The Role of the Church in the History of the Odrovans (Odrowßz Family)
Written and researched by Bohdan Leszek Odrowßz-Straszewicz, Andrzej Janusz Odrowßz-Straszewicz, and Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewski
(***Please note that some spellings have been altered for our English speaking audience for lack of a Polish font)

The Cracow Church of the Virgin, Cracow, Poland.
This was the church of the Cracow's German community.
It's architect was Niklas Werner.
However, many Polish churches were built
in the "Cisterian" architectural style.

Poland's Christian Origins:

By the year 1000, Poland was a Christian country, and the Diocese of Cracow was founded by King Mieceslaw I as early as 984. Originally the diocese of Cracow included the towns of Sandomir, Cracow, and Lublin, and the castellanies of Sieradz, Spicimir, Rozpoza, Lenczyc, and Wolborg. Poppo, was the first Bishop of Cracow. Poppo had previously been employed (as a tutor) in the court of Duke Henry of Bavaria, until 983. Other early bishops were: St. Stanislaus Szczepanowski (1072-1079) and John Prandota (1242-1266). The greatest contribution to the internal conversion of the population was made by these monastic communities.

The Benedictines were the leading order, and they contributed the most to the conversion of Poland. The early Piasts brought these Orders to Poland. The most ancient monasteries were located in Miedryrzecze, Trzemesno, Lysa Gora, and Tyniec ( Dziecioi, Witold. The Origins of Poland. London: A Veritas Foundation Publication. AND Catholic Encyclopedia Online).

The Role of the Patron:

Powerful feudal familes played a crucial role in the church politics of this period, and lay patronage was obviously an important factor in the funding of church-building and religious art. The great abbey church known as Cluny III was financed by the donations of King Alfonso of Castile and King Henry I of England.

However, the most famous patron of the twelfth century was Abbot Suger. He was the abbot of the ancient royal monastic foundation of St. Denis, as well as regent of France while King Louis VII was away on the Second Crusade.

All over Europe, monks were usually drawn from the aristocracy, and it was customary for them to enter one of the traditional Benedictine monasteries as children. The Cistercian Order was founded at the end of the eleventh century. It rested on a wider social base, although monks were still primarily from noble families. St Bernard was the most prominent Cistercian of the twelfth century. He came from a minor noble family who were noted as vassals of the Duke of Burgundy.

The Odrowaz Family:

Since the earliest recorded history, the Odrowaz family has had a strong association with the Holy Church. The Odrovans have traditionally helped with funding, endowments, and the building of churches, nunneries, and monasteries. Members of the family entered into the service of the church, as their noblesse oblige (in the tradition of the times), was to reach the masses by giving service to the poor, sick, and troubled, while spreading the word of God. This article will detail their contributions.

Funding and Endowments:

By signing transfers of title deeds to the church, nobles could offer the church more money for a longer period of time, since the church would then have all the benefits of the occupant's rent. This offered more than a one-time cash contribution.

The Counts Odrovan (OdrowÓz) in the Thirteenth Century

In the thirteenth (13th) century, Pandota II (third son of Prandota I, the old), along with his mother, offered the village of Wierzenice to the church in Leknie. Szawel (the oldest son of Prandota I, the old) titled one-tenth of the production of their vineyards, in the village of Konskie, to the Canons in Trzemedznie.

Followers of Saint Dominic(NEW)

The Age of Monasticism:

"The eleventh and twelfth centuries were the golden age of monasticism. There was a dramatic increase both in the number of monks in existing houses and in the foundation of new monastic orders, of which the Cistercians were to become the most famous" (Petzold, Andreas. Romanesque Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1995, 101).

The Cistercian Order was founded in France at the end of the eleventh century. By 1151 there were 353 Cistercian monasteries in Europe. They advocated a more strigent application of the Rule of St. Benedict, with more balance between prayer, meditation, and manual work. The Cistercians cultivated land and produced their own food and herbs. The Cisterians are best remembered for their architecture. The Latin cross is characteristic of the Cistercian's abbeys.

A celebrated ancient Cistercian Abbey of Leubus was situated on the River Oder, northwest of Breslau, in the Prussian Province of Silesia. The forged deed is dated 1175. However, old Cistercian chronicles say that Leubus was founded on August 16, 1163, by Duke Boleslaw the Tall. Before becoming a Cistercian monastery it was owned by the Benedictines. The Cisterians were said to have "Germanized" Silesia, which was formerly wilderness, forests, and moors. Before they were established at Leubus, they came from Pforta. After a time, they expanded from Leubus to Mogila and Klara Tumba near Cracow

The Cistercian Abbey/Monastery of Mogila
(Mogiewa ... pronounced with a long "o" and "e")

Historically, the most important of the Odrovans (OdrowÓz) endowments and fundings were to the Cistercian monastery in Mogila outside of Cracow (Krakow). Exactly which Odrovans funded the monastery has not been determined. The church archives, however, show that Bishop Iwo OdrowÓz was the initiator and major funder of the monastery. Szulski, and later, Dr. Rubarski believe that Wislaw [cousin of Iwo, and son of Dobieslaw I, son of Prandota I, the old] was the first to conceive of the idea to erect this monastery. It is said that Wislaw, lacking the proper funds himself, asked for the assistance of his cousin Iwo. Iwo became the patron of the Mogila monastery. In accordance with an agreement with Wislaw, Bishop Iwo ceded all the Konecki properties, including six villages to this funding. Iwo bequeathed the village of Dzilbaltow to Dobieslaw III. In exchange for this, Wislaw gave the church the villages of Prandocin and Kacise. The villages of Bigucin, Mogila, and Ubislawicwe were established from the grants of Iwo. For the monastery's upkeep, Bishop Iwo OdrowÓz gave 300 Grzywien of German silver for taxes, 40 bulls, 40 cows, 300 sheep with lambs, 90 lumps of salt, 40 pots of honey, and 100 bundles of iron. This was in a period of three years, in the manner of a Bishop of the time (60 midios episcopales).

The Cistercian Order began to make its way into Poland and they were bought in from Lubiaza, and settled in Kacicach in 1222. Later, in 1225, they moved to Mogila, Poland. The Cisterians were formed originally as "Exordium sacri Ordinis Cisterciensis" in France as the Religious Order of Cţteaux in 1098 by St. Robert, Abbot of Milesme in the Diocese of Langres.

After the death of Iwo, his cousin Dobiesz II was his heir. Relatives again tried to recover the gifts that Iwon has given to the church. The next heir was SÓd Dobieslaw, the son of Prandota II, Iwo's uncle. At Smardzewice, in 1231, the rest of the family set aside their claim, against Iwo's estate, and agreed to fund the monastery once again. SÓd stood in defense of the monastery, when Budzislaw I Krezeslawicz (another cousin of Iwo's) wanted to take back Szaniec, and SÓd won the case in civil court. The Wrocieryz Monastery was dedicated to Dobiesz Wislawowicz, along with Sldowice; and they tried to make it an independent partition from Prandocin.

Budzislaw II offered the village of Krzeslawice to the monastery in Mogaila, this is the same land that his father gave to the Church in Miechˇw. This started a controversy. How could that property belong to both the monastery in Mogaila and the Church in Miechˇw? Budzislaw took this case to the courts, until it ended up being tried in Rome, Italy; in 1247.

In 1462, representatives of the two oldest lines of Odrovans, Szczkocki, Sprowski, and their other relatives; ceremoniously confirmed the endowment made by Wislaw to Mogila Monastery. This was the end of the Odrowans dealings at Mogila. The monastery's archives still retain the documents regarding these transactions(Straszewicz).

Other Cloisters Associated With the Odrovans:

Contributions, in the 15th century, involved the Sprowski line. The Sprowskis were from Ruei. They supported two cloisters. In Lwow, Andrzej Odrowaz founded thie churches. In Samborze, Andrzej's brother, Jan; and his wife Beate, from the Tl~czyn clan, funded this area's churches.

The Odrovans built several churches in Szczekocin, Mogila, Odrowaz, Prandocin, and Sl~dziejowice, to name a few. A large number of these churches were dedicated to St. Bartholomew, the patron saint of the Odrowaz clan.

For more on St. Bartholomew CLICK HERE

Famous Odrovans Who Served the Church:

  • Blessed Iwo (Iwon) Odrowaz was the son of Szawz, the eldest son of Prandota the Old. Iwo was born in the village of Konskie. His date of birth is not known. In 1206, Iwo worked with the Canon of Crakow. Later he was Chancellor and advisor to King Lesnek Biala. By 1217, he became the Bishop of Krakow. From then until his death, Iwo was involved in Malopolska politics. Iwo was familiar with Western culture and often traveled to France and Italy for his studies. This link will take you to more infomation about Blessed Iwo Odrowaz(NEW)

  • Blessed Ceslaus Odrowaz (1180-1242) His day is July 18th. Ceslas was a Dominician. He came from Silesia. Ceslaus met St. Dominic in Rome.

  • St. Hyacinth (Swiety Jacek) was a Polish Dominican saint. He was born in Kamien, a village near Opole, Silesia, circa 1183, and was reputed to be related to Bishop Iwo Odrowaz of Krakow. Odrowaz was a village located about nine kilometers from Kamien. When he was christened, he was given the name Jan Lektor. Stanislas wrote a biography of Jacek in Latin and translated his name to Hyacinthus.

    St. Hyacinth(NEW) ... Lineage of St. Hyacinth(NEW) ... St Hyacinth(NEW)

  • Blessed Prandota III - Odrowaz was from Bialaczow. He was the second son of Sad II, grandson of Prandota II. In 1228, he became the Archdeacon of Krakow. In 1242. he was voted to be the Bishop of Krakow. He was very influencial in Malopolska. In 1254, he cannonized St. Stanislas. He gave the Crusaders the right to defend Krakow and Sandomierz. Prandota III died in 1266.

  • Blessed Bronislawa was born about 1200 in Kamien Odrowaz Opole. She entered the Norbertine convent in Krakow.

  • Blessed Chester was born in 1177 in Kamien and studied in Prague, Paris, Bologna, and was also associated with Iwo Odrowaz. Blessed Chester went with St. Hyacinth to study with St. Dominic. Click on this link for more on Blessed Chester(NEW)

  • Blessed John Prandota was born in Odrowaz and was related to St. Hyacinth, Blessed Chester, and Blessed Bronislawa. John was the Canon of Bishop Wislaw of Krakow. For more information about Blessed John Prandota(NEW)<---Click here.
  • Dobiesz V Odrowaz was called "chart." He was a vicker in 1236. In 1253, he was Chaplin to the Bishop of Krakow and Under Chancellor in 1255.

  • Prandota IV Odrowaz was the Canon of Cracow, in 1263, and brother-in-law of Bishop Prandota III.

  • Mikul Odrowaz was the Archdeacon of Krakow in 1224.

  • Iwon III Odrowaz was the Dean of Krakow and Canon of Gniezno province from 1239-1264.

  • Mikolaj Odrowaz was from Bl~aehowic. He was from the Silesian line. Mikolaj was Warden of Krakow and secretary to the King in 1454. The king appointed him as Bishop of Prezemysl~.

    The Szczekocki Line of Odrovans

  • Zbigniew Odrowaz was the son of Jan III, the Canon of Sandomierz Province in 1480.

  • Jan (Iwan) IV Odrowaz Happa: from Wywl, Prendarz Bochelski, Canon of Gniezno Province from the years 1393-1432.

  • Mikolaj II Odrowaz was from Mironic and was a monk at Jedrzejow. Mikolaj died in 1487.

  • Jacob Odrowaz was a parish priest in Strzegon from 1384-1400.

  • Jan IV Odrowaz was a priest in 1450. He was also Dean of Poznan Province, Secretary to the King, and Archbishop of Gniezno Province (1453). He was ordained in 1454 and died in 1464. Jan IV funded churches in L~owicz and Odrowaz. He also built a chapel by the Cathedral in Odrowaz.

  • Jan V Sprowski (Odrowaz) was the Archbishop of Lwow Province from 1436-1450.

    Mikolaj Odrowaz was from Sprowa and Robieszc. He was Canon and Abbot in Jedrzejow. Mikolaj died in 1496.

    The Pienianek Line of the Odrowaz Family

  • Mikolaj III Odrowaz was a priest.
  • Jan II -

    to be continued


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