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Honourable patronage:

Bogdan Zdrojewski
Minister Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego

Międzynarodowa Rada
Ochrony Zabytków
VOIVODESHIP: zachodniopomorskie
DISTRICT: koszaliński
COMMUNE: Koszalin
DIOCESE: koszalińsko- kołobrzeska
DECANATE: Koszalin
FOUNDATION: 1277-1279 r.

History of the abbey

It was the only Cistercian convent in West-Pomerania the founder of which was the Bishop of Kamieniec. In 1266 the Bishop Herman von Gleichen located the town of Koszalin and founded the convent on 14th March 1277 with the Holsztyn mother cloister in Itzehoe
In the document written out on 5th June 1278 by the Bishop Herman in Koszalin, there was the initial endowment of the cloister which provided maintenance to the nuns and guaranteed farther development. In 1278 the Cistercian nuns took over the patronage over the church in Koszalin with its fixtures and four fiefs of land, full tithes from the villages of Dunowo and Strzekęcino, the patronage over the churches in Jamno and Kraśnik as well as the Marian Chapel on Chełmno Mountain. Apart from this, they received 6 fiefs of land within the town, 54 fiefs of land in Kołobrzeg and Koszalin's lands, 40 fiefs of not developed land. They gained the right to fish herrings in the stretch between Łazy and Unieście and to fish in the waters of Koszalin's lands. The convent also got a tavern in Unieście and income from a tavern in Łazy.
In 1278 bishop gave the Cistercian nuns the chapel, famous as a destination of numerous pilgrimages, on the Chełmno Mountain near Koszalin. Sisters soon made it a famous centre of Marian's Cult to which pilgrims from the whole Europe were coming. Its importance grew even bigger when in 1399 Pope gave it the right of plenary indulgence.
The chapel became at the same time a significant source of income. As a result of purchases and donations from the knights, the cloister of Koszalin started developing very fast and with time the nuns managed to gather quite significant wealth.
In 1288 the city council of Koszalin confirmed the ownership of the properties where they built their cloister. At the beginning of the 14th century the sisters had an argument with Koszalin's authorities which finished in 1310 when they agreed to build a fragment of defensive walls and to pay taxes to the town.
The Bishop of Kamieniec, Magnus, on 26th April 1420 confirmed all the previous privileges and purchases. In 1422 the convent bought a part of villages of Borzeń, Gąski, Paprotno and Kiszkowo.
In 1425, apart from patronages, they had 12 villages, 6 mills, rents from 7 villages, and a part of villages of Mielno and Małe Mielno. In 1427 the nuns bought the village of Dzierżęcino with the Wyszoborkie Lake from the Bishop of Kamieniec, Zygfryd. They also had quite a significant income from the salt works in Kołobrzeg which wee in their possession until 1435.
The convent of Koszalin as the only one of the women's cloister in Pomerania did not have a protective male cloister and it was subordinate directly to the Bishop of Kamieniec. What was connected with this, they had specific customs and responsibilities established in the foundation act. According to them the convent could not choose their chaplain and provost-this function was performed ex officio by each parish priest of the Marian Church in Koszalin. The nuns were obliged to provide board and lodgings for two days and nights to the Bishop of Kamieniec and his retinue during his stay in Koszalin. Moreover, each year on the St. Michael's Day, the nuns had to supply bishop's table with 2 boxes of raisins, a box of almonds, two bottles of wine from Riwola, and two barrels of beer and oat.
At the beginning there were 12 nuns in the convent. With time, the number of them grew. At the lead of the convent there was an abbess who had the help of prioress as far as the economic issues were concerned. The nuns were mainly from the Pomeranian knight and noble families and some important bourgeois families which gave the convent grants and donations for the convent in the form of dowries. The convent repaid them by choosing those women as abbesses or prioresses.
Apart from taking care of the chapel on Chełmsko Mountain, the Cistercian nuns were taking care of other chapels and hospitals in Koszalin as well as the ones that were outside the city walls. This was very important especially in 1505 when the plague stroke in Koszalin.
The Cistercian nuns also run a school for girls and a house for the poor. This convent was a model for the other convents. As the sources state, the rules and church ceremonials were handed over to the convent in Recz as model ones.
Due to the Reformation, in 1534 the cloister was probably suppressed. Part of the nuns came back to their homes, some of them stayed in the convent until 1555 running the house for the poor and school.
After the suppression, some of the convent's properties were taken over by the nobility, whereas from the 11 villages, 4 granges and a water mill a prince's domain was established. The patronages they had over the parish churches were handed over to the city council and the cloistral buildings were intended as a residence of the nominal bishop of Kamieniec. The Prince of Szczecin, Jan Fryderyk was the first to hold this post. The process of adaptation of the former cloister to become a castle started. Practically speaking, it meant that the cloister had to be pulled down and a new castle was to be built which later on became the residence of the prince bishop.

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The Abbey today

Today of the abbey


From the times the cloistral complex was functioning as a Bishop's residence the castle wing has survived, however its former character was destroyed by numerous rebuildings. The foundations of the rest of the wings have been preserved.


Post Cistercian church, now of the Holy Trinity, serves the faithful members of the Orthodox Church. From all the foundations only aisle's body has survived.
Chełmsko Mountain is worth visiting with the Marian Sanctuary. In the Medieval Times it was a place where hundreds of tourists were coming from all over Europe.

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