20 years of the Church of Peace in Świdnica on the UNESCO list

20 years of the Church of Peace in Świdnica on the UNESCO list
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Twenty years ago, the Church of Peace in Świdnica was entered on the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List, including cultural and natural sites of the highest value, recognized as the common good of humanity and under special protection. Agata Wąsowska-Pawlik, director of the International Cultural Center, prof. Jacek Purchla and Łukasz Galusek, deputy program director took part in the celebration of the anniversary.

The Church of Peace in Świdnica was founded under the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. It was one of the three Churches of Peace built in Lower Silesia. The oldest, in Głogów, burned down in the middle of the 18th century. Churches in Świdnica and Jawor have survived to this day. Currently, the Church of Peace in Świdnica is owned by the Świdnica parish of the Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Poland. It is a permanent place for excursions on the map of Lower Silesia, since 1989, when Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Helmut Kohl came to him to pray for peace, it also became a symbol of Polish-German reconciliation.

"A unique testimony to the tradition of frame construction pushed to the limit of its technical capabilities." "A unique example of the coexistence of baroque art and Lutheran theology." "A work of art, in terms of form and content, is closely related to the political situation of a large and dynamic group of Evangelicals, hardly tolerated by the authorities" - such opinions were given by specialists when the Church of Peace aspired to be included in the world's most prestigious list of monuments. In 2001, during the 25th session of the World Heritage Committee in Helsinki, the Church of Peace in Świdnica was entered on the UNESCO List. As stated in the Explanatory Memorandum: “The Churches of Peace stand as a unique testimony to the particular political and spiritual development in Europe and present technical and architectural solutions designed to cope with the difficult conditions faced by builders and communities. They are both architectural and artistic testimonies of the faith of the religious community and its will to survive. In difficult circumstances, this community created, with incomparable effort, the necessary space for worship to this day. The Churches of Peace are an achievement of craftsmanship, showing the possibilities of a man who is brought to extremes."

Prof. Andrzej Tomaszewski, one of the most recognizable figures in the world of Polish protection and conservation of monuments at the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, in his book Towards a New Philosophy of Heritage (published by the ICC in the Heritology series) mentioned another aspect, a novelty at that time compared to previous practice UNESCO, that is, referring to intangible values, spiritual objects that are considered "a testimony to the spiritual development of Europe and an artistic testimony of the faith of a religious community." According to prof. Tomaszewski is a sign of new thinking about cultural heritage. “The Churches of Peace on the World Heritage List, as cultural goods with spiritual values, are part of the trend that sets a new direction of conservation thinking, which will develop in the current century. This post affects and inspires. This is where his forward-looking meaning lies, ”he writes in his book.

The Church of Peace in Świdnica has long been a partner of the International Cultural Center. The 9th edition of the summer school organized by the ICC - V4 Heritage Academy, addressed to young specialists in cultural heritage from the Visegrad countries, was held in Świdnica. Bishop Waldemar Pytel, the parish priest of the Evangelical-Augsburg parish in Świdnica and the bishop of the Wrocław diocese of the Evangelical-Augsburg Church, have had close and cordial relations with the ICC for many years. When in 2019, Fr. Bishop Pytel received the prof. Aleksander Gieysztor, awarded to outstanding people and institutions dedicated to the protection of Polish cultural heritage, on behalf of the Chapter, the laudation in honor of the laureate was delivered by prof. Jacek Purchla, the founder and long-term director of the ICC, himself was awarded this prestigious award in 2010. - "Saved by Fr. Pytla the Evangelical-Augsburg church in Świdnica turned out to be a bridge ensuring the continuity of history despite the tragedy of the 20th century and population exchange. And if so, then Bishop Waldemar Pytel is a bridge builder, Bruckenbauer, or perhaps it should be said today Pontifex. At the same time, he gives us an extraordinary lesson of Silesia and a lesson of heritage. Because the heritage is us! It is our memory, our choice and our identity. It is also our culture. Because culture is the ability to inherit. This is also what today's Laureate teaches us, ”said prof. Purchla. Interview with Fr. bp. it was also published in the 28th issue of Herito, devoted to the Reformation.

Agata Wąsowska-Pawlik, director of the International Cultural Center, prof. Jacek Purchla and Łukasz Galusek, deputy program director. Prof. Jacek Purchla is also one of the speakers at the conference organized on the occasion of the jubilee took part in the celebration of the anniversary.
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