland.
To construct the school buildings (the first one was very small) and the new, bigger church, the Jesuits were forced to move the city walls, as there was not enough space inside the original ones.
After this had been completed – the construction was led by Italian architect Tom Poncino. He, however, ignored the fact, that his task was to raise a huge, heavy building on swamps (because of the neighbourhood of the city moat, which was, in fact, one of the branches of the Warta River). Newly constructed walls begun to crack, and Poncino was sent back to Italy. The works were continued by Jesuit architects and the successive rectors of the College: Natanael Wąsowski and Peter Abramowicz. The next Italian artist appeared at the construction site just before year 1700. John Catenazzi finished and gave the final make-up to the Jesuits’ work. The other names linked to the Baroque church are: Pompeo Ferrari, Carl Dankwert, Alberto Bianco.
Other famous people related to the college itself were Jacob Wujek, first rector of the school and the first interpreter of the Bible to polish and Józef Rogaliński, the last rector, as well as distinguished mathematician, chemist, biologist and astronomer.
After first partition of Poland and cancellation of the Jesuit Order by Prussian government, the college buildings were converted into the residence of prince Anthony Radziwiłł. In 1806 Napoleon Bonaparte stayed here for about three weeks. Nowadays the buildings of former college are the seat of the city council.
And what about the Jesuit church?
After in XVII century a fire destroyed the nearby Collegiate Church of Saint Mary’s Magdalaine and the Prussian government did not allow its reconstruction, all the dignity and the name was passed on to the nearest church – the Jesuit one. So the name of today’s temple is one of the longest in Poland and registers its whole history… Feel invited to visit The Poznan Collegiate Church of Saint Mary’s Magdalain, the Parish Church of Saint Stanislav Bishop and Martyr, Minor Basilica, the Sanctuary of Virgin Mary of Perpetual Help, The Main Parish Church of Poznań (Fara)
The rich sculpture and painting decoration, master-art of illusion and symbolism make Poznań Fara a pearl of Baroque architecture. Perfect acoustic of the interior gives the impression that everything seems to dance and move in the sound of organ music. The instrument in one of the two considered the best ones in Poland, and its constructor Friedrich Ladegast was one of the best organs’ constructors in XIX century’s Europe.
Organ music can be heard during daily during masses, and there are also free of charge concerts played every Thursday at 8 p.m and, in summer season, every day at 12:15.
And Jesuits? Yes, they came back to our city. They take care of the church of The Sacred Heart of Jesus which is also the Sanctuary of the Madonna of the Rosary by Dominikańska Street.