Cerveny klastor, Slovakia
Posted by: Anneke
N 49° 23.951 E 020° 25.014
34U E 457692 N 5471996
Quick Description: Cervený kláštor (The Red Monastery), located near the Polish border, served first as a Carthusian, then as Camaldolese monastery. It gained its name from the red roof cover after a reconstruction in the 18th century.
Location: Prešovský kraj, Slovakia
Date Posted: 12/24/2009 6:30:13 AM
Waymark Code: WM7YPQ
Long Description:1330-1567 Carthusian monastery
In 1319, Carthusian monks from the monastery Skala útocišta (Lapis refugii / The Rock of Refuge) were given land in the village of Lechnica to found a monastery there. The first prior, called Jan, started the construction works in 1330. At first there was just a temporary wooden building, which was gradually rebuilt into a brick and stone monastery.
The Carthusians were famous for their hermit-like life style. The structure of their monasteries met the demands of the order: the basic components were a church with a big cloister from which the monks’ cells (small free-standing houses) could be accessed. The only part of the community life which brought the monks together was the mass. The monks often worked as scribes; in the 16th century, however, modern trends reached even the Lechnica monastery and the monks started to deal with alchemy and astrology.
In 1351, the monastery became independent from Skala útocišta and it was soon a very important church center on the Hungarian-Polish border. It gained large property by both donations and purchase, and it also received significant privileges, such as the right to fish in the Dunajec river, the right to brew beer, or to function as a local legal authority.
In the 15th century, the monastery was twice plundered by the Hussite troops, which later transformed into bandit groups and continued to pillage the region. The monastery recovered, but the religious wars of the 16th century caused another decline. In 1545, after an attack from the free-lance soldiers stationed in Polish Niedzice, many monks abandoned the monastery and escaped to Poland, Austria, and Moravia. The monastery ceased to exist in 1567 with the death of the last abbot.
1711-1782 Camaldolese monastery (Monte Corona Congregation)
In the 16th and 17th century, the monastery was owned by various secular aristocrats. In 1699, it was purchased by the Nitra bishop Ladislav Matašovský. He decided to donate the whole monastery to the Camaldolese order, but the monks did not get to Lechnica until 1711 due to Rákóci insurrection.
The Camaldolese order was another strict community of hermits. In the 18th century it was at its peak and owned 25 monasteries altogether. The monks renovated the Lechnica monastery to suit their needs and rebuilt it in the Baroque style. The church of St. Anthony the Hermit was repaired and consecrated in 1747, and a tower was added three years later. A chapel for pilgrims was built opposite the new entrance gate and the statue of the Holy Trinity was put up in the park by the Dunajec river. The monastery then gained the form which it has today.
In 1754, a pharmacy was established at the monastery. Its manager was brother Cyprian, a famous physician and pharmacist, who made it well-known in the whole region. The most famous work of Cyprian’s is his “Herbarium” from 1766, for which he had collected 272 herbs from the Tatras and Pieniny mountains. He described the herbs in four languages (Greek, Latin, German, and Polish) and he also noted their curative effects.
Another famous person in the history of the Lechnica monastery was Father Romuald Hadbavný, responsible for the first translation of the Bible to Slovakian language. He also reportedly created a Latin-Slovakian dictionary and he translated songs of a Flemish Benedictine mystic Louis de Blois from French to Slovakian.
In 1782, the Austrian emperor Josef II abolished contemplative monastic orders, including the Lechnica monastery. The farm objects were still used and there was a plan to establish a hospital, but it was never executed. The site became a favorite tourist destination in the 19th century. The monastery burnt down in 1907 and it was heavily damaged during WW2, but after a systematic reconstruction in 1956-66 it was opened again and serves as a museum.