The Pauline Fathers’ monastery of St Nicholas in Gvozd

Robert Stipetić, prof.

English translation: Anamarija Brusić

In Croatia, the Pauline Fathers’ monasteries were established in the 14th and 15th centuries when the order spread throughout Central Europe. The monastery in Gvozd was founded by Prince Ivan Frankopan in the mid-14th century and it developed into the most influential Pauline community in Croatia during the 15th century. The monastery was rich, and it housed up to 80 Glagolitic monks. The Pauline document confirms the existence of the monastery of St Nicholas as early as 1364. As well as other monasteries, the monastery of St Nicholas was active in religious and social life, in the dissemination of literacy, in the promotion of the Glagolitic alphabet, Croatian language and culture in general. In it, the Glagolitic alphabet was nurtured in liturgy, prayer hours, and many documents related to the monastery were written in the alphabet.
Every Pauline monastery had a cook, a gardener, a tailor, a shoemaker, and a cellarer, and larger monasteries, like the monastery of St Nicholas, had their own carpenters, sculptors, painters, and surgeons.

The Pauline Fathers’ monastery of St Nicholas in Gvozd is located south of Modruš, in a deep forest, along the “old road” to Senj. It was the central monastery of Primorje and Croatian-Istrian Glagolitic Vicariate of the Croatian Pauline Province. There is no historical data on the monastery’s library, but we can believe that it had a large library since the monastery was the central institution of the Vicariate, which also had a novitiate. It is possible that right here was one of the three well-known Croatian Glagolitic printing presses.

Discovering the Frankopan Heritage

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