The Knights Templar and the secret of infinitives

What do the Knights Templar have in common with infinitives? The answer is: secrets and codes.


Infinitives are one of the clues necessary to crack the code of the Polish language. The more you know about them the easier it will be to use them.  One of the tried and tested ways to learn about infinitives is to build your own ‘collection’ of them. Write the infinitives on index cards big enough to have space for adding more information as your studies progress. To get you going, I’ve inserted some Polish infinitives next to the corresponding English verbs in this blog. You can do this with any text in English. And while we are on the subject of secrets and codes…


While the Da Vici Code renewed some interest in the history of the Templars and saw increased visits to locations like London, Paris and Scotland, many people would be surprised to find that the Templars also lived in Poland. In fact, they not only lived but prospered and greatly influenced Polish public life. They also defended Polish dukes and kings against the Turkish invaders.


The Templars were invited (zaprosić) to settle in Poland by Duke Henryk of Sandomierz in the late 12th century.  Henryk travelled (podróżować) to the Holy Land in 1154 and with his knights fought (walczyć) against the Saracens. After a year, Henryk returned (wrócić) to Poland bringing the Knights Templar with him. Very little is known about Henryk and his guests but, according to Jan Długosz [Dwu-gosh], the eminent chronicler of Polish history, Henryk funded (ufundować) the construction of the college church of St Martin in a place called Opatów for the Templars. While many historians question that, there is one, rather intriguing, detail in the church – the two headless figures of knights bearing the cross of the Templars.


However, what is not questioned, is the Templars’ presence in other parts of Poland, particularly in western Poland. You can retrace their steps by following the Templars’ Trail in Poland.  One of the most important and best preserved places of interest is the chapel in Chwarszczany.

Chapel of Knights Templars in Chwarszczany
Chapel of Knights Templars in Chwarszczany

Now, don’t fret about the pronunciation of that – take it slowly: hfar-sh-tcha–ny (szcz combination in no more difficult than saying fresh cheese quickly). Try again – hfar-sh-tcha-ny.  If you still find it difficult, start the pronunciation from the end:







It’s easy when you know how. Keep practising. After a few attempts you will be ready to impress your Polish friends!


Back to the chapel, though. It’s a fascinating building. It was built (zbudować) in the 13th century for the Knights Templar as a part of their commandry.  After the dissolution of the order in 1312, it was taken over (przejąć) by the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem and later, in the 15th century, it belonged (należeć) to the Teutonic Knights for a few years. In other words, the chapel belonged to the three most important medieval religious military orders. Not bad for a forgotten church in the middle of nowhere.


In Poland, there is renewed interest in the church for three reasons – the Museum of Knights Templar has been created in the chapel, the order has been re-born and in Poland it has several members including women.  Therefore, there is a real chance you can meet (spotkać) one of them and finally, allegedly the Templars hid their treasure in tunnels underneath the chapel.


Polish Tutor tips:The infinitive index cards


Follow the Templars Trail (Szlak Templariuszy) on the internet.

Search for the chapel in Chwarszczany and other places related to the Templars in Poland.

What places would you visit if you were trying to find the Templars’ treasure?

What Polish verbs would you use if you were trying to tell the story of the Templars in Poland?


Finally, have you cracked the puzzle hidden in the photo illustrating this blog?

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