The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church


According to monastic tradition written down by Father Karol Gaudenty Żero in his work entitled Fenix de pulveribus resuscitatus svaviter suam candit modulenam (see: Vorago rerum), the Franciscan order in Drohiczyn was established by Mikołaj Nassuta (Nasut) of Międzyrzec, the Voivode of Lithuania and the Starost of Drohiczyn.The Franciscans settled down at and the Starost of Drohiczyn.The Franciscans settled down at the square known as the Corner (Angelusin Latin). In 1407, their first end owments were confirmed by Witold, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, who entitled them also to donations from the castle. In 1409, a spacious wooden doister and a church dedicate to the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary were erected.

In 1451, Father Jan of Ruda was the guardian of the Franciscans of Drohiczyn, and in 1470 Father Szymon of Cracow respectively. The earliest confirmed information on the Franciscans of Drohiczyn dates from 1470 and records some benefactors of the cloister in this year, namely Maciej Miłkowski of Miłkowice, associate judge of the Court in Drohiczyn, and his wife Katarzyna, who granted donations to the guardian on the Franciscans. According to the above mentioned tradition of the cloister, upon its foundation the Grand Duke Witold granted the Franciscans the village of Kłyzówka near Drohiczyn as an endowment.

In 1583, the cloister was bumed by infidel armies. Then, the wooden church bumed down around 1595. It was reconstructed in years 1595-1596 due to the efforts undertaken by Father guardian Mateusz Studziński, however in 1601, both buildings were destroyed once again by fire. The fourth wooden Franciscan church was erected by the efforts of Father Bartłomiej Klucziata vel Klimczata. On 4 October 1618, it was consecrated by Rev. Stanisław Udrzycki, the Suffragan of Łuck and titular bishop of Argivensis. During the same period, a new cloister building was erected. During the period of the 'Swedish Flood', on the day following Misericordiae Sunday, i.e. on 3 May 1657, the cloister was again destroyed, and few monks were murdered by Cossack,Transylvanian and Swedish armies headed by Field Marshall Magnus Gabriel de La Gardie, the Chancellor of Sweden. Around 1678, Father Antoni Gałecki initiated the construction of the fifth, this time masonry, church dedicated to the Assumption of the Holy Virgin Mary. The construction of the Loretto Chapel, comprising the sanctuary of Our Lady and adjoining the south wali of the chancel, started during the same period. The construction of the church was finalized around 1715. The list of fbunders included numerous well known persons from the Podlasie region, as well as from the Republic of Poland. The church was consecrated in 1733. In the years 1738-1750, a new masonry cloister was erected by Father Antoni Dąbrowski who in 1734 added archive facilities for storing regional and municipal books. In the years 1773-1777, due to the effbrts of Father Antoni Dąbrowski, the successive guardian bearing the same name, a detached belfry was built, designed by the monk Father Kazimerz Kamieński. The construction of all buildings was possible due to the donations granted by local gentry, namely Wiktoryn Kuczyński, the chatelain of Podlasie, and his brother Marcin, the Standard-Keeper (chorąży) of Bielsk, Katarzyna, the widów of Jan Radziszewski, the Esquire Carver (stolnik) of Podlasie, Antoni Zaleski, the Cup-Bearer (podczaszy) of Podlasie, and Baltazar (Balcer) Ciecierski, the Esquire Carver of Drohiczyn, son of Tomasz and Jadwiga nee Godlewska.

The Franciscans were living in Drohiczyn until they were expelled from the town by the order of the provincial government on 17 May 1832. In 1836, the tsarist government replaced the Franciscans with Orthodox nuns. In the years 1833-1837, the former Franciscan church (sacristy) was converted into the Orthodox church dedicated to St. Nicanor. In 1838, the former cloister was turned into prison, and after the January Uprising into army barracks (1865-1897).

After Poland regained independence, the cloister building was restored, and the high school after I. Kraszewski name was installed there.The church restoration started in 1929. However, it was again destroyed during the 2nd World War. The Soviet army turned the church into a garbage dump. On 23 June 1941, the Soviets set fire to the church, and as a result its roof, altars and the upper section of its belfry were completely destroyed. During the Soviet occupation, its condition was the worst among all the churches in Drohiczyn. After the war, effbrts of parishioners of Drohiczyn headed by their parish priest Rev. Edward Juniewicz, but primarły by Rev. Wiktor Gliński who was the Rector of the former Frandscan church and later became the parish priest of Drohiczyn - resulted in necessary renovation, and reconstruction ofthreeformer altars. On 15 August 1949, the reconciliation ceremony was held by the Prelate Henryk Humnicki, the Capitulary Curate of the Diocese of Pińsk. Since 1949 the church has been the school church of the Drohiczyn parish.

As a result of the effbrts undertaken by Rev. Antoni Dydycz, the Bishopof Drohiczyn, on 27 June 1996, the former cloister buildings were regained from the Polish StateTreasury, and on 22 December 2000, the whole area was assigned to diocesan purposes (the Diocesan Museum, the Dialogue Center of Podlasie, the Home for Retired Priests, etc).
 


Sources

  1. "Działalność Franciszkanów w Drohiczynie nad Bugiem od schyłku XIV wieku do 1832 roku", ks. infułat Eugeniusz Borowski, Studia Teologiczne. Białystok. Drohiczyn. Łomża
  2. "Kościół i klasztor pofranciszkański w Drohiczynie", Władysław Ogrodnik, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Wydział Historii