XVI. Mission of St. Otto to Pomerania in the years 1124–1125

Bishop Otto of Bamberg was asked by Duke Bolesław Wrymouth to carry out a Christianization mission among the Pomeranians. In the spring of 1124, Otto left Gniezno on his mission. Assisted by German clergymen and a Polish military unit commanded by the count of Santocki, Paweł, he entered Pomerania. Most likely, in Santok on Góra Zamkowa, he was welcomed by the Pomeranian duke Warcisław I. Then Bishop Otto headed for Pyrzyce, where he organized the first mass baptism of Pomeranians. During his first mission, Otto founded 11 churches and baptized thousands of people.

The saint – also called the Apostle of Pomerania – is the patron of Pyrzyce and the Archdiocese of Szczecin-Kamień, Bamberg and Berlin.

In Santok, in the church of St. Joseph contains the relics of St. Otto.

Church of St. Andrew

Archaeologists assume that a Christian temple in the Piast hillfort could already have existed at the end of the 10th or at the beginning of the 11th century. This is how the remains of the stone foundations of the Romanesque building located in the south-eastern inner part of the gord are dated. This church could be associated with a cemetery located on the other side of the river, on Góra Zamkowa – an early Christian, elite cemetery, also dated to the end of the 10th or the beginning of the 11th century.

Mentioned in written sources, the church of St. Andrew in Santok functioned in the thirteenth century. The stone structure (measuring 7.5 m x 5.5 m) – erected on a leveled inner embankment – was discovered together with a fragment of the cemetery in 1934. German researchers, however, recognised these relics as a donjon – a residential tower. According to Zofia Kurnatowska, the location of a row cemetery around the building (43 coffin graves with few artefacts) indicates the existence of a church in this place, probably erected at the end of the 12th century. The existence of a cemetery in this place was confirmed by archaeological research in 2020 – six graves were discovered at that time, in which the dead were buried in the Christian rite.

At the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries, stone blocks were used to build a defensive tower functioning on the former hillfort. They could have come from the Romanesque castle church, already demolished at that time.

The discovery of almost 200 burials during archaeological works carried out in 2015 on the right bank of the Warta indicates the existence of a large cemetery in this place – intended for people living both in the gord itself and in the surrounding settlements. Patrocinium of St. Andrew the Apostle, points to the role of the clergy of this church in the area north of the Warta and Noteć.