St. Anne’s Chapel
The extension of the chancel of the church to the east created a new room under the added part of the building, in the ground floor, which was assigned the function of the funerary chapel of the great masters, giving it the call of Saint Anna.
Two entrances led to the interior of the chapel, located opposite each other in the northern and southern walls. Both portals received an extremely rich sculptural setting, similar to the earlier Golden Gate leading to the church. Figurative scenes in tympanums were made in high relief and covered with colorful paintings: in the northern portal – Marian scenes (Adoration of the Magi, Dormition and Assumption and Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary); The relief depictions of the main tympanum were complemented by the already known from the Golden Gate, moralizing the theme of the legend of the Wise Virgins, led by an angel to the gates of heaven and the Maids of the Stupid, led by the devil into the mouth of Leviathan. The southern portal presents scenes from the Christological cycle: Ascension, Last Judgment and the history of finding the Holy Cross.
From 1341, the mortal remains of the highest dignitaries of the Order were placed in the crypt under the floor. Grand Master Dietrich von Altenburg was the first to be buried there, eleven in total. Today they are remembered for the three original tombstones of Dietrich von Altenburg, Heinrich Dusemer and Heinrich von Plauen.
After the Malbork Castle was handed over to Kazimierz Jagiellończyk, the chapel of St. Anna was under the patronage of Polish kings. For a long time, it probably kept the equipment from the Teutonic times and was occasionally used for religious purposes. During the Swedish wars in the 17th century, it was profaned, robbed and deprived of equipment twice. In 1652, King Jan Kazimierz handed over the chapel to the Malbork Jesuits, who, however, did not take over the benefice before the outbreak of the Second Swedish War (1656). For the following years, the chapel was in a bad technical condition. Finally, Jan Kazimierz’s donation was confirmed again by Teodor Potocki, bishop of Chełmno and Pomezania, in 1707. The chapel was then renovated at the cost of the Malbork economy and reconciled, becoming the burial place of the Malbork Jesuits. The first Jesuit was buried there in 1708. Until 1788 he was buried in the chapel of St. Anna, at least 24 named monks. In 1737, the econom and starost of Malbork, Michał Ernest Rexin (1698–1768), a convert and benefactor of Malbork Jesuits, rebuilt the western part of the chapel into an ancestral mausoleum. In order to build a crypt, the aforementioned part of the chapel was separated by a wall. Then, a passage was made above the crypt and both windows lying on the opposite sides of the chapel were rebuilt into a door leading to the interior of the mausoleum. After 1780, the chapel was taken over by the parish clergy, and in the years 1821-1823 it was renovated and restored to its previous condition. During the work, the coffins with Jesuit burials placed in the Teutonic Knights ‘crypt were removed and buried in the Rexins’ crypt. The wall separating the chapel from the crypt was demolished, the crypt was leveled, buried and covered with a floor, the passage was bricked up and the openings in the walls were rebuilt into windows. Thanks to Conrad Steinbrecht, the building underwent a thorough revitalization and a change in the interior arrangement at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. castle tower.
The culmination of the post-war reconstruction of the chapel started in the 1960s was the project “Conservation and construction works in the complex of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Castle Museum in Malbork” carried out in the period from 06/05/2014 to 30/04/2016. The aim of the project was to carry out conservation and construction works in the complex of the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Castle in Malbork, including the chapel of St. Anna. As part of the program, the following works were carried out in its interiors:
reconstruction of plastering and painting expeditions, reconstruction of the altar mensa, illumination and glazing of the great masters’ burial crypt, restoration arrangement of the painting “Adoration to the Madonna of dignitaries and religious brothers who died at Grunwald” according to the design of H. Schaper on the wall of the western chapel, stained glass with a representation of St. George fighting a dragon in a window opening on the eastern wall, during a GPR survey in the western part of the chapel, the 18th-century crypt of the Rexin family, starosts and Malbork economists was discovered; During the conducted archaeological research, the remains of family members and the secondary burials of Malbork Jesuits were found there, a new one was built in the place of the former crypt, in which the remains were reburied.
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