Summary Page: Former House
Name: Strzelno, S. Crux (from 1216 Ss. Trinity) and B.M.V.
Circary at the Time: Polonia
Years of Activity: 1148-1838
Map: Click Here (Source: © MapQuest http://www.mapquest.com)
Monasticon Praemonstratense (I, 345):
Approximate modern location: South of Inowroclaw, central Poland.
Elm-Number [See below]: 369*
We are very grateful for the work of a Friend of the Order, Dr. Joanna Szczesna, who has offered her kind assistance to us regarding Strzelno, and other Central European locations of the Order. Dr. Szczesna has prepared a catalog of art works surviving at Strzelno. Her comments begin here:
The foundation in Strzelno has engendered much controversy among scholars over both the time of the foundantion, and precisely who was the founder. A convent of Premonstratensian nuns was mentioned twice in the 15th century by the famous Polish historian Jan Dlugosz in his Annales. Both notes dated the establishment of the cloister to the first half of 12th century (in 1124 and in 1133). As a founder Dlugosz named Piotr Wlostowic from the Silesian family Labedz as the founder of this house.
There were also other opinions, however, one being that Premonstratensian Sisters’ house in Strzelno was founded c. 1175 by Piotr Wszeborowicz called Magnus, a noble man from Kujawy region, where Strzelno is situated. In some of the most recent researches, this opinion concerning the founder benig Piotr Wszeborowicz is taken for granted. There may, however, be a connection between Piotr Wszeborowicz and Piotr Wlostowic. This latest research maintains that Piotr Wszeborowicz was Piotr Wlostowic’s grandson. Thus, the Norbertine house in Strzelno was a foundation of ancestors of that Silesian nobleman. In such circumstances Piotr Włostowic would be a person who inspired the house, and it was his later relatives who were directly involved in the foundation. Among these was (almost certainly) his grandson Piotr Magnus Wszeborowicz and daughter Beatrix, probably the first magistra of the Norbertine nuns’convent in Strzelno (she was a recipient of a Papal Bull from 1193).
Date of this Papal Bull (1193) which confirm the foundation of the cloister, as well as the results of excavations under the supervision of Jadwiga Chudziakowa, proves that both churches in Strzelno – the convent church of the Holy Trinity and the church of St. Prokop Rotunda (the original name of this church was Holy Cross) were built at the turn of 12th and 13th centuries, and there were no other buildings before in these locations. This means that the foundation of the cloister took place not earlier than in last quarter of 12th century. The same time of construction of both churches is very important: till those excavations results there was a theory that St. Prokop Rotunda came to existence much earlier than convent church, and it performed the function of a magnate church (a church which belonged to noble family of the owners of the village), and it wasn’t connected with Norbertine nuns’ monastery at all.
But there is too much information about a cloister existing in Strzelno during the first half of 12th century to disregard it. There is a theory that in 1133 in Strzelno, in some other place than present cloister place, a convent of Sisters existed founded by Piotr Wlostowic for his daughter Beatrix, who was the Prioress. Those Sisters, and nuns translated from the double monastery in Koscielna Wies, together created the Premonstratensian nunnery, for which Piotr Wszeborowicz built the new church and new cloister.
For more general comments about the founding of Norbertine houses in Poland, click here.
* This listing (and the numbers, with a few adjustments after 1995) is based on the map contained in Kaspar Elm's Norbert von Xanten: Adliger, Ordensstifter, Kirchenfürst, Wienand Verlag, Köln, 1984, page 328-329.