History of the Former Premonstratensian Nun's
Church of St. Nicolaus in Slupsk

Dr. Joanna Szczesna, Catholic University of Lublin, Poland

In 1281 St. Nicolaus church became a dependency of Premonstratensians from Belbuck (Bialybuk).  It was a donation of the Prince of Pomerania, Mestwin II (also known as Msciwoj or Mszczuj).  The original church was much older than Premonstratensians Nuns’ church, and probably at first was a wooden building.

The brick church was begun in 1311.  It is directly connected with Premonstratensian nuns receiving this location.  It replaced the old, wooden constructions, which were situated exactly at the same place.  This fulfilled the regulation of the Norbertine Order, that only permanent materials, such as stone and brick, be used for their houses.

St. Nicolaus is a single-aisled church with a high western tower.  This construction was probably erected after a fire in 1477.  Originally, there had only been a modest tower for an ave-bell. Cloisters were located on the north side of the church.

In 1522 the Norbertine priest Jan Krystian Ketelhuta arrived from Belbuck.  To the astonishment of the local Catholic hierarchy, his teachings were full of Martin Luther’s spirit!  In addition, these ideas were supported by the then-Prince of Pomerania, Boguslaw X. After the death of Boguslaw X, during the time of his successors, the Reformation movement overcame the Catholic Church in the region around Slupsk.  Lutheran beliefs began to predominate, and from then on St. Nicolaus became a Lutheran church.

In 1665 there was a great fire, and after this only the church and cloister walls remained. In 1673 in order to protect these relics, the ruins were covered by a roof.  There was not enough money for more preservation than this.

In 1737 church became a garrison Protestant church, but already in 1740 it started to function as a magazine for the army.

During the „Seven Years War" it was used by Russian Army (1759-1760) as a barracks and an Orthodox Church.  When the Russian soldiers departed, the church again fell into ruin.

After repairs in 1772, St. Nicolaus church became a school and boarding-place for poor pupils.

The next series of repairs took place in 1819.  In 1820 the church was the location of an elementary school.  The first high school for girls at Slupsk was started at this location in 1834 and remained here until 1882.  In 1926 there was a school for ‘special needs’ children in the church, and also a gymnasium (high school) for girls.

In 1945 the church again declined into ruins, destroyed and burned by Red Army during the ‘liberation’ near the end of the Second World War.

At the beginning of the 1960s an idea began to circulate of restoring church and adapting it to function as a library.  This idea proved very popular and successful – in 1971 the Slupsk Municipal Library was opened in the finely restored church of St Nicolaus, and it is functioning as an important part of the community to this day!