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Honourable patronage:

Bogdan Zdrojewski
Minister Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego

Międzynarodowa Rada
Ochrony Zabytków
VOIVODESHIP: wielkopolskie
DISTRICT: ostrowski
COMMUNE: Sieroszowice
DIOCESE: kaliska
DECANATE: ołobocki
FOUNDATION: 1211-1213 r.

History of the abbey

The cloister in Ołobok, John the Evangelist's and Blessed Virgin Mary's was founded in 1211 by the Prince of Kalisz, Władysław Odonic. On 1st November 1211 he wrote out a foundation act and then on 20th October 1213 the Archbishop of Gniezno, Henryk Kietlicz, consecrated the cloistral church and next day the convent from Trzebnica consisting of 12 nuns and an abbess came there.
It is assumed that together with abbey's development more Polish women joined it-these were daughters of knights and urban patricians. Cloister's endowment constituted of a several villages. Prince Odonic and Wirzbięta Gryfita were the most generous donators. In order to celebrate cloister's consecration, Archbishop H. Kietlicz granted to the abbey tithes in the villages situated between Ołobok and Barycz. The first buildings were simple and only in the 13th century new, permanent buildings were erected.
The abbey in Ołobok staffed a priorate in Łubnice on Prosa River. Thus cloister was founded in 1239-1241 by the castellan of Kraków Klemens Jaksa from Gryfit-Świebodziec Family. Its first endowment composed of a few villages. After the death of the founder, on 18th March 1241 the patronage over Łubnice was taken over by his brother, Wierzbita Gryfit and a widow, Recława. The first six nuns came from Obołok in 1241-1242. In January 1242 they started to be called the nuns of Łubnica. At the turn of 1252/1253 the cloister in Łubnice was liquidated and the whole convent moved to Obołok. The endowments of those two cloisters were joined and as it was quite small, Pope Urban V in 1262 took the cloister under his jurisdiction. Additionally, the cloister gained a privilege to have a market in Obołok and Łubnice, and to locate on the German Law.
When the village of Tyniec was given to the convent by Kazimierz Wielki it allowed convenient communication with Kalisz.
In 1744, August III allowed to run market in Ołobok every week and fair every three months, which were to take place on 31st January, 21st March, 24th June and 21st October. Thanks to the donations they had quite significant income; however, it was not always easy to collect. Thus, they had numerous arguments and trials about their balance due.
At the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries a new late-gothic church of John the Evangelist was erected. In the first half of the 17th century there was fire which destroyed these buildings. It was rebuilt in 1695-1696. In 1780-1788 western façade was rebuilt and a new bell tower was built.
Civilisation activity is assessed positively thanks to the churches they established in Ołobok and Łubnice and branches in Mieleszyn, Ochędzin and Chruścin.
The Reformation reached the abbey in 1525 and resulted in a crisis in the monastic obedience. In the end, the cloister however survived and remained Catholic.
In the 30s of the 17th century Maria Kunicka came to the convent. She was Polish and came from Świdnica in Silesia. She was a scholar-astronomer and knew a few foreign languages: Hebrew, Greek, Latin, French and German. Thanks to her knowledge of astronomy she was quite famous in Europe.
The superior of this cloister, the richest and the most significant in Polish Republic, was called an abbess. The sources say there were about 40 abbesses in 1246-1837. They were always Polish; only the first ones from the beginning of the 13th century could be German. All the nuns had to be obedient to her, and an abbess administered all the properties, run trials, and concluded contracts. An abbess together with the nuns was subordinate to the commissioner of the Polish Province and the Polish Archbishops from Gniezno also had the right to supervise the convent.
This cloister was also a school and an educational institution for girls aged 8-11 who could read and write. They finished this school at the age of 14 and were learnt Polish, German, French, geography, history and arithmetic. A very important area of education was ethics. Physical education and healthy eating was also taught. Girls were also taught how to play instruments, dance, sew and embroider and thank to this the convent of Obołok became the centre of braiding and embroidery.
Cloister's landed properties were confiscated in 1896 and in 1836 the Prussian government decided to close the convent. The final decision about closing the cloister was made in 1837; the nuns however were allowed to stay in the buildings until 1864 when the last Cistercian nun died.
In 1882 cloistral buildings was sold and pulled down. The bricks were used in building the church in Chełmce near Kalisz.

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The Abbey today

Today of the abbey


Until these days only a fragment of the galleries wing has survived.


Now, in the place where the fourteenth-century Cistercian nuns' church stood there is a Parish Church of John the Evangelist. It was built on the original plan. When they were building this church the nuns included there some gothic elements. The equipment of the new church, however, had some objects from the former church, for example, abbess's throne. A wooden church of St. John the Baptist built by the nuns in the 16th century has also survived as well as late-renaissance high altar from about 1600 and side altars from the 17th and 18th centuries.
A rectory situated next to the church is from the end of the 18th century.

Parafia p.w. Jana Ewangelisty
ul. Kościelna 42
63 - 405 Sieroszewice
Tel. 0048 62 739 01 30

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