Lubiń - Benedictine Abbey, Lubiń
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The Benedictine abbey in Lubiń was built in c. 1075 as one of the many new Benedictine foundations established in Poland after a raid by the Czech Prince Bretislaus and a pagan rebellion. The monasteries were to assist the Christianising activities conducted from the Metropolitan seats of the ecclesiastical provinces of Gniezno (Mogilno) and the bishoprics of Cracow (Tyniec), Wrocław (Wrocław, later Lubiąż) and Poznań (Lubiń). Lubiń Abbey, like no other in Poland, possesses detailed historical records dating back to the time of its foundation, and is one of the longest active monastic centres in Poland. Its history is closely bound to the Piast dynasty and the powerful Awdaniec family of Greater Poland. The church vaults served as a ducal necropolis where relatives of Mieszko III the Old were interred: his sons Boleslaus (†1195) and Ladislaus Spindleshanks (†1231), and his grandson Ladislaus Odonic (†1239). The Adwaniec family and all of the abbots of Lubiń were also buried in the monastery church. Deceased friars were laid to rest in the cloisters, whilst the abbots were interred in the church or the chapter house.

The monastery was founded by King Boleslaus II the Generous (some scholars believe that he supplemented an earlier donation of the Adwaniec family), and renovated by Boleslaus III the Wry-Mouthed. On 1 June 1267 Pope Clement IV issued a papal bull which placed the friary under the protection of the Holy See. In 1295 the abbot was endowed with judicial authority over all civil and criminal cases (including the authority to issue death sentences). Lubiń was home to one of the largest libraries in Greater Poland (which to this day houses the earliest music score in Poland). Educated monks ran the scriptorium. One of their number was probably the chronicler Gallus Anonymous, a protégé of the chancellor Michał Awdaniec. The abbey also hosted Maciej, notary of Duke Boleslaus the Pious, who in 1257 was the first to use the term Polonia Maioris (Greater Poland). The monastery is also linked to the story of Blessed Bernard of Wąbrzeźno (1575-1603).

The historic components of the friary include the Monastery Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, two monastery buildings with a park and gardens, a curtain wall with seven gateways, a belfry, a farm, the parish church of St  Leonard, a vicarage, a parish school, a market square and a statue of St John of Nepomuk. St Mary’s Church was remodelled on several occasions. Originally, its Romanesque form was modelled on Benedictine examples from the Meuse and Scheldt regions, particularly part of the tower of the west front. Sections of Romanesque stone wall also survive in both the monastic church and the parish church of St Leonard’s, testifying to the excellent skills of the masons who built them. Further Gothic and Renaissance period expansion left its mark in these buildings’ shape and decoration. Among the extant medieval furnishings of St Mary’s Church are Romanesque and Gothic portals, a metal door embellished with beaten metalwork detail, a stone baptismal font, the granite tombstone of Abbot Awdaniec (d. 1490) and the Gothic epitaph tablet dedicated to the monastery’s benefactor, Ladislaus Spindleshanks. Renaissance features include tombstones of abbots and knights, as well as the Mannerist gables of St Leonard’s. The largest changes were introduced in the 18th century. It was at this time that the interior of the monastic church became predominantly Baroque in style, thanks to the work of Czech, Moravian and Silesian artists. Illusionist polychrome paintings were added, as were elaborate stalls made by Jan Jerzy Urbański, altars and a pulpit. Most of the monastic buildings (over 70%), which had been raised at the same time as the church and had undergone several phases of remodelling, were dismantled in 1847. In the 1920s the Benedictine monks built a new monastery on the site of the friary’s old north-east wing.

This site’s spatial layout and its buildings, which evolved over a period of 900 years, bear witness to the endurance of both tangible and intangible culture of remarkable significance. The abbey is of exceptional historical, cultural and architectural value. Despite its long and turbulent history, numerous historic features from various periods survive in good condition - from the Romanesque and Gothic, to the Mannerist, Baroque, Rococo, and finally 19th-century historicism and the national style of the interwar period.

General information

  • Type: ecclesiastical complex
  • Chronology: XI - XVIII w.
  • Form of protection: Historical Monument
  • Address: Lubiń
  • Location: Voivodeship wielkopolskie, district kościański, commune Krzywiń - obszar wiejski
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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