The Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec is the oldest monastery in Poland, with almost one thousand years of history. Over the ages, it went through periods of prosperity and decline, until its dissolution in 1816 and re-opening in 1939. Today, rebuilt from ruins, it is open to guests wishing to experience the living Benedictine tradition.
Its rich history and centuries-old tradition makes the Abbey, along with its museum, a unique place to encounter Polish history, culture and art. The architectural complex of the abbey combines Romanesque austerity with Gothic lightness and Baroque opulence.
Tyniec, besides being a historical relic, is also home to the largest community of Benedictine monks in Poland. As a living community of monks, the daily rhythm at the monastery is marked by the hours of prayers and work. By taking part in the Vespers at sunset evening prayer or in the Compline night prayers, visitors can listen to Gregorian chants resounding in Tyniec, unchanged for centuries.
After the Second World War, Tyniec Abbey played an important role in the Polish Church and its history – here the initiative of translating the Bible from the original languages to Polish found its origin; here the Polish translations of new liturgical books, introduced after the Second Vatican Council, were prepared.
For the reasons mentioned above, in 2017 the Abbey was awarded the title of a Historic Monument of the Republic of Poland. It is the highest possible distinction given to monuments in Poland, awarded to immovable heritage objects of particular importance to the culture of the country. Today the monastery in Tyniec is open for pilgrims as well as for tourists, being a place of meeting and dialogue.
European Heritage Volunteers Projects at Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec have been an occurrence since 2019, providing a unique opportunity for participants to be in close contact with Poland’s cultural by living and working for two weeks in a thousand years old monastery which is wealthy in history and artistic tradition.
The project in 2021 will involve the participants in the cleaning of precious Baroque wooden sculptures, altar fragments, and paintings from the Abbey church interior before further conservation works. The programme is designed to let the whole group be closely involved into the conservation process at all levels that are possible for non-professionals and students in the field alike. This project is a perfect opportunity for students of conservation-restoration to gain a close hand experience and apply their theoretical knowledge.
The work requires gentleness and precision, but the results are worth of efforts. The participants will be handling vulnerable and valuable historical objects with the supervision and guidance of professional conservators. After the works will be finished the artefacts will be returned to their place in the church, where they will be admired by all the visitors to the Tyniec Abbey.
The conservation activities will be preceded by the theoretical introduction on history, history of art as well as conservation and restoration techniques. The participants will be able to understand the whole conservation process and not only the small part in which they will be directly involved. The work will be carried out under the supervision of conservators, which will ensure the safety of the objects as well as enable the participants to ask questions and consult their actions on an ongoing basis.
The programme will be completed by visits to monuments and sites iconic for the cultural heritage of Kraków and Lesser Poland.
The project will take place from July, 18th, to July 31st, 2021 and is organised by Fundacja Chronić Dobro in cooperation with European Heritage Volunteers.