Church of Our Lady of Loreto
In 1617, the Order of St. Bernard was brought to Warsaw. In the same year, the foundation stone was laid for the church and monastery, which was consecrated by Henryk Firlej, Bishop of Plock, in the presence of King Sigismund III. Waza.
In 1640-1644, a chapel with a Loretto house was built on the southern wall, probably designed by the royal architect Constantine Tencalla.
In 1642 the chapel was consecrated. The construction of the chapel was supported by King Wladyslaw IV, but private donors also contributed their donations. When Praga was granted the status of a city in 1648, its coat of arms included an image of the Virgin Mary and Child above the Loreto Chapel carried by angels.
In the chapel was a statue of Our Lady of Loreto, dressed in robes of expensive fabrics and with temples adorned with golden crowns. Originally, the statue was separated from the faithful by a lattice and 14 lamps of gilded silver burned in front of it. The chapel with the statue inside became a place of worship in the 17th century.
In July 1656, during the Swedish flood after the Battle of Warsaw, the church, the chapel and the monastery buildings were destroyed and looted. It was only the donations of the Krakow castellan Stefan Warszycki and the Sandomierz voivode Michał Warszycki that made the reconstruction possible. The St Bernard monastery complex was damaged again during the Kosciuszko Uprising in 1794, when the Russians, after heroically defending Praga on 4 November 1794, captured the monastery and slaughtered its inhabitants. The victims of these wars were buried in the cemetery around the church.
During the time of the Duchy of Warsaw, the monastery was located in the fortifications planned by the French. In 1811 the church and monastery were demolished, but the Loretto Chapel was preserved thanks to the resistance of the local population.
In the 19th century, the place of worship took on the function of a parish church until St Florian’s Church was built.
In 1853, the chapel was rebuilt and reconstructed according to the design of Alfons Kropiwnicki. The church was given an attic with a storeyed portal at the entrance, the cloister and the Loretto House were given a common roof, and two of the former four corner towers were preserved.
At the beginning of the 20th century, during renovation work, a hiding place with a fragment of the original furnishings was found under the staircase. In 1931, W. Kamiński built the 16-voice organ that still exists today. In 1941, after the foundation of a new parish, the church became a parish church again.
After the destruction of the Second World War in 1939 and 1944, it was rebuilt in 1945. In 1960, the cloisters on the north and east sides, demolished in 1811, were restored.
Condition after World War II
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