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Piotr Pajor

The Poverty and the Power: Duke Boleslaus the Chaste’s Patronage of the Franciscans in 13th-century Lesser Poland

The paper examines the duke’s Boleslaus the Chaste’s patronage for the Franciscans and Poor Clares. Boleslaus reigned in duchies of Cracow and Sandomierz between 1243 and 1279. What was his first significant foundation is double male and female monastery in Zawichost which seems to be strictly modeled on the Franciscan and Clarisian monastery in Prague. Boleslaus established a monastery for his sister Salomea who became first polish Poor Clare just the same as Bohemian king Venceslaus I who founded Prague convent for his sister Agnes. Zawichost, endangered by pagan raids, was quickly abandoned by nuns who moved to new monastery in the uninhabited region of the Prądnik Valley near Cracow. New convent received name the Rock of Saint Mary (Lapis Sanctae Marie) because of which this foundation gained a votive meaning. Boleslaus as a child deprived of his throne by duke Konrad of Masovia, sheltered in castle of Skała (the Rock) erected by Silesian ruler Henry the Bearded.Finally duke and his sister were buried in Franciscan church in Cracow. Friars arrived in this city before Boleslaus gained the throne, however in later tradition duke was regarded as founder of the monastery. Contrary to Zawichost and Skała we know no ducal documents for the Cracow monastery. Despite to long discussion on dating and stratification of the church which probably was finished as late as c. 1300, Boleslaus probably had no influence on its shape and choose it as his burial place rather lately.All in all Boleslaus started a tradition of ducal monasteries which was absent in Lesser Poland before his reign. Order of saint Francis which he choose to support was however a new and representing a new kind of piety; special support for mendicants was up to date with similar actions of the rulers of Bohemia and Hungary.

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