ORDER OF THE BROTHERS HOSPITALLERS IN CIESZYN
The Brothers Hospitallers’ library functions within the Cieszyn order as an institution named the Archives and Library of the Brothers Hospitallers in Cieszyn, regulated by a statute and financed by the orders’ funds. It is the oldest Cieszyn library.
Its history is directly linked to the fate of the Monastery of the Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God, founded in Cieszyn at the turn of the 18th century. Efforts were made at once to create their own library. The religious life of the order demanded this – as did the service rendered by the monks in the hospital and the pharmacy. Those needs determined both the functional character of the monastery library and the subject matter of the books contained within it. According to the catalogue compiled in the 1930s, the library of the Brothers Hospitallers contained 1 539 works, of which 5 were published in the 16th century, 11 in the 17th, and 110 in the 18th. The remaining books were either not dated or originated in the 19th or 20th centuries. Today, the library of the Brothers Hospitallers numbers over 3 000 volumes (of which 194 are pre-1801 imprints and around 1 700 are antique books, published until the middle of the 20th century). There are also around 200 manuscripts in the archive. The library has been housed in the monastery since its founding. It is constantly expanding, and is becoming one of Cieszyn’s important institutions, offering readers works mainly in the fields of religion, medicine and church history.