The Holy Trinity Church


The Roman Catholic tempie could have existed in Drohiczyn as early as in the second half of the 13th century. The Mazovian and Cracovian Duke Konrad I, by the Act of 8 March, 1237 settled the military Order of Dobrzyń. It is said that they erected the first church which was demolished in 1241 during the invasion of Poland and Hungary by the Galician Duke, Daniel Romanowicz.

According to tradition, in 1386 Władysław Jagiełło the Grand Duke of Lithuania and the King of Poland, having accepted Christianity, founded the Holy Trinity church in Drohiczyn on a mountain called Poświętne. Ruda village, among others, in the lands of Drohiczyn was his remuneration. Subsequent rulers, Lithuanian dukes and kings of Poland became the collators of the church. In 1409, Pope Aleksander V on Witold's, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, request induded Drohiczyn and most part of Podlasie to the diocese of Włodzimierz yyith its seat in Włodzimierz Wołyński (formerly these lands used to belong to the diocese of Płock). In 1425 the seat of the diocese was moved from Włodzimierz to Łuck. Drohiczyn was within the diocese of Łuck until the third partition of Poland (1795).

In 1498 Aleksander Jagiellończyk, by issuing the charter for the Magdeburg Law, stated the existence of two administrative units: Drohiczyn Lacki and Drohiczyn Ruski (on the left hand side of river Bug).

Another collator of the church in Drohiczyn was king Zygmunt I Stary. As the previous foundation act was lost, he issued a new document in Mielnik on 2 April, 1509 (that is the second day after the "Judicavit" Sunday). The document confirmed the forrńer endowments for the parish church in Drohiczyn that composed of the following: Ruda Plebańska village with a mili, meadows in the town, fishing on the river Toczna (formerly: Kamianka) and the tithe from 35 nearby gentry and royal villages. The named King Zygmunt on 29 May, 1523 granted Drohiczyn to Piotr Kiszka, the starosts of Drohiczyn and Podlaskie voivode. In 1535, the same king discharged the townsmen of Drohiczyn from paying duty for 6 years due to a massive fire that destroyed churches and number of households. In 1555 another, but this time a brick church was built. Since 1604 Drohiczyn was a seat of the deanery. During the Swedish invasion of Poland on 3 May, 1657 the parish church was tore down by the army of theTransylvanian Duke, Jerzy II Rakoczy. Most probably, the contemporary parish priest Rev. Paweł Jędrzej Petrykowski/ Potrykowski, canon of Łuck and archdeacon of Pułtusk raised a temporary church that held Podlaskie sejmiks among others (1676). In 1618 bishop suffragan of Łuck, Rev. Stanisław Udrzycki (died in 1621), titular bishop of Argivensis, reconciled the parish church, because as in line with the records "it was tarnished with blood".

The Jesuits from Pułtusk, who were kindly treated by Podlaskie dergy, came at the invitation of the named Rev. Paweł Jędrzej Petrykowski on 21 August, 1654. In August of the same year, the city was severeły damaged by the army of the Swedish chancellor, field marshal Magnus Gabriel de La Gardie who was heaasng to conquer Lithuania.

On destroying Drohiczyn in 1657, the bishop of Łuck, Rev. Jan Stefan Wydźga temporarily handed over the parish to the Society of Jesus. King Jan H Kazimierz Waza on 2 March, 1659 granted a privilege regarding the transfer of the parish benefice to the Jesuits. A solemn ceremony of placing the first Jesuit bishop took place on 10 December, 1661. This very year a Jesuit parish schooi was opened. On 1 June, 1664 the King renounced his collator rights for the Prior father Bieliński. Monks first built a wooden monastery, which was rebuilt after it was demolished in May, 1657 and then it was bumed down in 1660. The foilowing year the Jesuits rebuilt the destructed residence. In 1668, pope Klemens IX approved the foundation of the Jusuits college at the Holy Trinity church. The brick monastery (currently the seat of the Seminary) was raised in stages between 1729 and 1744 partially according to a design of a Jesuit buiider Rev Jakub Ritoff/ Rouff who stayed in that area between 1729 and 1732.

Some other great works of the Jesuits indude: the Holy Trinity church that survived the test of time, a monastery school for the poor gentry and the edifice of the college erected owing to father Szczepan Sinezjusz Kuczyński, the Prior and rector of the school in Drohiczyn. The erection of the church and monastery school for the poor gentry was initiated by father Aleksander Żardecki/ Zardecki, the guardian of the Drohiczyn monastery and rector of "Zardecianus" monastery school for the poor gentry. Moreover he bequeathed his family wealth for that purpose. Among numerous benefactors of the church, monastery and remaining buildings one can enumerate: Wojciech Emeryk Mleczko - the starost of Mielno and Podlaskie voivode, Anna Mleczkowa Opalińskich, Tomasz Olędzki - warrant officer of Drohiczyn and castellan of Zakroczym, Marek Butler Chamberlain of Drohiczyn, Helena Chabrzyńska (Hobrzyńska) - court derk from Drohiczyn, Jadwiga of Sarnaccy Minczewska - wife of Paweł - district bailiff from Drohiczyn. Moreover, the families of Godlewscy, Kuczyńscy and Ossolińscy, numerous diocesan priests and Jesuits. The bishop of Łuck, Rev. Stefan Bogusław Rupniewski consecrated the new tempie on the first Sunday after Epiphany - 10 January, 1723. In 1661 the Jesuits organised a parish school which grew into a college (Collegium Nobilium) in 1747. Grammar, poetic, rhetoric, theology and philosophy, among others were the subject taught at the college. Students used to organise theatres, school sejmiks, oratorical contests. An impressive library functioned at the school and monastery. Young gentry from the whole area of Podlasie and East Mazovia used to study there. The last rector of the college in Drohiczyn was Rev. Jan Stankiewicz who after the dissolution of the monastery worked here as a parish priest On 14 September, 1774 the National Education Commission handed over the post-Jesuit college to the Piarists. Year after, the Sejm of the Republic of Poland passed a resolution to transfer the whole parish of Drohiczyn and the whole benefice to the Piarists. However, the resolution was not executed until after 2 October, 1791.

In 1832 the authorities closed down the school and novitiateand in 1845 dissolved the monastery of the Piarists as part of the post-uprising repressions.The parish, church and monastery were handed over to diocesan dergy, and the college edifices became a secular property. Rev. Stanisław Roszkowski became the first diocesan parish priest on 15 August 1845. From 1808 to 1842 Drohiczyn heid the rank of a county town and after 1842 it was dassified as a downgraded town to finally lose the town's status on 1 January, 1863. The dissolution of the Piarist school in 1883 was yet another repression.

The Holy Trinity church was the only one in Drohiczyn to escape dissolution and devastation during the Russian Partition. It was not until the Soviet occupation during the years 1939-1942 that the tempie was desecrated and completeły devastated inside. Baroque altars were chopped completeły and the interiors of the tempie were used as a stable. The contemporary parish priest Rev. Edward Juniewicz managed to save only 8 out of 38 paintings, two scufptures out of 153, all chalices and some of the chasubles. Between 1941 and 1944 the Germans tumed the tempie into a shooting range.

After the war, the parish priests and inhabitants of Drohiczyn had to bear the burden to bring back the church into its previous splendour. In the vaufts of the cathedral, the following persons are buried next to the voivodes of Podlasie; The Bailiffc of the Diocese of Pińsk, Rev. Jan Wasilewski - the generał vkar of the diocese of Pińsk and Rev. Władysław Jędruszuk, the first bishop of Drohiczyn. Owing to Bishop Rev. Antoni Dydycz the vaults of the cathedral in Drohiczyn were renovated in 2010. On 25 May, 2010 The Bailiffs of the Diocese were reburied and on 10 June 2010 the Podlasie Voivodes whose bodies were desecrated during the WWII, also had their reburial.The Diocesan Curia and the Seminary dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus have their seat in the ołd post-Jesuit edinces.

On 5 June, 1991 the Holy Father, John Paul II by prodaiming the creation the Diocese of Drohiczyn elevated the Holy Trinity church to the rank of a cathedral The greatest event in its history was the visit of our Countryman John Paul II on 10 June, 1999. After the Ecumenical Mass at the błonie (common land) of Drohiczyn, as a part of Apostoic Pilgrimage to His Homeland, the Holy Father prayed by the grave of the late Rev. Władysław Jędruszuk, the first bishop of Drohiczyn.


Sources

  1. ks. Zbigniew Rostkowski, opracowanie na stronie Diecezji Drohiczyńskiej
  2. Józef Jaroszewicz "Drohiczyn - Opis historyczny", Athenaeum 1847
  3. Inwentarz kościoła parafialnego drohickiego z 1856 roku - Archiwum Diecezjalne w Drohiczynie

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