Summary Page:  Former House

Name: Wroclaw, St. Vinzenz

Circary at the Time: Polonia

Years of Activity: 1126/40-1810

Gallery:  Click Here

Map:  Click Here (Source:  © MapQuest

Monasticon Praemonstratense (I, 334)

Approximate modern location: Wroclaw (Breslau), Poland

Elm-Number [See below]: 367*

Other Comments:

The house established in 1126 was near Kalisz.  This house in turn founded Strzelno.  The convent at Kalisz was transferred to Wroclaw between 1180 and 1193.  

The house was established in 1139 as an O.S.B. foundation, but soon changed to O.Praem, under the authority of Steinfeld.  

The following comments were generously supplied by Dr. Joanna Szczesna, of the Catholic University of Lublin.  We thank her for this wonderful contribution to our website:

The houses of St. Vincent in Wroclau-Olbin and the nun's cloister of the Holy Trinity in Strzelno were the most important Norbertine foundations of the Polish Circary.  Both cloisters derived from the first Polish double Norbertine abbey in Koscielna Wies.  They were founded in 1193 (the preserved Papal Bulls testify to this) and were connected by both foundation-lineage and founders' families: Wlostowic and Wszeborowicz.  Both families were of the most renowned aristocratic households in Wroclaw and Kujawy region, where Strzelno is located, distinguished - among other things - by their great wealth.  

The Premonstratensian Abbey in Wroclaw-Olbin was at first a Benedictine House.  Norbertine Canons from Kscielna Wies, with the consent of the Church Hierarchy (the Archbishop Gniezno Piotr, and Bishop of Wroclaw Zyrozlaw) by the end of the 12th century.  They did this with the backing of knights who were patrons of the Abbey (probably descendants of the founder of the Abbey - Piotr Wlostowic) and the prince of Wroclaw, Boleslaw Wysoki.  

In 1529 the citizens of Wroclaw decided that the Abbey must be destroyed.  The 'official' reason was that the Abbey, which was situated outside the city walls, could become a war base for the Turkish army that was at that moment heading toward Vienna.  

In 1530 the Norbertine Canons were moved to the former Franciscan cloister near St. James church.  they remained there until the secularisation of the cloister in 1810.  

Three impressive establishments were founded through the generosity of Piotr Wlostowic - the Abbey church of St. Vincent, the church of St. Michael, and the church of All Saints.  

What the abbey church looked like is known only from the preserved prints and paintings (the oldest being a print from 1562).  According to them, the church of St. Vincent was reconstructed as a three-aisled basilica church without a transept, with a square tower on the axis of the main nave from the west.  All the preserved remains of the architectural elements, especially two capitals with geometric ornament, with double semicircles of flat bands, show inspirations of the so-called "Hirsauer School" of architecture.   

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.