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Honourable patronage:

Bogdan Zdrojewski
Minister Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego

Międzynarodowa Rada
Ochrony Zabytków

Fot. Piotr Namiota
VOIVODESHIP: małopolskie
DISTRICT: krakowski
DIOCESE: krakowska
FOUNDATION: 1218 - 1226

History of the abbey

The foundation process of this Cistercian cloister with the final location in Mogiła near Cracow which took place in 1218-1226 was conducted by Iwo and Wisław Odrowąż. New endowment constituted of lands which belonged to Wisław Odrowąż and his son Dobiesław.
At the turn of 1221 and 1222 the convent from Silesian Lubiąż came to Kacice in Little Poland. In 1222 Iwo gave them a village of Mogiła and earmarked it for a new location of the cloister. It was the time when they started working on this and in 1225 the convent moved from Kacice to Mogiła.
Their first endowment they had in 1222 was made of the villages of Prandocin, Kacice, Sędowice, Januszowie and pure gold which was given by Iwo from bishop's properties. Thanks to the numerous grants, the cloister in Mogiła increased in its properties and had a number of benefits.
An immediate neighbourhood was completely populated. In the village of Mogiła in the 20s of the 13th century there was a church of St. Bartholomew and in the 50s a parish.
In the 13th century the monks did a number of things, apart from farming and handicraft, they did activities connected with industry and mining; they had two salt springs
Iwon Odrowąż's death and Tatar Invasions caused the delay in building the church and the cloister. They were consecrated in 1266.
From 1309 Polish monks started to appear among those from France or Germany.
In the 17th century Mogiła was more and more important as pilgrims' destination due to the presence of the Miraculous Cross and the image of Jesus.
Academy of Cracow, which was established in 1401 as Władysław Jagiełło's request, became a place of training and education of the Cistercians not only from Poland but also from other provinces of Eastern and Central Europe.
In the 15th century abbot Piotr Hirszberg built the Cistercian Seminar at the Academy of Cracow and was chosen by the General Capitulary a reformer of the Order and an inspector in Prussia and Poland.
From 1538 the institution of abbots chosen by secular Kings brought a lot of economic problems.
In the 16th century there were much less callings, economic crisis and loosening of the obedience and discipline. The situation got better after the inspection of Edmund a Cruce (1579-1580), as a result of which the Polish province with 140 monks, including 15 in Mogiła, was established
During the Polish-Swedish wars (1655-1660), the convent got dispersed. In 1655 there was a fire which destroyed all the cloistral constructions; unfortunately it was not the only fire during this war.
The institute of philosophy in Mogiła in which monks from other orders could study was established as Abbot Paweł Piasecki's (1624-1649) initiative and it survived until provincial college was opened in 1718.
Provincial capitulary in Sulejów (1716) decided that the abbey in Mogiła would be used as a House of Studies for the Polish cloisters. At the moment when the Provincial College was established all the abbey's buildings became the property of the cloister, whereas August II in 1738 decided what would happen to the landed property.
The Partitions made it difficult for the Provincial College to work properly, and its downfall was on 17th September 1819. It was reopened in 1951. Thanks to the efforts of father Augustyn Ciesielski, the later abbot, and Father Andrzej Kolasa, the abbey of Mogiła became a very important centre of the revival of the Cistercian province in Poland. The turn of the 18th and the 19th centuries was a gradual process of liquidation of the cloistral properties.
In the 19th century Mogiła's cloister, the only one apart from Szczyrzyc, was not suppressed but was included in the Austrian congregation of Mehreau.
In 1950 the country took over all the cloistral goods and the Order started to be occupied with other things.

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The Abbey today

The abbey today

The abbey of Mogiła is one of two, next to Szczyrzyc, which in the 19th century was not suppressed. The Cistercian Fathers have been in Mogiła since 1225. The architectonical complex is composed of Basilica, cloister, abbatial palace, priorate and farm buildings. On the western side of the there is a late-gothic wooden church of St. Bartholomew and a bell tower from 1752.


The cloistral building in the south-east part is joined with the abbatial palace and priors' house. The eastern wing has vestry, warehouse, abbatial hall ( auditorium-the place of audiences, now academic chapel), hall and chapterhouse from 1670 (with 10 morality plays showing the lives of the Cistercian monks from about 1600, on the doors leading to the chapterhouse there are figures of four Evangelists)
On the southern wings a so-called "Kominek" (small chimney) is situated. Previously it was a calefactorium and now it is a hall of student and teacher ministry; refectory from 1450-now it is a dining room. On the first floor there is a hall of debates which is called a hall of St. Bernard. Gallery's vault is covered with Stanisław Samostrzelnik's frescoes.
In a strong room they gathered liturgical vestments from the 12th and 13th centuries (chasubles, copes), liturgical vessels: chalice (from 1644 and 1645), communion pyxes (from the 17th and 19th centuries), and a chalice from the 17th century. Next, there is a door to the 16th century library. It is one of two libraries that have survived in the same original form. This library has many valuable collections: the oldest handwritten and printed objects are from the 15th century, apart from that there are liturgical works: missals, Plasters, lectionaries, antiphonaries, graduals, and monastic observances. The whole is surmounted with a gothic vault decorated with Stanisław Samostrzelnik's frescoes. He was a Cistercian from Mogiła and an artist.
There are also Renaissance and Baroque tombstones and paintings.


Cloistral church of Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Wacław is from the first half of the 13th century. It is one of the oldest brick buildings in Poland. In 1970 Pope Paul IV gave it the title of Minor Basilica.
From the earliest period there is only a brick piscina in one of the southern twin chapels and a small number of tiles from presbytery which are now kept in the cloister's collections.
In the inside of the church there are numerous paintings and epitaphs from the 16th to 18th centuries and mensa with traceries and Odrowąż's blazons.
Presbytery, transept, and twin chapels are covered with a well-preserved Renaissance polychromy (2nd quarter of the 16th century) made by Stanisław Samostrzelnik.
The original organs from 1730, destroyed by the time have not been renovated. The present ones are from 1927 and were made by Stanisław Tobola. In the centre of high altar there is a gothic triptych from 1514 and in its centre a statue of Mother of Jesus with Infant Jesus.
There are also other important monuments, such as, triptych from 1497(Silesian), late-baroque stalls in presbytery, stalls in the Chapel of Holy Cross (1650) and forged gilt grill from the 1st half of the 17th century. In the baroque altar in the Chapel of Miraculous Jesus Christ there is a miraculous sculpture of Jesus on the Holy Cross (second third of the 14th century) which is a destination of numerous pilgrimages and is an object of religious cult.

Opactwo Cystersów w Mogile
ul. Klasztorna 11
31-979 Kraków
tel.: 0048 012 644-23-31; 0048 012 644-69-92
fax: 0048 012 644-10-45

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