The History of the Parish

2008-04-22 19:09:30
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The History of the Parish

The history of the parish, its deeds and its past, are a story of life, labour, joy and suffering, the births and deaths of its residents. The history of the Roman Catholic parish of St. Joseph in Świeradów-Zdrój is not synonymous with the history and past of Świeradów, in that the historical origins of the town go back to 1550. At this time settlers were already established, and there was a tavern and mill, with a trade route running from north to south. The religious wars, and especially the Lutheran Reformation, meant that residents of Świeradów living in a diaspora were but a small fraction of the Catholic residents belonging to the parish in Mirsk.
Given that residents of Świeradów and Orłowice were travelling to church in Mirsk, count Schaffgotsch sought in 1785 to build a chapel in Świeradów, soliciting from the king, Frederick II, a positive decision in the matter. In the spring of 1786 the new Catholic chapel dedicated to St. John of Nepomuk was consecrated. Its bells were the work of bellfounder Krystian Siefert of Jelenia Góra, its clock Florian Fliegiel of Lwówek, the altar Augustyn Wagner also of Jelenia Góra and the pulpits Lech of Krzeszów, while Bernard Krause of Ząbkowice painted the depiction of St. John of Nepomuk in the altar. In 1873 a choir was added, and in 1883 the towers were renovated. The church survived for 100 years.
In 1898, through the efforts of count Schaffgotsch, a new chapel was built of brick, receiving the name of St. Joseph since the altar transferred from the old chapel was dedicated to the same. This chapel is today an integral part of the new church, with the altar of St. Joseph its most beautiful ornament.

The Second World War changed not only the people, but also the face of Europe. The established residents of Świeradów-Zdrój were relocated in the years 1945-6 to Germany, on the basis of the Yalta treaty. Arriving in the town were people relocated from the lands of the eastern Republic, as well as service personnel and people from central Poland.

The new residents of Świeradów-Zdrój were Poles of the Roman Catholic faith, with a church and priest being therefore both necessary and a matter of the utmost importance. Unfortunately, it was at that time difficult to find a priest, since thousands had been murdered during the war in the concentration camps of Dachau and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Others remained in the east, with many being murdered by the UPA. In addition, there were few young entrants to the priesthood owing to the closure of seminaries during the war.