Chęciny – Franciscan Monastery

History

   The Franciscan monastery in Chęciny was founded in the second half of the 14th century on the initiative of King Casimir the Great, who founded it in 1368 with the permission of Pope Urban V. In 1465 the monastery, inhabited by 12 brothers, was destroyed in a fire. In the years 1581-1603, the church was severely devastated under the rule of dissenters. The reconstruction was carried out on the initiative of the starost Stanisław Branicki in the years 1612-1620. At that time, the nave and presbytery of the church were vaulted, new roofs and the western gable were made, and the monastery buildings were rebuilt, stone cloisters, economic buildings with an entrance gate and a late Renaissance chapel were also erected. The renovated monastery was again destroyed by the soldiers of Francis II Rákóczi in 1656-1657, which meant that it had to be rebuilt once again in the second half of the 17th century by the starost Stefan Bidziński. In the 19th century, the monastery was turned into a prison, then a school, a slaughterhouse and a hotel. During the Second World War, the monastery was occupied by the German army. After the liberation, the complex was restored in 1946-1948. The Franciscans did not return to it until 1991.

Architecture

   The Gothic monastery church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built of unworked limestone as a structure orientated towards the sides of the world, located in the north-west part of the town. It consists of a two-bay nave and a narrower, three-bay chancel, closed in the east with polygon. The vaults in the church are cross-barrel with decorative ribs. In 1947, fragments of the polychrome on the rood wall from the second half of the 15th century were discovered with the signature of the brother Angel from Sącz.
   The enclosure buildings formed an almost square patio on the northern side of the church. It was originally surrounded by wooden cloisters and also by wooden buildings. The oldest brick building was probably the west wing, with a wooden dormitory built on the second floor in the second half of the 16th century.

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bibliography:
Webpage checiny.pl, Klasztor Ojców Franciszkanów.
Webpage zabytek.pl, Zespół klasztorny franciszkanów. Chęciny.