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Honourable patronage:

Bogdan Zdrojewski
Minister Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego

Międzynarodowa Rada
Ochrony Zabytków
DISTRICT: Raciborski
COMMUNE: Kuźnia Raciborska
DIOCESE: Gliwicka
DECANATE: Kuźnia Raciborska

History of the abbey

In 1238 the Cistercian General Capitulary ordered the abbots from Mogiła and Sulejów to inspect a territory in Woszczyce where a new cloister was to be founded. It is not known why the cloister was founded in Rudy upon the Rudy River, on a trade route in Wrocław's diocese. The place for the new cloister was chosen by the monks from Jędrzejów and Prince of Opole, Władysław is considered to be the founder.
The initial endowment was not big. Their main activity was agriculture, cattle and swine farming. They also developed truck framing, fruit-growing, beekeeping, fishery in artificial ponds and production of sheep's wool and apiculture. They produced beeswax, mead, and liqueur.
On the cloister's grounds there were vineyards, forges, glassworks, where in 1712-1740 window panes, decanters, mirrors, jugs, dishes, and pearls were produced and some of the products were exported to Austria. Quite significant was also forest industry with the production of charcoal and tar. Ore mining and what is connected with it, metallurgical industry was also important. Iron was also produced on a large scale. In the Cistercian Stodoły in 1747 a large kiln for coal was built. It was the first one in Upper Silesia. Apart from that the cloister had its own ore mines.
The first monastery school was probably established in Rudy in the 14th century. The cloister provided food and clothes for the poor boys. Later on, the school was transformed into probably the first in Upper Silesia real gymnasium. In 1748 they built a special theatre hall in which numerous celebrations and plays were performed. From 1765 there was a college at Rudy's cloister for 11 years.
With the passing of time the status of the cloister and its abbots grew and they were the first among all of the prelates in Upper Silesia. In 1510 abbot Mikołaj IV gained from Pope the right to wear pontifical insignia.
The abbots of Rudy lost their rights when Silesia was taken over by the Prussia. The 15th, 16th and the 1st half of the 17th century were not successful for the cloister. Hussite Wars, reformation, Thirty Years War brought a lot of damage. The greatest destruction was brought by the army of General Mansfeld in 1627.

The cloister was rebuilt for the first time in 1671-1680 under the guidance of bricklayer's master, Melchior Werner from Nysa. The changes included cloistral buildings and a vestry in a church. A new abbatial palace was erected. In 1723-1726 a Marian chapel was added on.
The rebuilding resulted in the loss of the medieval nature of the object. .
After the secularisation in 1810 some part of equipment was removed from the church. In 1810 the properties of the cloister were given by the Prussian authorities to Wilhelm Amadeusz von Hessen-Rothenburg. After his childless death these properties were taken over by his nephew Wiktor von Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfiirst, who changed the surrounding by demolishing most of the farm buildings. A park was established. The lordly palace had 120 rooms, study rooms, guest rooms with bathrooms and boudoirs, etc.
In January 1945 the buildings were put on fire by the Soviet soldiers. The fire destroyed palatial mansion and in a church the main constructional elements suffered.
In the 70s of 20th century redecoration of enclosure and the abbey started. In 1989-1992 the Marian Chapel which survived the fire, was restored, and then fresco in the Holy Cross chapel's dome, too. In 1995 the façade was restored.
Reconstruction and conservation works of the Cloistral-Palatial Complex intensified in 1998 when the post-Cistercian object became a property of Gliwice Diocese and a Formation-Educational Centre was founded there. A part of the object where various exhibitions, historical-educational performances and Advent fairs take place, were made available for visitors.

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The Abbey today

Today of the abbey

This cloistral-palatial complex is the only post-Cistercian object in Silesian province.


Post-Cistercian cloister is the propery of Diocesan Curia in Gliwice. At the moment it is being renovated and reconstructed. From the original buildings there has not survived many. The ruined object is composed of a cloister and an Abbot's House. As a target they want to create a Formation-Educational Centre of Gliwice Diocese (Ośrodek Formacyjno-Edukacyjny Diecezji Gliwickiej)

Kuria Diecezjalna w Gliwicach
44-101 Gliwice
ul. Łużycka 1
tel. 0048 32 230-71-42
fax: 0048 32 230-78-88


Church of Blessed Virgin Mary has been a Diocesan Sanctuary of Our Lady of Rudy since 1995. It is one of the most valuable architectonical monuments on the premises of Gliwice Diocese. In the northern arm of the transept there is a stone portal from 1680 with monogram IHS in Gloria. Most of church's equipment was destroyed in a fire in 1945. From the side altars there are only four stuccoed, wooden altars from 1785 with paintings by M. Wilmann. In the church's walls there are abbots' tombstones built into. A baroque Marian Chapel is also worth noting with a miraculous painting of Our Lady of Rudy from the half of the 15th century. The interior is richly decorated with polychromies. The entrance is closed by an artistic grill from 1678 made by a master from Racibórz. In the chapel of St. John Nepomucen there is an eighteen-century stucco decoration, and in the chapel of the Holy Cross there is a polychromy from 1775 made by F.A. Sebastiani.

Rzymsko-Katolicka Parafia Wniebowzięcia NMP
47-430 RUDY
ul. Cysterska 1
tel. 0048 32 4103057

"Cistercian Landscape Compositions of Rudy Wielkie" is a scenic park (more than 504 sq km) on the premises of which there is a post-Cistercian Cloistral-Palatial Complex in Rudy. The area is characterized by an attractive nature connected with the preserved plant cover and in 1957 it became a reserve.

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