History

The first parochial (parich) church, very likely to had been built in wood, existed in Swidnica at least since 1250. The bulding of the present Church started, according to the legend, in 1330 under the reign of Duke Bolko II of Swidnica. He was probably the founder of it. The House of God was built as a basilica, which means its nave is higher then its aisles, and the windows are placed in the nave. The nave was finished in 1385.

Still in the 14th and 15th century the chapels were built on the sides of the aisles and were founded by rich citizens, religious brotherhoods and guilds. At the end of the 14th two towers were to be built, however only one, the southern, was finished. Currently it is the highest tower in Lower Silesia (103 m), and the second highest tower in Poland.

In 1532 most of the altars, 9 bells, and two clocks was burned in a fire. Couple of years later there was an earthquake in Swidnica. In 1561 the Basilica was taken over by Protestants and became the main evangelic church in the city.

During the 30-year War the church was given back to Catholics (Jesuits). In that time it was used in exchange by Catholics and Protestants depending on what army was stationed in Swidnica. The Jesuits founded edifice of Jesuit’s College and boarding-school. For 113 years the rector(chancellor) of the College was as well the parson of the church.

In 1740 Prussian Army was entering Silesia. These wars caused many damages to the Basilica. The Prussians created a camp of prisoners of war inside the church, and later a grain storage. The whole church was almost destroyed during that time. It became a holy place again in 1773.

By the end of 19th century a major renovation of the whole Basilica was required. It was finished in 1909. The renovation costed half a milion Reichs Mark in gold. During the bombardment by planes of the Red Army in 1945 one of the bombs hit the Presbytery but fortunately did not damage the Basilica itself.

For Christening of Poland Millenium in 1966 the church’s interior was renewed. In the last year the roof was exchanged with new tiles also the Swidnica’s Mother of God Chapel was restored.