Strzelno is a town in the Kujawy-Pomeranian Province, district (powiat) of Mogilno, located ca. 18 km south of Inowrocław. It is an important point on the Piast Route.
There are several hypotheses put forward in regard of the origins of Strzelno churches. In spite of numerous chronicle records available, the dates these temples were actually built have not been unambiguously determined. The cloister church of the Holy Trinity was erected on the turn of 13th century and was consecrated in 1216. It was built of granite cut stones as a three-nave basilica with a transept and chapels, two cylindrical turrets by the presbytery and a two-tower western edifice. The main entrance led in from the north. At the south, a cloister, probably made of timber, was adjacent to the church. The space between the basilica and the other church was filled by a cemetery. Only later on, in 15th century, convent buildings were erected on the site.
A redevelopment that took place in mid-15th century deformed the basilica’s Romanesque solid. The naves were covered then with Gothic-style vaults, the Romanesque columns getting surrounded with Gothic pillars. The eighteenth century was the time for the church to be reshaped into Baroque forms; chapels were annexed at the south and the temple was furnished anew. The recent years have seen a thorough renovation, giving an opportunity to unveil a number of Romanesque forms.
The main nave is separated from the side naves with the famous four Romanesque columns dating to the end of 12th century, cast in sandstone and subsequently walled in, only to be discovered in 1946. The second pair of columns is richly adorned, with eighteen figures fixed on each, arranged into three levels separated with vegetal-motif-ornamented friezes. The figures cast on the right-hand-side column are arranged according to the importance of what they symbolise. The lower ‘storey’ of the southern column feature as follows: Humility, Piety, Exercise of Lord’s Service and the Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice and Temperance. The middle strip shows the monastic life’s virtues and the upper-section figures portray Love, Hope and Faith, and then on, Obedience in three aspects: toward God, the secular and the spiritual authority. The right-hand-side column features symbols of vices and sins cast in stone. On the lowest, fundamental level there appear: Conceit – Lust for Power, Deception, Injustice, Falsehood, Anger, and Avarice. The central group portrays the mundane vices and disadvantages of: Murder, Pillage, Revenge, Heresy, Voracity, and Egoism. The top-section series of vices starts with Jealousy, Laziness, Vanity, Vain Glory, Unchastity and Despair. The bas-relieves’ form and style suggests a West-European origin of the programme author and sculptor. The former was probably a Norbertan monk from a French or German convent. The columns were carved in sandstone brought in, probably, from the quarry in Brzeźno near Koninka, possibly in 1180–1190. The main 18th-century altar features a 1892 painting showing the Coronation of Our Lady.