The town of Zdzież is situated in the County of Gostyń, ca. 15 km north-east of the town of Gostyń. The church is located in the suburb of Zdzież, at the town’s eastern edge.
The church of Our Lady of Consolation is known as Our Lady’s Sanctuary in Borek-Wielkopolski or ‘of Zdzież’.
The town of Zdzież was established in the late 14th century on the Pogona river, and was granted the charter as a city in 1392. The church, town-hall and castle started being built around 1390, following the command of the local landlord, Castellan Henryk Zimnowodzki. It was then that the first picture of Our Lady of Consolation was painted, by an unknown village-based artist. A fire that broke out in 1423 consumed the entire town. Only the Marian image and a gothic Pieta sculpture were the only conflagration survivors. Using the opportunity, the lord of the nearby Borek was granted by King Władysław Jagiełło a location charter, which was followed by transferral of the Zdzież parish to Borek as well.
As the loss could not be consoled, Zdzież was eventually rebuilt, and a new, larger, church erected. Both the expanding towns were to merge soon after.
Funded by Stanisław Przyjemski, the church as it stands today was built in the former half of 17th century, after the design by Albin Fontana or Krzysztof Bonadura the Elder. The century’s latter half saw intensified pilgrimage traffic and it was then that a number of copies of the Borek image of Mary were created – the most famous of which being kept in the Poznań Franciscan convent, bearing the praiseworthy name of Our Lady Mighty in Miracles, the Lady of Poznań. In the course of the threatening warfare in 17th century, the icon was carried away several times, for safety, to cloisters or convents in Silesia. Once the war turmoil stopped, the church was thoroughly renovated in 18th century, a tower added and the temple’s décor altered. During World War 2, the occupiers closed the sanctuary down, plundering all the valuables it housed. The icon, together with its papal crowns, was successfully hidden in a private apartment in Gostyń; it eventually resumed its original place once the warfare ceased.
As you enter the church through the side gate on the left, you can see a large crucifix. On the very top, above the Christ effigy, visible is a small cross made of the legendary Gryżyna birch.
As you walk out of the porch through the left-hand-side door, you’ll walk into a room with paintings hanging on the walls featuring the miracles made through intercession of Our Lady of Borek.
The main altar is baroque and features in its central section a painting of Our Lady of Consolation. It is furnished with two curtains, one showing the scene of Marriage of our Lady and St. Joseph, the other, made of silver-coated tin, forms so-called icon cover.
The icon seen today was made in 1550 to 1575, and officially regarded miraculous since 1619. The image of Mary was crowned with papal crowns in 1931.
To the right in the main nave is a pulpit featuring the symbols of the Four Evangelists, with a canopy above it, supported by two angels. The canopy is crowned by Archangel Michael, summoning to God’s Judgement.
Of interest to this sanctuary are the ‘Zacchaeus spots’ – i.e. the places anointed by the bishop while consecrating the temple. The spots are ornamented with the symbols of the Twelve Apostles, each such spot differing from all the others.
The side nave has on its right-hand side an altar of John of Kęty and St. Roch. In the side nave, to the left, is an altar of the Saint Apostles Peter and Paul and St. Vincent.
Two chapels can be found at the end of the transverse nave: a St. Joseph’s chapel to the right and a chapel dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, formerly, Our Lady of Sorrows.
ul. Zdzież 1
63-810 Borek Wielkopolski
tel. +48 65 571 65 40