Merry Christmas y’all. The Łysa Góra (aka Łysiec, Święty Krzyż or in English Bald Mountain) Benedictine abbey in the Holy Cross Mountains in Poland was (and what remains is) a very famous abbey.
As such it deserved to have its history written and, as it deserved it, so it got its desserts. In particular, the history of the establishment was written in the so-called Powieść Rzeczy Istey (publication year 1538? (the Latin version came out in 1536)).
We will let readers take it all in at their own time and pleasure but, in general, the story starts with the existence of a castle (Łysiec or “baldy”) on Bald Mountain. In that castle there lives a Lady so arrogant that she demands to be worshipped as if she is the goddess Diana. Such sacrilege cannot go on and so the castle is torn apart by thunder such that its remaining stones can be seen to this day (and to this day too).
In that place there was (then? later?) a church to three idols (trzy balwany) named Lada, Boda and Leli where the common people would come to pray and make offerings on the first of May (recall the Green Week and the Pentacostal Postillas/Sermons).
This was seen by the Czech princess Dobrawa on her way to marry Mieszko and she being a good Christain could not tolerate such an affront and ordered that (the old church be razed and) a church (a “real” one) be built to be dedicated to the Holy Trinity.
She also founded (and apparently funded from her dowry) a Benedictine monastery (tradition says in 1006 though she was already departed by then) and invited six monks from Bohemia to run it, i.e, to be doing whatever monks do in monasteries there. Later, at her request, her son Boleslaw Chrobry after his coronation strengthened the construction (there is talk of some masonry) and donated more funds to it.
Now, since Dobrawa died before Mieszko in 977 and Boleslaw was not crowned until 1025 (although in this version of Powieść Rzeczy Istey he was king for 25 years so since the year 1000 – suggesting BTW that the Gniezno meeting with Otto III resulted in a coronation… a topic for another time) some time must have passed between Dobrawa’s request and Chrobry’s further works on the monastery (at least 23 years if the crowning is to be in the year 1000 or 48 years otherwise if we go with the crowning in the year 1025 as is usual). In any event, Boleslaw Chrobry passes shortly after his (real) coronation in 1025 with the story noting that his passing was foretold by a large and very bright comet (“Kometa wielka i bar(d)zo Jasna).
So we are left with another list of Gods with the mystery figure here being Boda as the others are already known from Jan Dlugosz and others.
Although Jan Dlugosz allegedly also referred to Lel and Polel (as well as Świst, Poświst, Pogoda) as being venerated on Łysa Góra, I have not been able to confirm this.
Note also that the above story about Bald Mountain was mentioned in one form or another by the Greater Poland Chronicle and by Jan Dlugosz later as well.
Here is the version from the above Powieść Rzeczy Istey. It contains parts labeled 2 and 3 above:
This Boleslaw was the son of Mieszko [who was] the Polish duke [and] was the one who was first to spread the Christian faith in Poland and who at his baptism in lieu of his name Mieszko was named Mieczyslaw. His mother was a good Christian named Dabrowka a Czech duchess, [and] the granddaughter of Saint Wenceslaus the martyr. This Dabrowka desiring to spread wider the glory of the Lord in Poland, tried to find worthy places to build a church. She liked one place – Bald Mountain called after the castle Lysiec (bald) which stood on it and which was so called as it shone from afar.
It was in this castle that a certain lady who had lived there earlier; having grown in pride for she had defeated the great Alexander at this mountain, ordered that she be worshipped as the goddess Diana. But she right away learned God’s wrath for this blasphemy for he threw all thunder at this castle; this lady too, together with all the servants he stifled so that till this day there lie at this place a great many stones. At this same place there stood once a temple to three idols who were named Lada, Boda, Leli. It was to these that the commoners would come on the first day of May so as to pray to them and to make offerings. Therefore, the afore-said Dabrowka, having cast down their temple, ordered that a church be built there and dedicated to the veneration and praise of the reverend Holy Trinity. Having called there six monks from the order of Saint Benedict, godly men from the Czech town of Sázava [Benešov District], she built there a small monastery and gave it a portion of her property that came from her dowry; which monastery later, the great and famous King Boleslaw Chrobry, at the request of this Dabrowka, his mother, whose only son was he, in the sixth year after his coronation, endowed with a greater estate and built up robustly with masonry.
Był ten Bolesław syn Mieyszki książęcia polskiego który napierwey w Polszcze począł szczepić wiarę Krześcijanską który też na krzcie w miasto imienia Mieyszki nazwan był Mieczysław. Matką iego była dobra krześcijanka imieniem Dąbrówka księżna Czeska wnuczka świętego Wacława męczennika. Ta to Dąbrówka chcąc chwałę bożą w Polszcze rozmnożyć, iakoby młode szczepie, szukaiąc mieysca godnego ku budowaniu kościoła. Spodobało się iey mieysce iedno, Łysa gora wezwane od zamku Łysiec, który na niey był, który też tak zwano, iż się z daleka bielał.
Na tym zamku pani iedna przedtym mieszkaiąca, podniowszy się w pychę, iż była poraziła wielkiego Alexandra pod tą gorą, kazała się za boginią Dyane chwalić. Ale natychmiast za to bluźnierstwo pomstę Bożą uznała, iż on zamek wszystek grom rostrącił onę też panią ze wszystkimi służebniki potłumił, tak iż ieszcze podziś dzień leżą na tym miescu wielkie gromady kamienia. Na tym też miescu był kościół trzech bałwanów, kthóre zwano Lada, Boda, Leli. Do których prości ludzie schadzali się pierwszego dnia Maia, modłę im czynić y ofiarować. Tedy Dąbrówka przerzeczona pokaziwszy ich bożnice kazała zbudować kościoł y poswięcić ku czci y ku chwale wielebney świętey Troyce. Tamże wezwawszy szesć mnichow zakonu S. Benedykta meżow nabożnych z Zozea miasta Czeskiego zbudowała klasztor niewielki y nadała im cześć imienia z posagu swego kthory potym klasztor wielki a sławny Krol Bolesław Chabry, na prośbę teyże Dąbrówki matki swey, ktorey był syn iedyny, roku szóstego po koronacyey więtszym imieniem nadał y dostatkiem więtszym zmurował.
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