Sacramentarium tinecense - National Library Krakow fol. 42

The Sacramentary from Tyniec

The Sacramentary from the Benedictine abbey in Tyniec from c. 1060 – 70 is one of the prized possessions of the National Library in Warsaw.

The Tyniec Sacramentary belongs to a group of manuscripts made in Cologne sometime around 1070. It is affiliated with other manuscripts such as the Gospels of Abingdorf (Berlin) as well as Harley MS 2820, a Book of Gospels currently in the British Library. The Tyniec Manuscript is held by the National Library in Warsaw. It measures 28.5 x 22 cm and holds 237 illuminated folios. It includes a martyriologium and the liturgy of the Mass.

The manuscript was probably donated to Tyniec by, Richeza, the German widow of the Polish King, Mieszko II. Although Poland had been formally Christian since 966 CE, a pagan reaction set in after his death in 1037. At this point his son, Casimir had to seek refuge, first in Hungary and later – after 1038 – with Richeza, his mother, in Germany. During this revolt, the Polish church suffered virulent persecution with numerous massacres reported. However, in 1041 Casimir returned. Later he was called the Renovator due to his effort to revive the Church. This work was carried out with the help of Benedictines from Cologne, who settled at Kraków. Under the leadership of Aaron, the Archbishopric was reestablished there and not at Gniezno. Aaron was called as a missionary bishop in 1046 in Köln and was later named as the first abbot at Tyniec. The Sacramentary has been claimed to be a personal gift from Richeza to Aaron together with the Chalice and Paten, which was found in a grave in Tyniec from c. 1050

It is probable, Casimir and his missionary entourage returned with liturgical books donated by the abbey of Saint-Géréon in Cologne to the fledgeling church institutions in Krakow. Among these was the church of St. Géréon on the Wavel. A later tradition claims that Casimir was also responsible for the foundation of the Abbeys of Tyniec near Krakow and Leubus in Silesia. But the Piast rule of Poland continued to be fragile and interspersed with rebellions.

All-in-all it took Casimir more than fifteen years to reunite the realm. In the end, Casimir was never crowned. This distinction was first (re)gained by his son, Boleslaw II (1058-81), who succeeded to be duly anointed. In general, it is also Boleslaw who is believed to have been responsible for the more firm reorganisation of the church landscape. It is also probable that it was, in fact, Boleslaw II, who was responsible for the Benedictine colony in the royal castellany at Tyniec, 12 km. south of Kraków.

The Tyniec Sacramentary is considered an invaluable witness to the early Christianisation and state formation in 11th century Poland. However, its exact provenience and how it ended up in the Monastery in Tyniec has recently been disputed.


The Sacramentary from Tyniec – Sacramentarium Tinecense
National Library in Kraków
Signature: Rps BOZ 8

The manuscript has been digitised.


Royal Power and the Sacrament of the Eucharist
A Study of Religion and Politics in the Ottonian and Salian Political Culture up to the so-called Investiture Contest.
Study carried out by Dr Paweł Figurski, Warsaw 2014 – 16


The sacramentary in its political and religious context is the subject for an interdisciplinary conference held in Kiel in the summer 2017. The Conference is organised by Prof. Dr. Klaus Gereon Beuckers.

Das Sakaramentar aus Tyniec
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
29.06.217 – 02.07.2017





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