It was reported on 17 August 2009 that Polish archaeologists working in Poznan have uncovered the foundations of a pre-Romanesque chapel, which dates back to the tenth century. The sensational find was made in Ostrov Tumski, the oldest part of Poznan, after ten years of excavations.

Chronicles relate that Christian life in Poland began in Poznan in the tenth century under Prince Mieszko I (+ 992), the father of the Polish State, and his Christian princess Dobrawa (+ 977), who, as a Czech, had strong Orthodox connections. We recall that St Wensceslas (Vaclav or Viacheslav) was probably martyred in 935. It was soon after his wedding with Dobrawa in 965 that Mieszko accepted baptism. Their palace was in Ostrov Tumski, where the royal couple worshipped in a chapel before Christianity became the official religion.

It is the foundations of this chapel, marking the beginning of Christian life in Poland, which archaeologists think that they have now uncovered. So far, ten square meters of the chapel, including the altar area, have been uncovered. Its pre-Romanesque structure shows the Orthodox architectural style of Western Europe before the schism. We should recall that in southern Poland, along the Moravian border which had been ruled by St Rostislav, Slav Orthodox missionaries had begun their task of spiritual enlightenment well before Mieszko’s marriage to Dobrawa.

This discovery will surely lead the spiritually sensitive in Poland to realise that the origins of their country’s Christian faith are in Orthodoxy, and not in late eleventh-century Roman Catholicism. This was imported from Germany and only developed to any great extent in Poland in the twelfth century.