• Address: Baniewicka, 74-110 Banie

Near the access road to Banie from Lake Dłużec, we can find the small Gothic St George chapel. This building of brick and stone was erected in 1417. It is topped with a cross, and inside the chapel we can find baroque furnishings consisting of reliefs from the 17th and the 18th centuries. The chapel was built on a rectangular plan with two portals in its walls – from the western and northern side. The chapel is covered with a pitched roof.

The St George chapel is the last trace of the mediaeval shelter for the poor and the sick built by the knights of St John. The chapel was damaged during the Second World War, and fell in disrepair, not renovated for decades. Finally, the decision about the renovation of the building was made in 1997.

In the 15th century, Passions plays were performed on every Good Friday in front of the St George chapel. The last play was performed in 1498 and ended in a tragedy. The roles of Mary and Jesus were assigned to a betrothed couple, and the role of a Roman soldier was played by a man who fell in love with the actress and could not accept the fact that the girl chose another man. Having his revenge, “the soldier” pierced the side of his competitor with a spear instead of a specially prepared sack. The actor playing Jesus Christ, stabbed by his opponent, fell down from the cross on the girl who played the Mother of God. She died on the spot. Everything happened so quickly that the crowd gathered around was convinced that this was a part of the performance. The actor playing John the Apostle realized what happened and killed “the Roman soldier” in front of the audience’s eyes. When the gathered people saw the crime of “John the Evangelist”, they rushed at him and killed him.

The betrothed couple, whose lives were so abruptly ended, was buried in the St George chapel. After these happenings, Duke Bogusław of Pomerania banned Passion plays in Banie. The events of 1498 are also reflected in language. Since the tragedy, when something goes wrong, it is said that “it ended as a Passion play in Banie” or “it went as a performance in Banie”.

What is interesting, in spite of passage of time and changes of borders (incorporation of Pomerania into Poland), the ban of Duke Bogusław is still obeyed. Reportedly, the current authorities of the commune refuse to issue a permit to perform Passion plays – making reference to the verdict of 1498. And we can still see hooks, on which an actor playing Jesus was raised, located in the front wall of the St George chapel.

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