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Honourable patronage:

Bogdan Zdrojewski
Minister Kultury
i Dziedzictwa Narodowego

Międzynarodowa Rada
Ochrony Zabytków
VOIVODESHIP: zachodniopomorskie
DISTRICT: Szczecin
COMMUNE: Szczecin
DIOCESE: szczecińsko-kamieńska
DECANATE: Szczecin - śródmieście
FOUNDATION: ok. 1243 r.
ABOLISHMENT DATE: ? 1534/35 r.

History of the abbey

It is not known when the Cistercian nuns settled near Szczecin. They had already been there when Princess of Szczecin, Marianna, the first wife of Prince Barnim I, on 27th January 1243 wrote down a document for them. It seems that she was the initiator of bringing the nuns here, as she gave them the village of Grabowo (now the district of Szczecin) with fruit orchards and vine-yards and the right to fish in Odra River.
It was one of the first foundations of the women cloisters in the West-Pomerania. The Cistercian nuns were probably brought from Denmark which may be supported by the fact that their parent cloister was an abbey in Esrom, Denmark and later on, its branch in Kołbacz.
It is worth noting that the convent of Szczecin played an important role in the history of Pomerania by becoming the 'mother' of almost all the Cistercian convents in the region.
In less than a month from the moment when the document was written out by Princess Marianna, on 25th February 1243, Prince Barnim I confirmed this document. He also confirmed that the village of Grabowo belonged to the Cistercian nuns, gave them the church of St. Peter in Szczecin together with the village of Drzewotno, and a tithes from Kołbaskowo. Apart from that a chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Szczecin with the village of Ustowo with its tithes, a tithes from Barnisław and Ladenthin and a chapel of St. Michael. Mr Bartłowmiej sold them the village of Golęcino. The convent could order the people who lived in the cloister to fish in Odra River. Cloister's ships did not have to pay customs duty.
The elected chairs of the village council were responsible for the lower judiciary system and settlers who wanted to live in the cloistral area were not subordinate to princes' clerks.
The properties the convent received in the foundation document were not the only ones. In the 13th century convent's properties grew bigger by grants, donations and purchases thus at the end of the century they had about 40 villages.
There were other regions that belonged to the convent, Widuchów lands, village of Dobro, Rynice and 64 fiefs of land among many. Apart from that Prince Barnim I founded St. Catherine Altar in the cloistral church, a then in 1281 Knight Otto von Ramin founded the next altar. It is probable that there were more such foundations. In 1281 and 1287 the convent gained the right to fell trees.
The information about the convent itself is quite meager. It is sure that it must have been quite a numerous convent as it used to establish new cloisters. The leader of the convent was an abbess. The nuns were from the nearby knight families and middle class families from Szczecin, Stargard and other towns. In 1504, the chapter of Szczecin prohibited the Cistercian nuns from meeting the monks from the Carthusian Order from Grabowo.
There were also granddaughters of Barnim I in the convent. When they joined the convent they contributed 8 fiefs of land in Dobra Szczecińska to the convent. When they died the lands remained in the possession of the convent.
The Cistercian nuns were preoccupied with making liturgical vestments, copying and illuminating the manuscripts. They also took care of the ill and poor by running a hospital-shelter. They also educated young girls from the rich families.
The earned a living by running granges, lodgings, and mills.
In the 16th century the Reformation was getting stronger in West-Pomerania. In 1542 in Szczecin was an inspection of churches which aim was to secularise and divide the church and monastic properties. Soon, the convent of Szczecin did not exist any longer.
After the Reformation was introduced and after the suppression of the convent cloistral objects were changed into an armory and later a granary was situated in there. Post-cloistral buildings survived until the 17th century and in 1684-88 they were pulled down. The only building that was left was a significantly rebuilt church.
In 1867 a Roman Catholic community that existed in Szczecin wanted to buy this more and more deteriorating object from the Prussian authorities. In order to solve this problem the decision about demolition was made. Despite many protests, the temple was pulled down in 1904.

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The Abbey today

Today of the abbey

Unfortunately any of the cloistral building has survived. Nowadays, in a place where previously was the cloister there are town buildings. Pieces of Western Pomeranian cloisters' equipment can be seen in the National Museum in Szczecin.

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