Born a Rus’ princess, Gremislava (Polish: Grzymisława, d. 1258), the widow of Duke Leszek the White of Kraków and Sandomierz (d. 1227), is largely remembered in historiography as an ardent patron of the Mendicants, especially the Franciscans. This view stems chiefly from the fact that Gremislava was embedded in a social network that promoted the Franciscans’ establishment in Poland. Her son, Duke Bolesław V (d. 1279), was buried in the newly-built Franciscan church in Kraków founded during his reign, while her daughter Salomea (d. 1268) and daughter-in-law Kinga (d. 1292) became Poor Clare nuns during their respective widowhoods. Gremislava herself was buried at Zawichost, a double monastery of Franciscans and Poor Clares, formally endowed in 1257 by her children and their cousins.
By returning to the oldest sources, especially charters issued by Gremislava and her children as well as late thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century narrative texts, this paper will place Gremislava’s patronage of the Franciscans in its wider political and religious context. What other ecclesiastical institutions were recipients of her patronage? To what extent did Gremislava maintain ties with Rus’ during her reign? How did she experience emerging confessional tensions between Poland and Rus’? This talk will use these questions to arrive at a more nuanced image of Gremislava as ruler and patron. Through the prism of her reign, it will thus explore confessional tension and ongoing political-social interaction along the boundary line of Rus’ and Poland in the 1230s to 1250s.
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