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Honourable patronage:

Bogdan Zdrojewski
Minister Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego

Międzynarodowa Rada
Ochrony Zabytków
VOIVODESHIP: zachodniopomorskie
DISTRICT: Choszczno
DIOCESE: szczecińsko-kamieńska
DECANATE: Choszczno
FOUNDATION: ok.1296 r.

History of the abbey

      There are two known hypotheses connected with the location of the Cistercian convent in Recz. According to the first one it was founded before 1272 by the Prince of Szczecin, Barnim I. According to the second one, the convent was founded in 1296 by the Brandenburgian margraves as a compensation for taking over Cistercian properties near Ińsk. In the first hypothesis the convent would come from Szczecin, and according to the second one from Marianów near Starogard.
      In Przecław in October 1296, margraves Otto IV, Konrad, Henryk I, Jan IV and Otto VI granted to the provost, abbess and convent the area of Grodzisk with the nearby fields as an endowment of the new cloister. Thus, the convent received 52 fiefs of farmland, patronage over the churches in Zieleniewo and Recz, rents in Recz, lakes in Żeliszewo, Zieleniewo and Rąbki. Those properties given in the foundation process were not the only ones; the convent grew bigger in the 14th century. They had various donators, e.g. Brandenburgian margraves, Princes of Szczecin, and Prince of Słupsk, Eryk II.
      There were more than 12 nuns in the convent. The leader of the convent was an abbess. The properties were handled by a provost. The parent cloister was an abbey in Bierzwnik. The nuns were mainly from the nobility and middle class, however, the most important functions were in the hands of the representatives of the most significant families. They nuns were occupied with making liturgical vestment, rewriting and illuminating the manuscripts, educating ladies from the noble families. All the works on the fields, mills and breeding were performed by the nuns or monks sent by the cloister in Bierzwnik.
      Quite significant income was from rents, leases and feudal tributes and finally from patronages.
      In 1344 they gained one more source of income. Twelve bishops that met in Avignon and wrote out a church-fair document by the law of which from 1495 once a year, on the St. Martin's Day the nuns could grant indulgence. On the one hand, this day became a holy day, but on the other hand there was a great fair the income of which belonged to the convent. Donations for the convent came from the members of the noble families such as: Wedel, Gűntersberg or Liebenow.
      The nuns had to give tributes to the bishop of Kamieniec. Once a year, on St. Martin's Day they had to give him one roe deer, they also paid tithes. They did not have to pay tithes only in difficult situations, such as a fire in 1303 or in 1340.
      The nuns had arguments not only with the nearby families which goods and privileges they wanted to take over, but also in the 14th century they were in conflict with the city council of Recz twice.
      The biggest tragedy they experienced was in 1433 when the Hussites invaded New Mercia, plundered and destroyed churches and cloistral buildings. It was the first time when the nuns left the convent. The next time they had to leave the convent was in 1537 when the followers of Luther gained power in Pomerania. The people of Recz attacked the nuns and wanted to seize convent's goods. The nuns then run away to Poland; some of them stayed there whereas some went back to Recz and stayed there until it was secularized.
      In the middle of the 16th century, before the properties were taken over by country, the convent of Recz had 350 fiefs of farmland, woods, and meadows, a few lakes and mills, and estates in Dębsko near Kalisz Pomorski, Rzecko and Sieck.
      In July 1552 margrave of Kostrzyn, Jan secularized the cloister. The properties were changed into a country's domain which board was settled in one of the cloister's buildings. After the death of the last nun, all the buildings were taken over by the domain's board. With time, the objects belonging to the Cistercian nuns were falling into ruin and in 1827 they were pulled down. Probably some part of the sacral equipment was moved to various churches. Previous cloistral hill was changed into a field. Today, it is difficult to tell the exact place where the cloister of the Cistercian nuns was situated.    

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The Abbey today

Today of the abbey
          Post-Cistercian buildings have not survived to these days.
      Gothic parish Church of Christ the King from the 14th century for which the Cistercian nuns from Recz cared has a number of monuments from the non-existing Cistercian church: Roman granite Baptismal font, a sculpture of Christ Crucified from the 15th century, unique inner gallery.
      Other elements from the church are in the National Museum in Poznań: thirteen-century Madonna on the Throne and St. Jacob, as well as in the National Museum in Szczecin there are fifteen-century sculptures of Madonna with Infant Jesus and two triptych statues of St. Jacob the Older ad St. George.

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