The history of the temple situated in the picturesque surroundings of the town of Chodel (Lublin Province) dates back to the mid-18th century. There was a painting of Our Lady of Loreto, famous for its miracles. Although the walls of the old church have survived today only to the height of the cornice, Loret – as this place is called – is still impressive.
– The first, still wooden, chapel was built here in 1616. It was built by the Jesuits, brought by Primate Bernard Maciejowski. This place was chosen because, according to the legend, the “mysterious light” appeared here during the prayer to the primate’s father.
In the chapel there was a cult painting of Our Lady of Loreto, brought from Italy by Mikołaj Zebrzydowski, who in the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had such important functions as the Grand Marshal of the Crown. As the painting was famous for its miracles, pilgrimages began to arrive in Loreto (as this place is commonly called). Which, in turn, encouraged the Jesuits to build a brick temple.
Above the main entrance to the west facade is the date AD 1750
– The cornerstone was consecrated on August 5, 1736. The main construction works were probably completed in 1750, because the date AD 1750 is above the main entrance in the west façade – says Dr. Dariusz Kopciowski, Lublin Provincial Conservator of Monuments, who once again resembles the history of Loret on the Facebook profile of the office.
This time, the opportunity to do so is a drone recording by an office worker Grzegorz Mączka, which shows that the place – although only ruins remain of the church – still intrigues with its appearance. The former temple is located on an inaccessible island surrounded by ponds. There is also a lot of greenery around.
The heyday of the temple and farm lasted until 1773
– The church was a late baroque building – built on a rectangular plan, with a three-nave basilica. It had a chancel closed with a semicircular apse and two rectangular sacristy on the sides, emphasizes the conservator.
Next to the temple there was a belfry and a statue of Our Lady of Loreto, and a little further – the Jesuit residence. – The heyday of the temple and the farm lasted until 1773, that is, until the dissolution of the order. Unfortunately, Chodel’s Loret shared the fate of most of the Jesuit centers and estates. Abandoned, it fell into disrepair and the marshy terrain accelerated the process of decay. During the canonical visitation in 1891 it was noted that “there were only walls without a roof” – says Dr. Kopciowski.
There were plans to demolish the church
At the beginning of the 20th century, there was an attempt to demolish the temple and use the material for the newly built church in Ratoszyn. However, the project was not completed due to technical difficulties. Today, the walls of the old church have survived only up to the height of the cornice. They are protected by an entry in the register of monuments and are situated on private property.
– They can be visited with the knowledge and consent of the owner, who is kind to everyone interested in the monument and its history. On the other hand, we can see the icon of Our Lady of Loter from the former Jesuit temple in the parish church in Chodel – the conservator points out.
The ruins of the church are located in the village of Chodel in the Opole County in the Lublin Province
Main photo source: Grzegorz Mączka / Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments in Lublin