Book Series East Central Europe, 476–1795 AD/CE, vol. 2

The Church and Cistercians in Medieval Poland

Foundations, Documents, People

Józef Dobosz

  • Pages: 347 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:14 b/w, 5 tables b/w., 6 maps b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2023

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59802-4
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59803-1
  • E-book
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Examines the nature of the foundation of Christian monasteries and churches by the newly converted rulers of the Piast dynasty; the role of medieval charters as historical record; and the impact of the people who shaped the Church in East Central Europe.


Józef Dobosz is a professor of history specialising in Polish medieval history. He is Dean of History at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland.


In this volume, the research of Józef Dobosz, one of Poland’s leading historians of the Middle Ages, is made accessible in English for the first time. It brings together nineteen studies focused on the role of the Church, the Cistercian Order, and other religious institutions in the history of the Piast realm from which Poland emerged. The introduction offers a broad outline of the first two centuries of the rule of the Piast dynasty after the Baptism of Poland in 966 until the fragmentation of the Piast patrimony during the twelfth century. The subsequent essays examine the circumstances of the foundation of Poland’s leading Cistercian monasteries in Sulejów, Jędrzejów, Wąchock, Owińska, and Łekno. The author analyses the means of their establishment, evaluates the existing sources, and places these within the context of the Piast dynasty’s economic, political, and social policies.

The studies offer an in-depth analysis of the motivations of the leading dynasts, magnates, and prelates in supporting the mission of the Church in Poland and enabling further embedding of Christianity across all strata of the society. The author examines the oldest Polish documents related to Cistercian monasteries and canons regular (in particular foundation charters) including early medieval charter forgeries. The volume’s key conclusions about the impact of Christianity on nascent Poland are based on a detailed examination of medieval charters, the role of scriptoria, identities of significant people of the Church, and the wider historical record.




Chapter 1. The Church and Christianity in Poland before 1300

Part I – Foundations

Chapter 2. The Piasts, the Premonstratensians and Other Religious Orders of Canons Regular in the Twelfth Century

Chapter 3. The Earliest Evidence for Kazimierz II as Patron and Founder

Chapter 4. The Foundation of Łekno Abbey in the Context of Twelfth-Century Polish Cistercian Institutions

Chapter 5. The Foundation Process and the Early Endowment of Jędrzejów Abbey

Chapter 6. The Circumstances of the Founding of the Cistercian Monastery at Sulejów

Chapter 7. The Founder and the Beginnings of the Cistercian Monastery at Wąchock

Chapter 8. Churches in the Endowments to Polish Cistercian Monasteries in the Twelfth and Early Thirteenth Centuries

Chapter 9. The Foundation of Owińska Abbey in the Light of the Earliest Written Records

Part II – Documents

Chapter 10. The Written Document in Medieval Poland

Chapter 11. Research on the Documents and Scriptoria of the Polish Cistercians

Chapter 12. Forgeries as a Subject of Research of Polish Diplomatics of the Middle Ages

Chapter 13. Legitimisation of Forged Documents in Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Poland

Chapter 14. The False Thirteenth-Century Documents of the Cistercian Abbeys at Sulejów and Jędrzejów

Chapter 15. The Diploma of Mieszko III for the Canons Regular in Trzemeszno (28 April 1145)

Chapter 16. The Foundation Charter of the Cistercian Abbey at Łekno

Part III – People

Chapter 17. Maur, Bishop of Kraków

Chapter 18. Archbishop Janik and His Successors: Preparation for the Reform of Henryk Kietlicz

Chapter 19. Thirteenth-Century Abbots of the Cistercian Abbey at Wąchock

Chapter 20. The Cistercians in Małopolska and Their Position in the Economy and Culture of Thirteenth-Century Poland