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Cistercian Period

The Cistercian Order was founded in the eleventh century by St.. Robert of Molesme. The first Cistercian monastery in Poland, was founded in 1139 at Jędrzejów. It was from there that the first monks arrived at the newly established Abbey in Rudy. The date of their arrival is difficult to establish, but it is assumed that about 1255 the first group came to prepare the chambers for the rest of the convent. The final date for implementation of the convention varies between 1258 and 1261.

The basis for the economic development of the abbey were laid by the foundation document issued by Prince Ladislaus, under which the monastery received numerous estates and privileges. The boundaries of the monastic estates were established upon the principle of three miles’ distance from Gliwice, Racibórz or Koźle. The first abbot of the monastery was Peter I (1252-1274). In his times the Abbey began to grow by bringing colonists, establishment of new villages, exploiting the land and introduction of the rental economy. The monastery gathered the tithes of its subordinate villages.

Already in 1280
the Rudy Abbey was thriving in every way. The workforce of the monastery were the regularly employed monks and the dependent population committed to work out their obligations in form of labour. An important branch of industry were also breeding, farming, gardening and fishing. With time, the Abbey also took up beekeeping (they produced, for example, mead and wax), as well as production of wool. The sixteenth century brought the beginning of industrial development in the Abbacy. In 1586 the first ironworks was built in Stodoly, in 1712 the first glassworks producing, alongside with the window glass - mirrors, carafes and even glass beads, exported to Austria.

Despite the fact that the living standard of the monastery rose significantly, the monastery often was on the verge of bankruptcy. What was the reason? In the seventeenth century, invasions of foreign troops were only too frequent and that was connected with high contributions paid to the invaders, as well as the usual looting and destruction associated with military marches. Another economic blow to the convent was the Silesian War - also connected with the need to pay high contributions to the Prussian army, and also imposing on the monastery 50% income tax, the duty to maintain the ship on the Odra River, fire brigades in every village and the construction of a wire factory. Furthermore, the Abbacy was committed to growing cotton mulberry and tobacco.

In the nineteenth the monastery was burdened with establishing a hospital for French soldiers. But the Rudy Cistercians did not deal with the economy only. Apparently, already in the fourteenth century, the first monastic school was established in Rudy , preparing boys for the priesthood and religious life, and at the beginning of the eighteenth century the first village school for children was built out of wood and transformed a century later into the communal school. However, no approved information exist on the subject. In 1744 a high school for young nobility was created which taught foreign languages, music, history, geography and nature. A few years later a theater was built at the monastery and since 1765 at the monastery there existed a higher school of teaching and philosophy. The Cistercians devoted a lot of attention to the library, for which they purchased books in Morymond and Waltsassen. The collection was subsequently augmented by rewriting books in the monastery's scriptorium. In 1812 the library possessed 10-12 thousand volumes.

The decline of the Cistercian monastery came with the nineteenth century. In 1810. the monastic property was secularized. Seized was the cash, archives, the insignia and the Abbot seals. All the Cistercian goods became the property of the Prince of Hesse-Kassel.

Ogival Romanesque portal
Ogival Romanesque portal
Map (P.B. Wernera -1737)
Map (P.B. Wernera -1737)

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