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Honourable patronage:

Bogdan Zdrojewski
Minister Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego

Międzynarodowa Rada
Ochrony Zabytków

Fot. Piotr Namiota
DISTRICT: Piotrków Trybunalski
COMMUNE: Sulejów
DIOCESE: radomska
DECANATE: tomaszewski
FOUNDATION: pocz. 1176 r.

History of the abbey

The initiator and the founder of an abbey in Sulejów was Kazimierz Sprawiedliwy before 1176. The place where the cloister was build was not a void. Two complexes (around Sulejów and Bałdrzychów) were well organised and well developed. In Sulejów there was a customs house and the settlement developed lively. The conditions were favourabe due to the trade routes running through Sulejów that joined north and west Europe with Ruthenia. A market appeared here soon, too.
In the foundation process the cloister gained not only villages but also tithes, two churches (Sulejów, Bałdrzychów), immunity (firstly, probably economic), regalia, and a few slaves changed into bondmen in order to strengthen the settlement process.
In the 13th century the cloister had an incessant protection of the sucessors of its founder: Leszek Biały, Grzymisławy, Konrad Mazowiecki and Bolesław Wstydliwy. Leszek Biały granted new immunities, rights to build new bridges, to hunt beavers and new villages.
At the beginning of the 13th century, the Cistercians having considerable fortune started building a new, more magnificent temple. In 1232 Gniezno's archbishop Pełka consecrated it. In the following years they started building a chapterhouse and finished it in the middle of the 13th century.
In 1232 the cloister took over a so called dobrowski dowry allotted by blessed Bogumił for missionary work in Prussia. In 1252 the Cistercians from Sulejów took over endowment from the abbey of Szpetal.
A dynamic development of the cloister was stopped. Due to the arguments with norbertans and knights about tithes the monks had to defend their properties they had in Kraków, Sandomierdz, Łęczyce and Sieradz, Great Poland, Pomerania, and Kujawy. Their possessions were partially plundered by the second invasion of Tatars. Additionally, the Cistercians from Sulejów delayed sending round the new convent to the cloister in Szpetal what was contradictory to the recommendation of the General Capitulary. They administered this manor like their owners. All of these resulted in the abbey's crisis which in 1285 was referred to as an outrage. In 1285 Sulejów's convent was moved to Byszew. And the cloister was settled by monks from Wąchock. Cloister's enormous properties were divided between the cloister in Sulejów and Byszów.
From the 14th to the17th century apart from the main clositral buildings, fortified circumference (gothic, and renaissance-baroque) was build. Władysław Jagiełło and Kazimierz Jagiellończyl stayed there in the 15th century. The former one gave the cloister a number of privileges (in 1388, 1405, 1406 i 1431).
In 1431 the cloister was burnt down by the Tatars.
In 1640 in a place where the previous, wooden church stood, they started to build a new brick stone church, which was consecrated in 1748 by Łódź's bishop Franciszek Kobielski.
At the time of Confederation of Targowica the cloister suffered numerous damages, and in 1790 a great fire damaged the church and other cloistral buildings. In 1772 there were four churches under the care of the cloister, in Sulejów, Bałdrzychów, Łaszów and Mogielnica. In the next years the number of the monk decreased. In 1793 the cloister and the town was taken over by the Prussian hussars, and in 1795 the town found itself in Prussia, and the cloister in Austria.
In 1819 czarist authorities suppressed the cloister in Sulejów, and its possessions were taken over by the Polish government.
The church in Sulejów (conventual) was intended for a parish and it was given to the diocesan clergy. In 1860 in the walls of the cloister an orphanage was opened.
At the time of warfare, cloistral buildings were damaged and in 1923-25 and 1946-50 construction works could be observed there. The whole of this time, the object belonged to the diocesan clergy. Lately, the church and all the objects were given back to the Cistercians and from 1994 there is a so called priorare usually manned by the Cistercians from Wąchock.

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The Abbey today

Today of the abbey

Since 1986 the Cistercians have been again in Sulejów. The church and cloister were given back after 167 years. Now, there is a priorate settled by the Cistercians from Wąchock.


There is only the eastern wings preserved which is the oldest part of claustrum.
It includes vestry and a chapterhouse. In the roman chapterhouse there is museum with some valuable exhibits.


The post-Cistercian church of St. Tomasz Katuaryjski was erected mainly from sandstone (outside walls, constructional and decoration elements) and the rest is made of brick. Above the former entrance there is a roman tympan from the end of the 12th century. Above the roman portal of the main entrance there is a tracery from the 13th century. The interior is late-Roman. A rococo high altar was made by Jan Millman in 1788. Four side altars from the 17th century in the nave as well as the paintings situated in it were founded by Abbot Stanisław Zaremba whose blazon is placed in a retable of the Altar of Blessed Virgin Mary the Gracious.
The interior decoration is complemented by: stalls from the 2nd half of the 18th century, organs from the 17th century, pulpit from the 2nd half of the 18th century, Christ's Altar from 1788 with a gothic crucifix from the 15th century, a painting of Our Lady of Pompeii, 12 sculptured in wood Sulejów's lions which are connected with the legend of the cloister's foundation, crucifix from the 17th century (chapterhouse). Southern and northern walls of presbytery are covered with polychromies from about 1552 which show Apostles. In presbytery there is a painting "The Assumption" made by Joannes Millman in 1788. There are also tombstones of the abbots from Sulejów and a commemorative plaque of Władysław Jagiełło's stay in the Abbey of Sulejów during his way to Grunwald in 1410.
Apart from that, everything is crowned with ornamented columns and around the object there are still 6 fortified towers: Music tower (cylinder-shaped), Kraków's Tower (the highest one, entrance), Attic Tower, Mauritanian Tower (the oldest one), Abbot's Tower and Knight's Tower.
ul. Opacka 13
97 - 330 Sulejów
tel. (+48) 44 61 62 584

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