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The years 2006 / 2008 Archeological serach

For Saint Dorothea of Montau, the Grand Masters of the Teutonic Knights, and the Pomesanian bishops In the St. John Cathedral in Kwidzyn. In the years 2006/2008 a series of archeological research was carried out in the cathedral of Kwidzyn which resulted in world-famous discoveries. The interdisciplinary scientific research which were carried out revealed the remains of three grand masters of the Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary is Hospital in Jerusalem. The remains have been found in a very exceptional place the chancel which was reserved only for the most important persons as the Pomesanian bishops or the grand masters of the Teutonic Knights: Werner von Orseln, Ludolf Konig von Wattzau and Heinrich von Plauen. The speculations that three dignitaries of the Teutonic Knights are buried somewhere under the floor have their confirmation in the murals of the three grand masters of the Teutonic Knights painted on the walls of the so-called upper church. The frescos located on the south-eastern wall are dated to the first quarter of the 16th century and were probably painted in the time of the open-minded bishop Hiob von Dobeneck who, by the way, also was a knight-brother of the Teutonic Knights. There is also direct evidence for the fact that the three grand masters are buried in the cathedral. For instance, the anatomical structure of the skeletons, the age at the time of death, the kind of nourishment during life- time and the DNA. Furthermore, according to the dendrochronological examinations the dates of the burials coincide with those of written primary sources. The research material consists mostly of a huge collection of fabrics from the brick crypt including 32 kinds of silk and one cloth element. In these days silk was a very valuable good. A cloth made of one kind of silk equaled the value of several villages. More than one colours on one silk cloth were reserved for sovereigns only. Among those found in Kwidzyn were some dyed with gold. The quality and ornaments on the cloth show that the clothes did not belong to the clergy, but rather indicate the highest social background of the buried. According to the expenses of the treasures of the Teutonic Knights silk was bought only for the following purposes: for the clothes of the Grand Master and the equipment of his chambers, as well as for liturgical purposes and for gifts. Gifts made by the use of silk in most cases were designated for dukes and kings. Thus, silk was an attribute of the clothing and equipment almost exclusively connected with the grand master s person. The crypt of the Grand Masters, the only worldwide discovered remains of the grand masters of the Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary s Hospital in Jerusalem, will soon be made accessible for visitors as a permanent exhibition.



The archeological researches in Kwidzyn cathedra started in 2006 with the ground penetrating rader survey of the floor. While setting about researching, the localization of the crypts was unknown. Only the written sources and the dignitaries murals in the upper church could have been treated as a hint for the researchers that the unique graves, they were searching for, might be located in the presbytery of the bishops cathedral is a very exceptional sector of Kwidzyn cathedral, since it was the burial place of the Pomesanian bishops, Saint Dorothea of Manual, and the Grand Masters of the Teutonic Knights. Who were the persons sought after by the scientists? By the decision of the general chapter Werner von Orseln was elected Grand Master in 1324. He was regarded as the Order is reformer. He introduced new statues by virtue of which he raised the religious life, the inner discipline, and the military efficiency among his cp-brothers. Perhaps it were hi reformative actions which drove brother Endorf to murder him in Malbork on November 18th, 1330. Ludolf Konig Wattzau was elected as Grand Master in 1341. He become famous for his unsuccessful military expedition to Lithuania in 1345 he lad with the participation of King Charles I of Hungary, as well as the Czech King John of Bohemia and his son, the future emperor Charles IV. Probably, due to his poor health and the failed crusade to Lithuania he had to say goodbye to his post. He resigned as Grand Master in 1345 and died three years late. We know from traditions that before his death in 1348 he become depressed. Heinrich von Plauen is known for his heroic defense of Marienburg against Polish forces in 1410. Thanks to him the Order could continue its activity in the international area. He served as Grand Master for a short time only. In 1414 he was removed from his office and imprisoned for a long time for betrayal of the Order. He died in 1429. What do we know about the life and death of Saint Dorothea of Montau in Kwidzyn? Known is that at the prompting of the confessor Mikolaj of Pszczolki (Nicolaus of Hohenstein) Dorothea moved from Gdansk to Marienwerder (Kwidzyn), where she arrived on September 30th, 1391, in order to meet one of the Teutonic Knights most outstanding theologians, Johannes of Marrienwerder (1343/1417). After his endeavors, on May 2nd, 1393, the future Saint was finally bricked up in a cell established against the wall of the cathedral. Through a barred window Dorothea was receiving Communion and food. Due to the extreme exhaustion being the result of her very ascetic way of life Dorothea died on June 26th, 1394, at the age of 47. On the eighteenth day after her death her body was bought to the cathedral is crypt. On the initiative of the chapter in 1396 another altar, which was dedicated to All Saints, was built next to Saint Dorothea is grave. The services celebrated at the new alter were all for Dorotheais quick beatification. Additionally, at the grave there was an iron grating and a silver candlestick with lavish gilding. The cult at the grave of the recluse was undisturbed up to the time of the protestant bishop Paul Separatus (1530-1551), who in 1544 ordered to remove the grating from Dorothea s grave and banned her cult in Prussia, since the protestants did not acknowledge relics. Even today it is not known what happened with the remains of the Saint. There are many theories about it. According to one of them, the Saint was removed from the cathedral. Interesting is the fact that earlier also the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa had decided to search for the grave of Saint Dorothea of Montau. In order to do that , he sent to Kwidzyn Father Fryderyk Szembak and Father Kryspin - two Jesuits priests from Torun, so that they found and brought the remains of the pious recluse to Torun. Regrettably, also the monks search of Dorothea in Kwidzyn cathedral from those days did not yield any results. What we know is that in 1621 Father Kryspin only disassembled the stone table from her cell and brought it to Poland. To this day it is not known to which church it was taken. The only things brought to Torun - by those two Jesuit searchers were merely somke bricks and stones from Saint Dorothea is cell. The homily delivered by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1979 is one of the proofs bearing testimony to the significance of the Saint from Kwidzyn. For the current Pope Benedict XVI Saint Dorothea was a great figure. In 1410, after the victory at Grunwald , also the King of Poland Jogaila visited the hermit of Kwidzyn who - according to the chronicler Jan Dlugosz - came there in order to say pious prayers for the Saint. The poet Adam Mickiewicz, however, in his narrative poem „Konrad Wallenrod” changed the name Dorothea to Aldona in other to emphasize her alienation, visions and suffering. Only the results of the research from the year 2007 showed that the empty crypt built of bricks and stones, which had been discovered, might have belong to Saint Dorothea. The found crypt, in the former religious education room, located in the southern part of the presbytery, has been merged with the brick crypt where the three skeletons have been revealed. However, only the results of the inter-disciplinarian research gave full confirmation that the tree skeletons revealed had belonged to the three Grand Masters of the Order of the Teutonic Knights of St. Mary is Hospital in Jerusalem: Werner von Orseln, Ludolf Konig von Wattzau, and Heinrich von Plauen. As ready mentioned, the frescos of the Order s three dignitaries in the upper church, which have survived up tu our day, are very interesting and have shown ready helpful during the archeological research. Besides the bishops of Pomesania the mural also present three Grand Masters of the Teutonic Order. The frescos had probably been painted in the time of the open-minded bishop Hiob von Dobeneck (1501/1521), who also was a knight-brother of Teutonic Knights. Since the paintings had been made on his commission, the bishop must have been aware of who was resting in the cathedral s crypt. The excavations confirmed that the bishop was right, even more - the localization of the frescos coincides with the burial palace of the three Grand Masters. On July 3Ist, 2010, there will be the official opening ceremony of the sepulchral chapel of the Grand Masters of the Teutonic Knights. Then, one will have the possibility to take a closer look at the reconstructed graves on the Oder s dignitaries, as well as the artifacts reveled during the archeological excavations between the years 2006-2008. Among the guests, who will take part in the ceremony, there will also be Reverend dr. Bruno Platter, present Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. It is worth mentioning that the German Order - which is the Order s new name - has survived to this day and has its seat in Vienna. The order now consists of four branches: friars - priests (Fathers) and non - priest making monastic vows, priests- oblates (priests not making monastic vows), nuns (making monastic vows), and familiars - associates - laypersons and diocesan clergymen belonging to the Order. In 2010, the Teutonic Order consists of 87 brothers (66 Fathers, 11 friars - without monastic vows, among them also clerical students), 9 oblates, 154 nuns, and about 750 associates (associates data as per year 2007). The monastic rule of the modern Teutonic Order is based on the Augustinian Rule. That is why the members of the Teutonic Order are numbered among the group of Canons Regular.




Collective work: 2009. Katedra w Kwidzynie-tajemnica krypt. Kwidzyn.