Benedictine Abbey in Tynka
– Where are all these people with backpacks going??
This question started our journey to Tyniec, a small town that recently became a suburb of Krakow.
The name Tynets comes from the Celtic word tyn – “fence, wall”, which has also survived in the Ukrainian language. Historians claim that this is evidence of the pre-Slavic origin of the settlement.
Not surprising. A cozy town, a hill on the picturesque bank of the Vistula, on the one hand had many important resources – water, forest, stone – and on the other, it could easily turn into an impregnable fortress. Therefore, fortifications on the top of the hill began to be erected almost from the Paleolithic times.
Even before Prince Volodymyr brought Christianity to Kyivan Rus, there was a monastery of Cyril and Methodius – the same missionaries from Moravia who developed the Slavic alphabet, the Cyrillic alphabet. But in the eleventh century, their followers were evicted from the monastery to hand over the abode to monks of the Benedictine order. According to legend, the Polish prince Władysław thanked the Benedictines for helping his firstborn to be born healthy. But it is also important that in those days it was important for the Polish princes to maintain religious ties with their western neighbors, and not with the eastern ones, who were tormented by raids and taxed by the Golden Horde.
Benedictine monks in the 11th century were the most powerful monastic order in Europe. 600 years before these events, the Italian monk Benedict read in the holy books about the arrangement of the first monastic monasteries and realized that the rules invented for the inhabitants of hot Palestine were not suitable for Europe. He developed a new statute for European monasteries, and after his death he was canonized and declared the patron saint of the Order. While the barbarians who conquered the territories of the Roman Empire destroyed the heritage of antiquity, the Benedictine monasteries kept ancient books and manuscripts. It was the monks who preserved the few ancient sources that have survived to our days. By the way, that is why the Polish Prince Władysław asked to help the young princess give birth. These were the best doctors available at that time.
The prosperity and development of the abbey in Tynka began in 1040, thanks to Prince Casimir the Restorer. Six years earlier, young Casimir had to flee to Hungary, escaping from the uprising that began after the death of his father. For five years, the young prince hid abroad, while Poland fell to pieces due to riots and civil strife. But Casimir enlisted the help of relatives from Germany, with the help of German soldiers he regained the throne and began to gradually win back the Polish principalities. Everything has to be paid for: the price of returning the throne was recognition of the supremacy of the Roman Church in Poland. So the abbey in Tynka finally passed into the hands of Catholic monks.
Almost 1000 years have passed since that time. During this time, the monastery was destroyed and rebuilt several times. It did not function as a monastery for more than a hundred years. A new period in the life of the abbey began in 1939, the 900th anniversary of its restoration by Prince Casimir. Little by little, churches were rebuilt, the monastery started working again. In the 21st century, the ancient monastery became the European center of Benedictine culture. A printing house was opened here, which prints church literature. In one of the auxiliary buildings there is a museum dedicated to the Order of St. Benedict. And the monastery also receives pilgrims who walk the way of St. James to the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela – the Malopolska section of this ancient pilgrim route passes by it.
You can visit the monastery without being a Catholic. A river tram runs from the center of Krakow to Tyniec several times a day. On the territory of the abbey you can admire ancient architecture and picturesque rural landscapes. Catamarans are offered for rent near the pier – the river here is calm, it’s a pleasure to ride.
And there is also a cafe where local specialists treat you. Pilgrim’s drink, for example, is bread kvass, the recipe of which has been around for several hundred years.
And this cookie is blessed for peace and clarity of mind.
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