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Honourable patronage:

Bogdan Zdrojewski
Minister Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego

Międzynarodowa Rada
Ochrony Zabytków

Fot. Andrzej Borowiec SDB
VOIVODESHIP: wielkopolskie
DIOCESE: włocławska
FOUNDATION: 1175(?)1186(?)-1195r.

History of the abbey

         In 1175 on the basis of the foundation act of Prince Miszek Stary the Cistercians from Łekno settled in a small town of Ląd. The exact date of the foundation, as well as the reconstruction of the history of this abbey is difficult to establish. It is believed that the first Cistercians were brought to Ląd about 1175 or after 1186-1195. In 1191, probably due to the economic reasons, the abbey was suppressed. After Mieszek's intervention in the General Capitulary the monks came back to Ląd and at the turn of the centuries they started working on non-existing at the present times Roman church. Their landed properties concentrated in two big demesnes, that is, in Great Poland and Pomerania, and were complemented by lakes and woods.
      They had quite a significant income from tithes. Apart from that, they had some profits from mills and butchers in a few towns and from taverns. They also had numerous economic and judicial immunities and regalia. They had a patronage upon churches in Lądek, Godziszewo and Zakrzew in Pomerania and upon St. Andrew and St. Peter's chapels, and from 1473 in Zagówrowo.
      About 1263 part of the relics connected with the Cult of St. Ursula and her Companions were brought to Poland from Cologne by the canon of Gniezno, Andrzej.
      In the 13th century the abbey of Ląd played a significant role in the political and cultural life of Great Poland. Its abbots took part in many important events connected with the organization and the life of the Cistercian Order in Poland.
      In 1131 the cloister of Ląd and properties concentrated around it, were ravaged by the Teutonic Order.
      From the 2nd half of the 15th century the Cistercian monks from Ląd took part in the argument connected with a so-called polonisation. The last German abbot Henryk Butgen in 1550 was accused of being in favour of Reformation. On his place the priest Jan Wysocki (1551-1560) was chosen and became an abbot chosen by the secular authorities and the first Polish abbot in the cloister in Ląd. During his reign he started to raise the cloister from the crisis of the 50s of the 16th century, the novitiate was resumed and a new abbatial palace was built.
      Abbot Jan Zapolski (1644-1689) made an effort to build a new church. Apart from that, he wanted to educate the young nobility.
      The heyday of the abbey was during the rule of the abbot Antoni Łukomki (1697-1750). He built western part of the church, equipped its interior, restored and repaired churches in the cloister's properties. Thanks to his efforts a new house for the novitiate was built.
      After the fire of the wooden church in Lądek a new brick stone temple was built. In 1777 cloistral properties were divided and a command was introduced.
      Starting from 1793 the Abbey was under the Prussian partition rule, and in 1819 after Ląd went under the Russian partition rule, archbishop Malczewski suppressed the Cistercian cloister. After that, the older monks got salary and stayed in the cloister until 1848. Until 1901 the cloistral buildings fell into ruin.
      After World War I the cloistral buildings and the church suffered a lot. In 1921 Salesians were brought here, and they created Lower Seminary. In 1939-1941 in the post-Cistercian objects there was a Nazi temporary refugee camp for 152 monks, mainly from the diocese of Wrocław, Poznań and Gniezno. In 1945 the post-Cistercian objects were used once again in ministry and a Lower Seminary was established. In 1952 Salesian Seminary was founded there.

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The Abbey today

Today of the abbey

          The cloistral complex that has survived is from cloister's prime period. (1651-1743).
          Since 1952 in the cloistral building there has been a place of residence of Wyższe Seminarium Duchowne Towarzystwa Salezjańskiego (Salesian Society Seminary)
      The style of the chapterhouse was changed from fourteenth-century gothic into baroque in 1725. At the back of the stalls which surround the chapterhouse from four sides there are shown saint and blessed of the Cistercian Order.
      Galleries from the 14th century are decorated with paintings by Adam Swach. There are 16 of 36 oil paintings illustrating the history and tradition of the Cistercian Order in Ląd. In the walls of the galleries there are various tombstones and plaques.
      St. Jacob the Apostle's oratory was created in the 2nd half of the 14th century. It is richly decorated with polychromy from about 1372 which is the most important piece of art from medieval times in Poland. Its author is anonymous, but it is known that he was Cistercian. It is a characteristic document of the fourteenth-century development of the abbey which commemorates people and blazon of the benefactors as well as knightly-courtly atmosphere of these times. Frescoes that can be found on the vault show the scenes of the Last Judgment.
      On the first floor of the southern wing there is an Abbatial Hall in which there is now a Seminary's Library which stores incunabulums and old prints. A fresco by Adam Swach from 1722 attracts attention as it covers the whole ceiling. A frieze under a plafond of the Abbatial Hall decorates 35 cartouches with images of Ląd's abbots, Miszko III Stary and autoportraits of the painter.
      In Ląd's strong room it is possible to find a treaty "De Homine" by Galeottus Martuś from 1474, manneristic monstrance and magnificent pax- a cross with relics. One of the most valuable monuments from the cloister of Ląd is a so-called patena kaliska (Kalisz's paten), patena lądzaka ( Ląd's paten) or in other words a paten of Mieszko III Stary . Now it is in a collegiate church of the Assumption in Kalisz where it was probably placed after the suppression of the abbey in Ląd in 1819.

          The Post-Cistercian of Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Nicolas. The interior is well-equipped and has stucco, sculptural and painting decoration. There are also altars (three-storey high altar from 1721; St. Francesco of Assisi Altar, Holy Cross Alter and wooden Altar of St. Ursula from 1702)
      Monumental organs are worth noting. They were built by a Cistercian brother, Master Józef Koegler. Other objects are: gypsum tombstone of Abbot Antoni Łukowski- "the second founder of Ląd"; richly sculptured, oak stalls made about 1680 by a Cistercian Bartłomiej Adrian; a pulpit from 1734 with sculptural decoration; four similar confessionals ( on their tops there are statues of four great penitents which encourage people to do penance and to use the sacrament of reconciliation; marble plaque which commemorated 152 priests and monks, prisoners of special camps that Hitler organized for clergy in 1940-1941 in Ląd and a tombstone of Abbot Mikołaj Łukowski.
      Admirable polychromy of the 38-metre dome of the nave was made by Jerzy Wilhelm Neunhertz according to the program of Abbot Łukowski. A small dome is also covered with a polychromy from 1730 and was the last piece of work in Ląd made by Adam Swach

Wyższe Seminarium Duchowne Towarzystwa Salezjańskiego
Ląd 101
62 - 406 Lądek
tel. 0048 63 276 - 33 - 23
fax. 0048 63 274 - 37 - 85

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