All Saints church

On 24 October, 1623 Wojciech Niemira, the castellan and voivode of Podlasie founded a plot of land to build the church and monastery in Drohiczyn as well as a manor house and three włoka (a land measure from the middle ages, one włoka is approximately 17,8 ha) of land in Sytki. The aim of this foundation was to enable the education of the girls from the wealthy aristocratic families in Podlasie.The donor fully covered the erection of the wooden monastery and the All Saints Church. The abbot Anioł Bidsiński, the guardian of the Franciscan Order in Drohiczyn, played the important role in bringing in the nuns. The initial donation was extended with the property estates, inherited by Zofia Kiszko, the daughter of Mikołaj Kiszko, the starost of Drohiczyn. On 1 November, 1623, she arrived to Drohiczyn with eleven nuns from the monastery in Toruń. The name of the church, All Saints, was granted in commemoration of the day of her arrival. In 1630, Zofia Kiszczanka became the first abbess of the new monastery, the patrons of which where the kings. The benefactors of the church and the monastery were the Polish rulers as well as the derics, local landowners, the gentry and burghers.

The Benedictines' All Saints Church and the monastery was reduced to rubble during the invasion of the Swedish troops and Jerzy ll Rakoczy, the Transylvanian ruler, staring from 3 May, 1657, the „Misericordiae" Sunday, the second Sunday after Easter. It was possible in 1659 to rebuild the monastery, thanks to the aid of Jan II Kazimierz Waza together with the Niemir family. Deprived of the monastery, the nuns would use a chapel. In the monastery, the Benedictines would carry out the resocialisation of morally fallen women, educate girls, or take care of poor and diseased people.The monastery also played a missionary role. Some women prepared for the Baptising and accepting Christianity here. In addition, the Benedictines treated patients in the asylum hospital they run. In the period of epidemie, which depopulated the region of Podlasie in 1709 and 1714, there was a hospital in the monastery for those affected by the plague. Four nuns died because of the personal contact with them.

In 1734, the construction of a new brick church and monastery complex was started. It was finished in 1738. The foundation stone was consecrated by Rev. Józef Olszański, the suffragan bishop of the Diocese of Chełm of the Latin Rite. The founders of the monastery and church were the two Kuczyński brothers: Wiktoryn I the castellan of Podlasie and Marcin, the Chorąży of Bielsk. The church was designed most likely by Jakub Fontana, and built by Jan Krzysztof Adrian Kluk, with the help of the local bricklayer Ambrożewski. The church was consecrated by Rev. Franciszek Antoni Kobielski, the bishop of Łuck, on 21 September, 1744.

After the Third Partition of Poland (1795), the Benedictines were in a difficult position.The land properties located on the other side of the river Bug were taken over by the Austrians whereas the manors and lands were taken over by the Prussians. Due to the patriotic behavior of the nuns, the tsarist government commanded the dosure of the church. Ali these events led to an early death of the last abbess of the abbey in Drohiczyn, the nun Ludwika Roszkowska. Upon the Ukase of 25June, 1856, the monastery was dosed and the nuns were transferred to Vilnius (to the Benedictines' St. Catherine monastery). None the less, after a year, four Benedictine nuns could be met in Drohiczyn as well as four Sisters of Charityfrom Ciechanowiec. During the January Insurgency, they hid the insurgents and run a Polish i school. As a means of repression, the Sisters of Charity were severely fine and in 1864, expelled to the Kingdom of Poland. The Benedictines were first imprisoned in Bielsk Podlaski and then, under guard, they were moved to Hrodna. The church and the monastery were closed down on 2 September, 1864, upon the command of the Governor of Hrodna and Vilnius, Mikołaj Murawjew. The invaders ordered the reconstruction of the monastery complex. The temple was given to the Orthodox nuns who transformed its vestry into a small Orthodox church dedicated to Saint Agapetus. After they left in 1885, the monastery rooms were transformed into military barracks. After some time, tsarist authorities ordered to tear down this building. After Poland regained independence in 1918, the remains of the monastery were revindicated and the process of rebuilding was commenced, bringing it back to file as a school church. In 1929, thanks to the initiative of Rev. Kazimierz Dobrzycki, the Prefect of the Seminary in Drohiczyn, the works were started to secure the tempie and bring it to a useable condition. It served as a school church for the school youth since 1930. Between 1939 and 1941, it was transformed into a toilet by the Soviets soldiers who used it when guarding the border on the river Bug. During the German occupation (1941-1944), the Benedictines' church functioned as an only church in Drohiczyn as the parish church had been destroyed. After almost 110 years of wandering, on 8 November, 1957, the Benedictines finally returned to Drohiczyn after they had been expelled from Nieśwież. They eagerly started the restoration of the All Saints Church and their monastery, headed by the prioress Benedyktyna Stalińska.


  1. "DZIAŁALNOŚĆ PANIEN BENEDYKTYNEK W DROHICZYNIE NAD BUGIEM", ks. infułat Eugeniusz Borowski, Studia Teologiczne. Białystok. Drohiczyn. Łomża 7 (1989) 83-135


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