Dear Friends of the Manor in Sztynort and Supporters of the initiative Stn:ort,
We are pleased to be able to supply you with our latest newsletter. Slightly in delay, we would like to report our celebration event at the end of September. In great company, we were celebrating the start of the renovation works at the chapel of Sztynort as well as the success of the first exhibition season at the manor with “Chronicler of Our Dreams. The Manor in Sztynort 1947-2017”.
The organization strategy for the event was rather non-conventional: Invitations had to be send out last minute- because
of restricted funding conditions for the renovation of the chapel. In the end, all worked out fine: the buffet with cakes and thermos was set up in front of the manor in time, and at 12 o’clock on the 24th of September, we found ourselves in the company of around 30 guests from the surroundings of Sztynort – such as Wegorzewo, Gizycko, and Goldap – and from beyond: Warsaw and Gdansk.
All guests were equipped with wellies and ready for a walk over a mile through mud and rough terrain to join the prayer in the old chapel at the headline of Lake Sztynort. That was how we had announced it. If only it hadn’t rained beforehand and the path to the chapel hadn’t been, as a consequence, too muddy to be walked– even with all the efforts made by Mathias Hohl and his team of workers. An alternative was found quickly, and how much more attractive it was to the first plan! A motorboat was chartered to bring the participants of the event over to the canal of the Sztynort Lake, from where the Chapel was but a 3-minute walk away. In that sense one could say, the attendees of the event were rewarded in hindsight for their spontaneity, adventurous spirits, and support of the event. The waiting time was bridged by the brass ensemble from Węgorzewo, with conductor Kryzsytof Bielaszka and their interpretation of Amazing Grace.
Ecumenical prayer and initiation of renovation works at the historical chapel of Sztynort
After their short cruise, the boat had to make three tours, the group came to an ecumenical prayer. It was led by priest Bogdan Brusiło from the Roman-Catholic Parish of Radzieje, and by reverend Krystian Borkowski from the protestant-Augsburgian Parish in Giżycko. Krystian Borkowski had brought a bilingual version of psalm 23, which we all read together
in German or Polish language.
Prof Wolfram Jäger, the initiator of the renovation of the chapel, also presented a prayer that he had brought to the occasion. To him and to his wife Brigitte, the event was a very special moment. Thanks to his long efforts, Wolfram Jäger had acquired all the funds for the renovation. Half of the fund stemmed from donation, which he had collected for the occasion of his 65th birthday instead of other gifts, the other half came from funds he had acquired from the German Ministery for Media and Culture.
After a shared moment of player Dr Jerzy Łapo from the Muzeum Kultury Ludowej, Węgorzewo, entertained the company with a lecture about the historical protagonists, in whose lives the chapel had been an important location. As listeners, we learned among others about a curious coincidence: the pastor who proceeded the first consecration of the chapel carried the surname Borkowski: exactly like pastor Krystian Borkowski who was present with us on that day to carry out the protestant part of the ceremony.
A small excursion to the press archive of Sztynort teaches us that the idea re-using the chapel for religious purposes
is not completely novel. Jerzy Kijowski, formerly provost of Radzieje, proposed already in 2003 to offer religious
services for sailors in the building and would have liked to renovate it. This chance did even occur in 2004, back
then the environmental office of the community of Węgorzewo had offered first the local catholic, then the protestant congregation to take over the building. With the estimated renovation costs being estimated over 100 000 zl and thus too high for either party, they had to relinquish the offer – there were enough renovation works to be done on their own churches. To secure the chapel its entrance was shut with a wall of bricks. These developments were reported in the years 2003 and 2004 by the newspaper “Gazeta Olsztyńska”. On the 23rd September 2017, Mathias Hohl and his workmen broke the walled seal of the chapel and exposed the old entrance. On the 24th of September, for the first
time since over thirteen years, people gathered for a prayer in the chapel and music resonated in the historical building.
After the excursion to the chapel, the group made their way back – once again by boat. Among the guests were Marcin,
social therapist, with his interns Kamil and Łukasz. They had made their way from the „Sunny House“ in nearby Gołdap, an institution that supports the independence of people with intellectual disabilities. We are very happy that the group from the “Sunny House” is interested in collaborating further with the intiative Stn:ort. We are considering an arts exhibition in the palace of Sztynort in 2018.
Finishing the exhibition season of “Chronicler of Our Dreams”
Back at the palace of Sztynort, Hannah Wadle, the author and curator of this year’s exhibition and the initiator of stnort.org, opened the cake buffet with a small speech. In the speech, she remembered the events in Sztynort of the past months – the opening of the exhibition in May and the creative week in August. She emphasized the magic of human encounters that she
had experienced during both events at the manor. The discussion around dreams and imaginations about the future that was held through the exhibition is important for becoming clear about the origin of dreams, whose dreams we dream and about together developing shared, sustainable visions. A metaphor for the possibility of shared dreaming is the art installation in
the foyer of the manor, a mobile made from 80 dream catchers, produced by visitors of the creative week and donated to the manor. Piotr Wagner from the Deutsch-Polnische Stiftung für Kulturpfege und Denkmalschutz was a great host of the day and offered a guided tour though the manor in Polish and German for the attendees of the event.
We were particularly glad to welcome people to our event, who were returning to the palace in Sztynort for a second or
third time that year – and who had found something there that called them to come back. Piotr and Beata, for instance, arrived from Kashubian Poland for the celebration at the palace of Sztynort. In summer, they had already been involved in the workshop activities in summer already. The couple used to occasion of our event, to re-visit their favourite bay in Masuria on Jezioro Dobskie. Mieczysław joined us with one of his two daughters. After participating in the summer workshops in Sztynort, they have now been developing ideas with their school friends about how they could win Vera von Lehndorff over to come for a project with them to Sztynort. Prof Wojciech Łukowski from Warsaw and Giżycko, who had been present for the opening of the exhibition, shared his philosophy of time with the other guests. Time, so his philosophy, doesn’t run in a straight line, but often in circles and spirals. Sometimes situations and events had to be repeated, with new chances and new faces, to reach their goals. To him, this seemed to be happening in Sztynort.
Among the present guests were also the two carpenters Malte Urban und Paul Neumann. The fact that the medieval tradition of journeymen years still exists, impressed many of the guests, particularly the Polish visitors. Malte Urban is at the beginning of his journey and Paul Neumann has already finished his journeymen years. Both men, however, quickly disappeared from the festivities – they started their work activities on that very Sunday. In the coming months, the future of the chapel lies in their hands and in the hands of Mathias Hohl, whose company Hohlbud carries out the renovation works. The exhibition “Chronicler of Our Dreams. The Manor of Sztynort 1947-2017” can still be viewed in the autumn months. Luckily, the at first improvised construction from posters, and greenhouse film turned out to be more weather resistant that anticipated in the first place.
Report of the event by Kamil Wiliwis
We were very impressed and touched to receive the report that Kamil Wiliwis authored after his experience of the event in Sztynort. Kamil is a trainee at the Sunny House in Gołdap, an institution that offers professional training to people with intellectual disablities. Here is a translated version of the report:
„Not long ago, on the 23 September, we drove to Sztynort for a training day. In our group were: our director, Marcin Bialous, Lukasz, and I, Kamil. In Sztynort, Hannah Wadle, a friendly German lady, who lives in England, but speaks fluent Polish, welcomed us. After the official welcome, during which the brass orchestra from Wegorzewo played some tunes, wes et off for a yacht cruise. From our mooring place, we took a short walk to the chapel of Sztynort. There an ecumenical prayer with catholic and protestant elements was taking place in Polish and German language. We also had the pleasure to listen to a talk about the history of the chapel in Szytnort by Dr Jerzy Lapo, which was translated into German by Hannah Wadle. After the prayer we took a cruise back to the port, from which we headed to the reception with homemade cakes. Finally, we visited the manor in Sztynort, which is in a bad state. Our guide, Piotr Wagner from the German-Polish Foundation for Cultural Care and Monument Protection told us, that most damages didn’t happen durng the War or during Socialist times, but, in fact, in the past 20 years. After the visit, we took a group picture with the Stn:ort team and invited them to Goldap. In good humour we returned home to our institution, the Sunny House."
Written by Kamil Wiliwis, 26.09.2017
STNORT.ORG is a project co-funded by FairerTales.org and the Technical University of Dresden.
Coordination, design, and research by Dr. H. C. Wadle and Prof. Dr. W. Jäger. All rights reserved.