Cistercian Abbey in Gościkowo-Paradyż

The Cistercian monastery in Gościkowo-Paradyż is a unique complex of historical monuments which includes the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, monastery buildings, the area of the former gardens and the 17th-century wall. It is now the seat of the Higher Theological Seminary of the Diocese of Zielona Góra and Gorzów Wielkopolski, part of the Faculty of Theology of Szczecin University, and part of the Paradyż Museum.

In 1230, Mikołaj Bronisz, the Poznań Voivode founded a monastery in Gościkowo to host the Cistercians who changed the name of the town into Paradisus Sanctae Mariae, i.e. Our Lady's Paradise. Intensive development of the abbey lasted till the 14th century. Jacobus de Paradiso, the most outstanding Cistercian of the time, the author of numerous works on mysticism came from the abbey. After the second partition of Poland, the area of the abbey were included in the territory annexed by Prussia whose authorities confiscated most of the Paradyż premises. The abbey was ultimately liquidated in 1834. After six hundred years, the monks left the monastery and have never returned. The monastery was erected in the Gothic style but in the 17th century it was transformed into a Baroque form. The church is a three-aisle, rectangular basilica with circular chapels in the corners and a porch between the towers. A Baroque altar of 1739 with a painting showing the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Felix Scheffler takes the prominent place in the temple.

The collection of historical memorabilia left by the Paradyż Cistercians over the centuries may be seen in the Museum of Paradyż. The exhibits include valuable old prints of the 17th and 18th centuries, antique monstrances, liturgical vessels and clothes and a collection of paintings. Since 2003, the annual festival of old music "Music in Paradise" is organized in the abbey in late August.

More information at:  www.paradisus.pl

(based on the information from the website of the Higher Theological Seminary of Paradyż)