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Honourable patronage:

Bogdan Zdrojewski
Minister Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego

Międzynarodowa Rada
Ochrony Zabytków

Fot. Stanisław Geppert
VOIVODESHIP: zachodniopomorskie
COMMUNE: Stare Czarnowo
DIOCESE: szczecińsko-kamieńska
DECANATE: kołbacki
FOUNDATION: od ok. 1173 r. - 1176

History of the abbey

          Kołbacz was the first Pomeranian cloister east of Odra River. It was established due to the enlargement of the Danish influence. Its mother cloister was a Danish cloister in Esrom.
      In 1173 Szczecin was sieged by the army of the King Waldemar I of Demnark. The stronghold's defender was castellan Warcisław Swiętobrzyc who gave in and committed to bringing the monks from Denmark, building a cloister for them on his properties and generous endowing it.
      The Cistercians came to Kołbacz on 2nd February 1174 under Reinhold's command.
      The original endowment was broadened with donations, purchases, and exchanges. At the same time when they were organizing land latifundium and were expanding territorially, the abbey was widening its scope of the rights to the people who lived in the domains they bought. They received full economical and judicial immunities, their subjects' exemption from the prince's law, from jurisdiction of the prince's authorities, army, and tax exemption from the goods. Chairs of village councils chosen by the abbots had the right to be judges; nevertheless, it was the abbot who was the supreme judge. Apart from that, the Cistercians received numerous grants in the prince's monopolies.
      The landscape was adapted to the settlement needs. The main activity of the monks and their subjects was agriculture. Great sheep sheds and pigsties are proves of the good condition of the stock farming. Additionally, they had malt mills and water mills. They also were in the possession of different workshops: shoemaker's, tannery, saddler's, looms, and cloth, smith's in Kołbacz and spinning mills in Sobieradz. Their farms were based on the work of monks and converses, manors were usually with a few fields and small granges. There were about 150 people employed in Kołback: few brewers, a baker, cooks, gardeners, shepherds, grape-vine planters, forest rangers, and hunters. They also specialized in truck farming and fruit growing. Chamberlains, who usually were converses, were at the head of the granges, which were places which concentrated commodity, agricultural, breeding, handicraft production, and economic administration of rent and other tributes collection. Before the time of reformation there were about 10 granges.
      They took part in commodity exchange which is connected with the network of taverns they had. In 1173 they did not have to pay custom duties. In the middle of the 13th century they received the right the free transport of crops in order to exchange them for herrings and transport other foodstuffs and clothes for their use. As a result of the trade needs they bought houses in the Pomeranian towns which were used as granaries, and lodgings for monks and converses.
      In the 14th century is the period of intensive farming and enlarging the territories. The abbey lived from the previously collected capital, invested cash in the urban real estates, grants loans, extended the cloistral church and other buildings in Kołbacz.
      The 15th century brought an economic slump. Political issues, the Hussite Invasion of 1433 and Brandenburgian Wars of 1478 were destructive. More and more lands were in the hands of leaseholders, feudal knights, who competed with the abbey.
      The Abbey was politically important when The Principality of Szczecin existed (1295-1464). The Cistercians were in contact with the General Capitulary in Citeaux and other Cistercian cloisters (in Dargun, Lehnin, Doberan, Bukowo, Eldno, Oliwa, Hiddensee).The abbots inspected cloisters in Oliwa, Bierzwnik, Mironice and Pełczyce.
      Bishop Jan consecrated the new cloistral church on 8th July 1347. The monks were also the patrons of parish churches that were situated within their properties.
      The cloister in Kołback was also the centre of the culture of the mind, and had a library. The annual book of Kołback is a proof that they were interested in history. There are 78 documents from 1261-1536 and the register of students from about 1450 with a transcript of 272 documents from 1173-1447 that are left from the great cloistral scriptorium. In 1456 they took part in organizing the Pomeranian university in Greifswald.
     The reformation reached the area in which the abbey was situated in 1521. In 1534 princes decided that Lutheranism was a national religion. The last abbot Bartłomiej Schoobe resigned from his position. He received compensation in the form of a manor in Kołowo with tributes of crops, hens, money, with the right to fell lumber and fuel in the nearby woods and he became Evangelical priest in Kołowo

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The Abbey today

Today of the abbey


As far as claustrum buildings are concerned only a so-called converses' house from the 1st half of the 13th century has survived (northern part of the western wing). It was reconstructed in the 70ies of the 20th century and was supposed to be a cultural monument. Abbot's house - now there is a library and beautiful architectural details have been preserved here, especially western portal.
Eighteenth-century architectural details from the cloistral buildings are kept in the National Museum in Szczecin.


Now the post-Cistercian church is functioning as a parish church of Heart of Jesus. It is a late-roman and gothic stone church, however, there are not many items left from the original equipment. There are only two brick, gothic farm buildings: a fifteenth-century barn (now it is a warehouse) and a sheepshed.

Parafia pw. Najświętszego Serca Pana Jezusa
ul. Warcisława 8
74-106 Stare Czarnowo
tel: 0048 91 312 40 27

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