Complex of the Benedictine nuns with the church of St Michael the Archangel, today the Higher Seminary in Sandomierz with the parish church., Sandomierz
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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Complex of the Benedictine nuns with the church of St Michael the Archangel, today the Higher Seminary in Sandomierz with the parish church.



The monastery complex of Benedictine nuns is one of the most distinctive elements in the urban system and landscape of Sandomierz. Along with the Jesuit college, it was the first example of the Counter-Reformation foundation and construction in the Sandomierz region. The novelty was the introduction of basilica-like wings closed with corner galleries. Its reconstruction after the destruction during the Polish-Swedish Was and the construction of the church is linked to Jan Michał Linek, one of the key engineers serving the Zamoyski family.


St Michael Church and the former Benedictine nuns’ monastery were founded by Elżbieta Sieniawska, the wife of the Grand Marshal of the Crown and a sister of Hieronim, the founder of Collegium Gostomianum in Sandomierz, for nuns brought from Chełmno, with the approval of the secular and ecclesiastic authorities and Magdalena Mortęska, the abbess of the Chełmno convent. She undertook to assign the founder’s daughter, Zofia Sieniawska, and 12 other nuns to the new convent completed in 1615. Today’s complex, after the original wooden buildings were destroyed in a fire in 1623, was built (the construction started in 1627) opposite Opatów Gate, mainly thanks to the effort of the first abbess Zofia Sieniawska. The south wing of the monastery was completed before 1639 during the term of Abbess Elżbieta Magdalena Skotnicka, the second during the term of Abbess Zofia Mikułowska and the third in the years 1675-1689 due to the commitment of Abbess Justyna Skarszewska. The church was built in the years 1686-1692 according to the design by the architect of Zamość, Major Jan Michał Linek, during the term of the mentioned Abbess Justyna Skarszewska and her successor Anna Chrząstowska, and owing to Marcin Zamoyski, undertreasurer of the Crown, and Stanisław Zaremba, judge of Sandomierz, in the extension of the former south wing of the monastery. It was consecrated in 1692 by Bishop Jan Małachowski of Kraków. During the period of administration of Abbess Barbara Trzeciewska, the monastery walls were finished. Abbess Franciszka Tarłówna, the daughter of the governor of Lublin, built a belfry and a new gate; later, she also renovated the buildings after the great fire of the town in April 1757. In those years, the spiritual director of the monastery was the Jesuit Fr. Józef Karśnicki who designed the monastery residential building for the chaplain and confessor. In 1903, the church of the monastery complex was taken over by the Higher Seminary. The building was altered to fit the new function and a new east pavilion was added thanks to the effort of Bishop Stefan Zwierowicz. A fire in 1966 destroyed the interior of the church presbytery.


The monastery complex is located at the foot of the old town hill, north of the defensive walls. The church consists of a rectangular nave and a lower, also rectangular presbytery, with an entrance from the south via a richly decorated portal of 1693-1695 made by the stonemasons of Kunów, Jan Marcin Kraus and Jerzy Giertler, according to the design by Jan Michał Linek. The modest interior of the church is dominated by a barrel vault; after a fire in 1966, only a tabernacle of the 2nd half of the 18th century was saved in the presbytery. On both sides of the rood, there are side altars, of Our Lady and of St Benedict, dating back to 1694 and made by the Kraków woodcarver, Franciszek Czerny. The nave draws attention to its richly carved pulpit, made in the years 1694-1695 by the Nowy Korczyn woodcarver, Mateusz Roskwitowicz, with the body resting on the trunk of a family tree growing out of the body of St Benedict. The wings of the monastery adjoin the church from the west. In the monastery section, there is an interesting basilica-like layout of the floor with a high corridor, lit from above thanks to the small, rectangular windows set in bays. The vault of the choir - the nuns’ oratory in the east end of the south wing - is embellished with a stucco decoration from around 1637 with four-leaf fields with hierograms in the glory of rays. The entrance wall to the oratory is covered with a Rococo wall painting from about 1770-1780; the lower entrance is dominated by the illusionistic portal of rich architecture with the figures of Benedictine saints. The south pavilion, the former monastery gate, was built probably about the mid-18th century and transformed in the years 1769-1771 by the architect the Rev. Józef Karśnicki. Its gable is topped with an abutment with the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary leading the Child. On the other side of the yard, there is the rector’s house built around 1769-1771 by the architect the Rev. Józef Karśnicki; the nearby belfry was raised in the years 1749-1750. Between the buildings, at the front, a late Baroque pulpit of ca. 1770 was set up for preaching during the missions along with the figures of Saints Benedict and Scholastica.

Today, the Higher Seminary; monastic buildings are inaccessible; church interior is open to visitors during the sightseeing hours.

Compiled by Jerzy Zub, 14.12.2014.


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General information

  • Type: monastery
  • Chronology: 1627-1689 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Żeromskiego 4, Sandomierz
  • Location: Voivodeship świętokrzyskie, district sandomierski, commune Sandomierz
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland


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