28 March 2019


Tyniec | Poland

3000 B.C. - Traces of an earliest settlement on the Tyniec hill.

1044 - According to the local tradition the Abbey was founded by Casimir the Restorer, the son and the successor of the King Mieszko II and Rycheza, the Queen of Köln. The monastery plays an important role in the restauration of the Polish state and Church after the pagan come back and the Czech invasion. The first abbot of Tyniec, Aron, becomes a bishop of Cracow. He receives the title of an archbishop, which suggests his responsibility for the renovation of the Church structures in the whole Poland.

The second half of the XI century - A typical Abbey stone buildings are being built. The first, three-aisled, oriented Romanesque basilica has dimensions of to-day presbytery with the monastic choir. The monastic buildings arise on the southern part of the church, forming the cloister. The following fragments have been preserved till now: the southern wall of the original basilica with the Romanesque portal, the foundations of the cloister, refectory and fragments of the architectonic ornamentation.

XIV century - The abbey suffers serious destruction as the monks stand by the duke Władysław Łokietek from the Piast dynasty, the future king of Poland, in his fight for the Polish throne against the supporters of Czech family Przemyślidzi. The monastery is also plundered by Tatar invaders.

XV century - The extension of the church and the monastery in the Gothic style. The church is enlarged by three aisles and the choir from the western side. The monastery expands to the southern and western part of the hill. From the reconstruction of the cloister only three wings together with the chapter-house have been saved in their original shape. The temple preserves the plan of the Gothic church as well as some of its elements: the windows with traceries in the presbytery, fragments of the main portal and of the butress.

XVI century - So called in Poland Golden Age brings a further development of the abbey. The former castle becomes the representative residence of abbot (today: the guest-house). The wealthy wages of the abbey serve a development of liturgy, education and an increase of the book collection.

XVII century - Brings the so called commenda (1604-1709), i.e. imposing abbots from outside the convent by the kings. It violates the basic rule of Benedictine life: the eligibility of abbot by the community and the paternal performance of his authority. In the first half of the 17th c. the church receives Baroque interior decorations. From the side aisles six chapels are constructed (the two central ones: in honour of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica). From this time we have the stalls in the monastic choir with the pictures presenting the life of St. Benedict and the history of Benedictines. The wars of XVII century destroy the abbey and its property.

XVIII century - With the ending of the commenda, the abbey flourishes anew. Benedictines of the Polish Congregation are educated in Tyniec. The library enlarges in the southern wing, decorated with Rococo elements. Francesco Placidi projects the altars in black marble, among them the high altar with the picture of the Holy Trinity and the patrones of the abbey, St. Apostles Peter and Paul. In the end of the XVIII century Poland disappears from the map of Europe, divided between Austria, Prussia and Russia. The Confederacy of Bar (1768-1772) tries to prevent this catastrophe. The abbey has been a fortress of the confederates, who fought against Russian troops. The fights ruin the monastery. The abbey becomes a part of the first Austrian annexation. The community with Abbot Amand Janowski rebuilds the monastery once more and increases the library.

XIX century - The Austrian authorities annul the abbey in 1816. In 1821 Tyniec becomes an episcopal seat, which lasts till 1826. Then the bishop is moved to Tarnów. The bishop Thomas Ziegler (a German benedictine) saves liturgical utensils, canonicals and a considerable part of the library (preserved in Tarnów). In 1839 the fire consumes the roofs of the abbey. The monastery again becomes a ruin and the parish takes possession of the remaining church. The last monk of Tyniec dies in 1844.

XX century - In the 1930s the Belgian Abbey of St. Andrew becomes a center of formation of Polish Benedictine vocations. Cardinal Adam Sapieha gives the hill of the former abbey as the place for the new foundation. Eleven monks come to Tyniec on 29 July 1939. Father Karol van Oost was their abbot. The assumed work survived the period of German occupation and the years of communism. The reconstruction of the abbey has been going on since 1947. In 1968 the monastery comes back to the rank of an abbey.


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