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Honourable patronage:

Bogdan Zdrojewski
Minister Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego

Międzynarodowa Rada
Ochrony Zabytków

Fot. Piotr Namiota
DISTRICT: Świebodzin
COMMUNE: Paradyż
DIOCESE: gorzowska
DECANATE: świebodziński
FOUNDATION: 1230 -1236 r.

History of the abbey

The cloister in Paradyż was endowed by the governor of Poznań province, Bronisz of Doliwów family. The process of establishing the abbey started on 29th 1230 and finished in 1236. The initial endowment of this new abbey was mostly from Bronisz family's goods from Gościkowo, consisting of nine villages between Książ and Śrem, as well as tithes from parochial church in Gościkowo.
It is not know exactly when the first monks came to the place of foundation. Some historians believe that the Cistercian appeared in Gościkowo in 1234 and some that the chapter came to this place after the final permission to accept the donation from Bronisz, that is, in 1235. Monks that were brought from Lehnin lived in a cloister made of wood, situated on the north bank of Paklica River, outside the village of Gościkowo.
The wealth of the cloister grew systematically in the 13th century due to the purchases and exchanges of the remote lands, as well as due to colonialism that was a result of various privileges given by the dukes, such as judicial immunity, exceptions from duke's law, military duties, guards and paying some of the taxes. The abbey had also a foundation privilege and could move their properties to the German law.
The profits from the cultivation of land were multiplied by the farming economy, cloister's participation in the trade, fees from grinding the crops in many of the priory's mills, income from the fishery and beekeeping, and finally from the handicraft (cloth manufacturing)
In a short time the cloister started to build a church, and was involved in creating their own branch- a cloister in Wieleń (after translocation in Przemęcie)
The monks were able to drum up support of almost all the lords. The boarders of the abbey reached Rome-in 1247 pope confirmed Bronisz's foundation, all the grants and privileges that the cloister was given.
There were well organised scriptorium and library in Pradyż-a great number of documents present a dictate and the Cistercian writing.
With time, the monks had arguments with their neighbours about ownership which was a result of the economic expansion of the order in Pradyż. The order was searching for an effective protection of their ownership. It was given this protection in 1327 by the King Władysław Łokietek who confirmed its properties and took the convent into its protection. Ludwik Węgierski, Zygmunt Luksemburczyk and Władysław Jagiełło also granted the order documents that gave it privileges and forbid its economic expansion.
The 15th century brought a downturn of the order's economy. The cloister concentrated on the protection of the goods that it had already had. In 1493 the Abbot of Pradyż gained the confirmation of its all rights and freedom from the King Jan Olbracht.
The 15th century also brought the increase of the cultural diligence of the monks in Pradyż. There was a library in the order. Its collection was enormous and allowed the convent to join the order's "schooling mission". The monks of Pradyż went to study to Kraków and Lipsk. The most famous representative of the Polish order in the 15th century was Friar Jacob from Pradyż.
Starting from the 16th century the economy of the order worsened - in 1506 and 1528 the monks complained about the devastation of the order's goods and the abuse of the priory's constructions by the local nobility.
This difficult situation worsened even more in the 17th century as a result of the devastation of the abbey's goods by the Brandenburgian and Swiss army as well as a fire of the year of 1633.
The monks tried to search for King's favouritism. King Zygmunt I confirmed previous rights and freedom of the convent. A very similar privilege was given to the Cistercians from Pradyż in 1546 by the King Zygmunt August.
Apart from those material problems there ware other, too. Among them there was a crisis of the internal life and international conflicts. From 1617 the order was obliged to settle German and Polish abbots.
After 1580 the monastery of Pradyż was included in the forming of the Polish provinces of the Order. It was classified as a medium abbey. After 1688 the number of monks in the convent of Pradyż systematically decreased.
In the 17th century the priory in Pradyż was given into command. In 1743 there was a division of the properties into abbatial and conventual. Silesian territories were mainly assigned to the abbatial office.
After the First Partition of the Polish Republic in 1772 the order in Pradyż was under Prussian partition rule. Between 1796-1810 the Prussian government confiscated some of the abbey's properties. In 1814 the order was taken over by the Russian army and the monastic constructions were changed into a hospital.
The cloister in Pradyż was closed in January 1834. The library, which situation was worsening from 1814, was destroyed and some of the equipment was sold on an auction.
In 1836 the buildings of the abbey started to be used as teacher's training college. At present there is Seminary of Gorzowska Diocese.

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The Abbey today

Today of the abbey
          Now in the post-Cistercian cloister there is a Seminary of Zielonogórska- Gorzowska Diocese and a branch of Theological Department of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.
      In summer, within the cloister's walls there is a baroque music festival called " Muzyka w Raju".
      Baroque frescoes showing the Holy Spirit's gifts have been preserved in a refectory.
      Since 1999 in the antique rooms of the cloister, which are next to the church of the Assumption and St. Martin, there is a Museum of Paradyż (Muzeum Paradyskie). It is possible to see there a rich collection of memoirs which are left after the Cistercians: Old prints from the 17th and 18th centuries, liturgical books, monstrances, liturgical vessels and vestments, reliquaries borrowed from one of the greatest in Poland collection that belong the monastery church. Moreover, there is a collection of paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries.
          Almost all the objects in the Church of Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Martin come from the 18th century. Big altar from 1739 is a splendid achievement of late-baroque woodcarving in Silesia; reliquaries from the 16th and 17th centuries; early-classicist stalls decorated with images of church officials; rococo organ prospectus by Joachim Gottlob Peter from the 3rd quarter of the 18th century; oil paintings: foundation painting from 1700; baroque-rococo pulpit; four triple confessionals from the end of the 18th century; seventeenth-century bench, epitaphs placed on the church's floor. In St. Wojciech's Chapel there are baroque frescoes showing the scene of the Last Supper and A Prayer in Ogrójec, whereas in the Chapel of Mother of Jesus of Paradyż there is a miraculous painting of Mother of Jesus with an Infant Jesus which is also a destination of numerous pilgrimages. It is a copy of the seventeenth-century Byzantine icon from Bologna made by an unknown artist in 1650.
      There are also other valuable monuments from Paradyż which are not kept in an Archdiocesan cathedral and Museum in Poznań and these are paintings by K.Boguszewski from 1628-1629. In the National Museum in Poznań-department of applied arts- there is a missal in a silver binding bought by Abbot Józef Górczyński (1722-1742).
      Gardens that are next to the church and the cloister are decorated with a set of 5 stone statues from the 18th century which show the following saints: St. Florien, St. Bernard, St. Benedict, and St. Marin of Tours.

Gościkowo 3
66-200 Świebodzin
tel: 0048 68 381 10 21, 381 10 24
fax: 0048 68 382 08 68

Seminar church, museum, and gardens are open for visitors
Visiting is possible only with a guide-seminarist of our Seminar

Visiting hours:
weekdays: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. with a break 12:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.;
Sundays and holidays: 9:00-10:00 a.m.;1:00- 3:30 p.m.;4:30 - 5:00 p.m.;
Between 25th September-23rd June on Tuesdays sightseeing only until 12.00 a.m.
and between 24th June-25th September: 9:30 a.m.-8.00 p.m. with breaks: 12 a.m.-1 p.m. and 6-7 p.m.

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