Interesting objects and places

St. John the Apostle’s Church (Former Benedictine cloister complex) in Mogilno


Mogilno is a town located in the Kujawy-Pomerania Province, District (powiat) of Mogilno, ca. 80 km north-east of Poznań. An important point on the Piast Route.

Set along the lake’s eastern shore is a path which can lead you to a former Benedictine cloister complex situated on the town’s southern edge – the most valuable historic monument in Mogilno.

St. John the Apostle’s church and the complex of former cloister buildings is situated on a peninsula cutting into Mogileńskie Lake. In the late 8th/early 9th century, an open settlement existed in the area of what is today the cloister hill. 10th century saw emergence there of a fortified settlement which survived into the late 12th/early 13th c. It was in that castle-town area that a large three-nave basilica was built for the Benedictines in 11th century. The church was one of the most monumental Romanesque architectural concepts in Poland. A two-level presbytery (today, the eastern crypt) was a unique solution indeed. In the latter half of 13th century, the church was rebuilt to a late-Romanesque style, partially with use of bricks. It was at that time too that the hill was surrounded by an enormous stone wall. In 2nd half of 14th century, the temple was furnished with a gothic vault. The baroque forms, surviving to date, were introduced as part of a redevelopment in 2nd half of 18th century.

The central nave and the presbytery are covered by starry vault; side naves feature a very rare solution – crystal vault from the former half of 14th century. There is an impressive rococo altar from the latter half of 18th c., with a 17th-century icon of Our Lady of the Snow in its central area. The chancel arch contains two baroque-classicist eighteenth-century altars. The pulpit and the stalls, adorned with new statues of Mogilno abbots, date to the same period.
Underneath the choir loft is a series of murals of 1814, showing the legendary eleventh-century history of the Mogilno cloister. Fragments of a 16th-century polychrome, discovered in recent years, are seen next to it.

Adjacent to the church at the south are former cloister developments with a garth inside. An 11th-century eight-metre-deep well is inside the garth. The entrance to the church’s underground is in the vestibule linking the presbytery with the eastern cloister ambulatory. The stairs lead to the so-called eastern crypt underneath the presbytery (initially, the crypt was the lower section of the two-level presbytery). The crypt’s interior is covered by a barrel vault from 13th century. The middle crypt contains an exhibition showing the yield of the archaeological works from 1970s. Further on is a western crypt, covered by a Romanesque cross vault supported on a single pillar. Initially, it served as a monastic ‘choir loft’.

The cloister developments date to 16th and 18th centuries. Abbot’s premises were comprised in the western wing whilst the eastern section contained the monks’ cells.

At present, the cloister premises are home to the ‘Wojciech-Adalbert’ European Encounters Centre. In 1998, a St. Wojciech/Adalbert monument was erected amidst the cloister buildings, by the eastern section of the church.

ul. Benedykta XVI nr 1
88-300 Mogilno
Tel. +48 52 315 24 08



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