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Wawel Cathedral Krakow – Mass times

Wawel Cathedral, Krakov, Poljska

Website of the Sanctuary

+48 12 429 33 27

Every day from 9.00 to 17.00

The Royal Cathedral – Royal coronations at Wawel Cathedral Krakow

Wawel Cathedral holds a special place in the history of the Polish State due to the fact that it was the church of Polish kings for four hundred years.

Beginning from Władysław the Short, all but two Polish kings – Stanisław Leszczyński and Stanisław August Poniatowski – had their coronations at Wawel Cathedral. On the 20th of January, 1320, the coronation ceremony of King Władysław the Short, who unified the Polish state, took place.

From that time on, the most important state ceremonies: coronations, weddings, baptisms and funeral ceremonies of Polish royalty were celebrated at Wawel Cathedral’s High Altar.

Wawel Cathedral Krakow - Mass times

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The Wawel Cathedral of John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was particularly attached to Wawel Cathedral. The Bishop, and later Cardinal Wojtyła visited the cathedral an innumerable number of times.

Four decisive moments in his life were connected with the Cathedral. Karol Wojtyła, then an ordinary priest, celebrated his first Holy Mass at the neo-Romanesque altar in St Leonard’s Crypt on the 2nd of November, 1946 .

The Mass was for the intention of his deceased parents and brother. Wojtyła was consecrated bishop on the 28th of September, 1958, St Wenceslaus Day, a patron of Wawel Cathedral,. He was installed here as archbishop on the 8th of March, 1964, and later as cardinal on the 9th of July, 1967.

Wawel Cathedral Krakow - Mass times

The History of Wawel Cathedral

The first cathedral church at Wawel was probably built shortly after the Cracow Bishopric was established in the year 1000. Too little is known about the original cathedral to be able to reconstruct its appearance. More is known about the successive Romanesque church from the turn of the 11th and the 12th centuries.

Its construction is attributed to the reign of Duke Władysław Herman (1079-1102). The newly built church was consecrated in 1142. It was a triple-aisle basilica, built in limestone and sandstone, probably with galleries over the side aisles.

On the east and west side of the church were galleries built on a rectangular plan with semicircular apses and with crypts under the galleries. Two towers built on a square plan flanked the west side of the church.

Substantial parts of the structure have survived intact to this day, including St Leonard’s Crypt and the lower part of the south tower.

Cracow Cathedral was the centre of worship of St Stanislaus (Stanisław), the Cracow bishop who was murdered in 1253 on the orders of King Bolesław the Bold. The grave of the bishop became a destination for pilgrims from all over Poland and neighbouring countries.

The veneration of this saint was associated with the idea of the unification of the Polish Kingdom after the period of its regional disintegration.

It was for this reason that the tradition of having coronations of Polish kings at the Gniezno Archcathedral was broken on the 20th of January. 1320, when King Władysław the Short was crowned at Cracow Cathedral, close to the relics of the patron saint of the restored Polish monarchy.After that, Wawel Cathedral became the site at which the coronations of Polish rulers took place.

Wawel Cathedral Mass times 

Sunday and holidays

  • 7:00 am Holy Mass in Latin at St Mary’s Chapel
  • 8:00 am Holy Mass at the relics of St Jadwiga
  • 9:00 am Holy Mass in Latin at the relics of St Stanislaus
  • 10:00 am Holy Mass at the Coronation Altar with choir
  • 11:30 am Holy Mass at the Coronation Altar
  • 3:30 pm Lenten Psalms
  • 4:30 pm (November – March) 5:30 pm (April – October) Holy Mass at the relics of St Stanislaus

Weekdays

  • 6:30 am, 7:00 am, 7:30 am, 5:30 pm (April – October)
  • 6:30 am, 7:00 am, 7:30 am, 4:30 pm (November – March)

The John Paul II Wawel Cathedral Museum » Permanent Exhibition

1. Royal Room

The Royal Room houses the regalia: objects connected with the coronation ceremonies and funerals of the Polish monarchs, as well as their gifts for Wawel Cathedral, which had been kept in the Cathedral Treasury since the 11th century.

Among the most important exhibits is St Maurice’s spear, presented by Emperor Otto III to Bolesław the Brave during the congress of Gniezno in 1000 AD. This mediaeval ceremonial weapon is considered to be the first of the royal insignia used by the Polish sovereigns of the Piast dynasty.

In the same room visitors can see the velvet coronation mantle of the last king of Poland, Stanisław II August, which was used during his coronation ceremony in 1764. On display also are two swords: the coronation sword of August III Wettin from 1733, and a 16th-century blade taken from the grave of Zygmunt II.

The large showcase in front of the entrance door shelters royal funeral insignia — crown, sceptre and orb of Kazimierz IV, made in 1492.

The central spot belongs to the orb of Anna of Jagiellon (1596), decorated with the engraving of a crowned eagle, accompanied by copies of the queen’s crown and sceptre.

In the middle of the room the Golden Rose, a magnificent example of late-Baroque goldsmithery and gift of Pope Clement XII to Maria Josepha, wife of August III, is hold on display.

Wawel Cathedral Krakow - Mass times

Among the objects of special interest is a 14th-century rationale, Queen Jadwiga’s gift to the Bishops of Cracow. The use of this rare liturgical vestment is allowed only by special papal privilege. Pope John Paul II wore this rationale during solemn ceremonies held at the Cathedral.

2. Cathedral Treasury Room (11th – 16th century)

Objects from the grave of Bishop Maurus, second half of the 12th centuryIn this room a unique collection is kept, consisting of objects donated to Wawel Cathedral, considered the most important church in Poland, by its patrons: kings, bishops and aristocrats.

Works of art displayed here used to serve religious worship and include both masterpieces of various handicrafts, such as weaving and embroidery, and 15th- or 16th-century paintings.

Visitors can also see slabs from an 11th-century stone building with a well-preserved plaiting pattern decoration. A magnificent silver box (known as a “Saracene-Sicilian case”) decorated with scenes of chivalry, which served for centuries as a reliquary, is one of the most interesting exhibits in this room.

Another showcase contains a masterpiece of early Renaissance embroidery: the chasuble donated by Cracow Voivode, Piotr Kmita. The chasuble, which counts among the most exquisite works of late medieval embroidery, is decorated with seven scenes from the life of St Stanislaus, made with extraordinary precision by a most skilled artisan in the beginning of the 16th century.

Objects found in the grave of bishop Maurus are also of particular interest; they are a silver chalice and patena, a golden ring, a bone bead and a lead tablet from the beginning of the 12th century, and together they present an important source to the mediaeval funeral custom in Poland.

This room also shelters a magnificent bishop’s headdress – Tomasz Strzempiński’s mitre, decorated with intricate Renaissance embroidery. Visitors should not miss the late 15th-century painting,

Christus Salvator Mundi, which used to hang in the Cathedral, and makes a good example of outstanding Małopolska artwork of the late Middle Ages, reflecting the style of Dutch paintings.

3. Cathedral Treasury Room (17th – 20th century)

This room displays gifts donated to the Cathedral by the clergy and aristocracy in the period between the 17th and 20th centuries.

Visitors can see here unique liturgical vessels (chalices and monstrances) which used to propagate God’s glory, their artistry was therefore fully exposed on festival days. Among the most attractive pieces is the monstrance of Bishop Stanisław Dąmbski, used solely for the exposition and veneration of the Eucharist on Good Friday and during solemn Resurrection processions on Holy Saturday.

The decoration on the monstrance shows Christ as the Host, accompanied by figures from the Old and New Testament, such as Abraham and Melchizedek, Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St Peter.

The 17th-century mitre of Bishop Andrzej Lipski, decorated with hundreds of precious and semiprecious stones, is another example of exceptional goldsmith mastery. A collection of chalices of Bishops of Cracow is also on display, as well as chasubles presented by kings and bishops, which constitute a testimony of the donors’ care for the magnificence of liturgy in the Cathedral.

Many of them are made of valuable materials and decorated with precious stones, and were commissioned from the most skilled goldsmiths and embroiderers. A richly ornamented gilded bowl and jug catch the eye in the display case featuring handicraft exhibits.

One of the most recent objects in this room is a silver, neo-Gothic crosier of Bishop Adam Sapieha, dating from 1918, surmounted by a figurine of the patron saint of the Cathedral, St Stanislaus, supported by an angel.

4. Papal Room

The last part of the exhibition contains memorabilia related to Pope John Paul II who, during his time as Archbishop of Cracow, elevated the Diocesan Museum of Wawel to the rank of Cathedral Museum.

The room displays his cardinal’s and papal attire (cassocks, birettas, zucchetti and sashes). Visitors can also see a papal mitre decorated with golden leaves on which the Black Madonna, the symbols of the Evangelists, and John Paul II’s coat of arms are engraved, which had been the gift of Italian goldsmiths to the Pope, and was later handed over to the Wawel Cathedral during the second papal visit in Poland in 1983.

There is also a commemorative plaque offered to the Pope in 1978 by Italian journalists, which is an exact copy of the 16th of October 1978 issue of Vatican official magazine, L’Osservatore Romano, featuring information about the papal election of the Archbishop of Cracow, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła.

The room houses an armchair used by the pope during his last, eighth visit to Poland, on the occasion of which he visited the Wawel Cathedral on the 18th of August 2002, as well as a collection of exotic mementos of papal travels from around the world.

This collection was started with a goblet made of coconut and silver, presented to the Cathedral Museum by Karol Wojtyła, at the time Archbishop of Cracow, on its opening day, the 28th of September 1978.

How to get there:

  1. Catch a direct flight to Krakow Airport (John Paul II International Airport) from Warsaw or major European cities, such as Munich, London, Madrid, Prague, Paris or Berlin. Carriers include LOT Polish Airlines, Czech Airlnes, and Lufthansa or,
  2. Fly to Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport, located in the southwestern portion of the capitol city. From there you have options to Krakow by air, train, bus or rental car or,
  3. Take a flight to Katowice Airport, located 31 miles (50 km) northwest of Krakow. You can catch a plane connection or take a direct bus.

The Cathedral of John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was particularly attached to Wawel Cathedral. The Bishop, and later Cardinal Wojtyła visited the cathedral an innumerable number of times. Four decisive moments in his life were connected with the Cathedral. Karol Wojtyła, then an ordinary priest, celebrated his first Holy Mass at the neo-Romanesque altar in St Leonard’s Crypt on the 2nd of November, 1946 . The Mass was for the intention of his deceased parents and brother. Wojtyła was consecrated bishop on the 28th of September, 1958, St Wenceslaus Day, a patron of Wawel Cathedral,. He was installed here as archbishop on the 8th of March, 1964, and later as cardinal on the 9th of July, 1967.

On the Easter Sunday or a Sunday during the Christmas season, Wojtyła invited parishes he had visited during the year to the cathedral. He also invited young people on the occasion of the Christ the King day. He tried to make people of his diocese aware that the cathedral is its very heart and spared no effort to make sure the cathedral fulfilled its mission of “the mother of all churches”.

After his election to the Holy See, Pope John Paul II wrote about Wawel Cathedral in a letter addressed to the Cracow Cathedral Chapter: “here strikes the heart of Poland and my heart is striking here too”.
John Paul II’s great attachment to this site were seen in his visits to Wawel Cathedral during each of his apostolic visits to Poland in 1979, 1983, 1987, 1991, 1997, 1999 and 2002.

He particularly venerated St Stanislaus, the patron saint of Poland, and Blessed Queen Jadwiga, who was canonised by the Pope in 1997. The famous procession of St Stanislaus from Wawel to Skałka on the 8th of May was restored due to the efforts of Karol Wojtyła, then the archbishop of Cracow. In the year of the Millennium of the Baptism of Poland (1966) he invited the entire Polish Episcopate with Primate Cardinal Wyszyński to Kraków. The procession was the culmination of the Millennium events in Cracow.
I
8 March 1964.As early as a couple of days after his election to the Holy See (23rd of October, 1978), during his audience for Poles, John Paul II expressed his wish to come to Poland on the jubilee of the 900th anniversary of St Stanislaus’ martyr’s death which fell in May 1979. However, the communist authorities did not give their consent to his visit on that date, so he came to Wawel in June. It was his first pilgrimage to Poland. Then, in 1979, Pope John Paul II expressed his particular attachment to Wawel Cathedral: “My first steps upon arrival to Cracow are directed to this Cathedral, to meet with you, who are awaiting me here, at the grave of St Stanislaus, of Blessed Queen Jadwiga, at the graves of our kings, leaders and national poets. You all know more than well what Wawel Cathedral has been and what it is for me”. Two days later, on the 900th anniversary of the death of St Stanislaus, on the 8th of June, 1979, Pope John Paul II celebrated the Holy Mass at the grave of the saint.

Next to the altar of St Stanislaus, the second most important place in the Cathedral, at which Wojtyła used to pray, is the altar of Christ Crucified, connected with the worship of St Jadwiga, the Queen of Poland. During his third pilgrimage to Poland in 1987, Pope John Paul II celebrated the Holy Mass at the relics of Blessed Queen Jadwiga, whom he canonised ten years later on Cracow Błonia common during his sixth pilgrimage to Poland.

Most of mementoes of John Paul II are on display at the Cathedral Museum, of which he was the initiator and patron. In 2008, a monument of John Paul II was built in front of Wawel Cathedral.

The John Paul II Wawel Cathedral Museum » Permanent Exhibition

1. Royal Room
The Royal Room houses the regalia: objects connected with the coronation ceremonies and funerals of the Polish monarchs, as well as their gifts for Wawel Cathedral, which had been kept in the Cathedral Treasury since the 11th century. Among the most important exhibits is St Maurice’s spear, presented by Emperor Otto III to Bolesław the Brave during the congress of Gniezno in 1000 AD. This mediaeval ceremonial weapon is considered to be the first of the royal insignia used by the Polish sovereigns of the Piast dynasty. In the same room visitors can see the velvet coronation mantle of the last king of Poland, Stanisław II August, which was used during his coronation ceremony in 1764. On display also are two swords: the coronation sword of August III Wettin from 1733, and a 16th-century blade taken from the grave of Zygmunt II.

The large showcase in front of the entrance door shelters royal funeral insignia — crown, sceptre and orb of Kazimierz IV, made in 1492. The central spot belongs to the orb of Anna of Jagiellon (1596), decorated with the engraving of a crowned eagle, accompanied by copies of the queen’s crown and sceptre. In the middle of the room the Golden Rose, a magnificent example of late-Baroque goldsmithery and gift of Pope Clement XII to Maria Josepha, wife of August III, is hold on display. Among the objects of special interest is a 14th-century rationale, Queen Jadwiga’s gift to the Bishops of Cracow. The use of this rare liturgical vestment is allowed only by special papal privilege. Pope John Paul II wore this rationale during solemn ceremonies held at the Cathedral.

2. Cathedral Treasury Room (11th – 16th century)
Objects from the grave of Bishop Maurus, second half of the 12th centuryIn this room a unique collection is kept, consisting of objects donated to Wawel Cathedral, considered the most important church in Poland, by its patrons: kings, bishops and aristocrats. Works of art displayed here used to serve religious worship and include both masterpieces of various handicrafts, such as weaving and embroidery, and 15th- or 16th-century paintings.

Visitors can also see slabs from an 11th-century stone building with a well-preserved plaiting pattern decoration. A magnificent silver box (known as a “Saracene-Sicilian case”) decorated with scenes of chivalry, which served for centuries as a reliquary, is one of the most interesting exhibits in this room. Another showcase contains a masterpiece of early Renaissance embroidery: the chasuble donated by Cracow Voivode, Piotr Kmita. The chasuble, which counts among the most exquisite works of late medieval embroidery, is decorated with seven scenes from the life of St Stanislaus, made with extraordinary precision by a most skilled artisan in the beginning of the 16th century.

Objects found in the grave of bishop Maurus are also of particular interest; they are a silver chalice and patena, a golden ring, a bone bead and a lead tablet from the beginning of the 12th century, and together they present an important source to the mediaeval funeral custom in Poland. This room also shelters a magnificent bishop’s headdress – Tomasz Strzempiński’s mitre, decorated with intricate Renaissance embroidery. Visitors should not miss the late 15th-century painting, Christus Salvator Mundi, which used to hang in the Cathedral, and makes a good example of outstanding Małopolska artwork of the late Middle Ages, reflecting the style of Dutch paintings.

3. Cathedral Treasury Room (17th – 20th century)
This room displays gifts donated to the Cathedral by the clergy and aristocracy in the period between the 17th and 20th centuries. Visitors can see here unique liturgical vessels (chalices and monstrances) which used to propagate God’s glory, their artistry was therefore fully exposed on festival days. Among the most attractive pieces is the monstrance of Bishop Stanisław Dąmbski, used solely for the exposition and veneration of the Eucharist on Good Friday and during solemn Resurrection processions on Holy Saturday.

The decoration on the monstrance shows Christ as the Host, accompanied by figures from the Old and New Testament, such as Abraham and Melchizedek, Virgin Mary, St Joseph and St Peter. The 17th-century mitre of Bishop Andrzej Lipski, decorated with hundreds of precious and semiprecious stones, is another example of exceptional goldsmith mastery. A collection of chalices of Bishops of Cracow is also on display, as well as chasubles presented by kings and bishops, which constitute a testimony of the donors’ care for the magnificence of liturgy in the Cathedral. Many of them are made of valuable materials and decorated with precious stones, and were commissioned from the most skilled goldsmiths and embroiderers. A richly ornamented gilded bowl and jug catch the eye in the display case featuring handicraft exhibits. One of the most recent objects in this room is a silver, neo-Gothic crosier of Bishop Adam Sapieha, dating from 1918, surmounted by a figurine of the patron saint of the Cathedral, St Stanislaus, supported by an angel.

4. Papal Room
The last part of the exhibition contains memorabilia related to Pope John Paul II who, during his time as Archbishop of Cracow, elevated the Diocesan Museum of Wawel to the rank of Cathedral Museum. The room displays his cardinal’s and papal attire (cassocks, birettas, zucchetti and sashes). Visitors can also see a papal mitre decorated with golden leaves on which the Black Madonna, the symbols of the Evangelists, and John Paul II’s coat of arms are engraved, which had been the gift of Italian goldsmiths to the Pope, and was later handed over to the Wawel Cathedral during the second papal visit in Poland in 1983. There is also a commemorative plaque offered to the Pope in 1978 by Italian journalists, which is an exact copy of the 16th of October 1978 issue of Vatican official magazine, L’Osservatore Romano, featuring information about the papal election of the Archbishop of Cracow, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła.

The room houses an armchair used by the pope during his last, eighth visit to Poland, on the occasion of which he visited the Wawel Cathedral on the 18th of August 2002, as well as a collection of exotic mementos of papal travels from around the world. This collection was started with a goblet made of coconut and silver, presented to the Cathedral Museum by Karol Wojtyła, at the time Archbishop of Cracow, on its opening day, the 28th of September 1978.

Sunday and holidays

  • 7:00 am Holy Mass in Latin at St Mary’s Chapel
  • 8:00 am Holy Mass at the relics of St Jadwiga
  • 9:00 am Holy Mass in Latin at the relics of St Stanislaus
  • 10:00 am Holy Mass at the Coronation Altar with choir
  • 11:30 am Holy Mass at the Coronation Altar
  • 3:30 pm Lenten Psalms
  • 4:30 pm (November – March) 5:30 pm (April – October) Holy Mass at the relics of St Stanislaus

Weekdays

  • 6:30 am, 7:00 am, 7:30 am, 5:30 pm (April – October)
  • 6:30 am, 7:00 am, 7:30 am, 4:30 pm (November – March)
  1. Catch a direct flight to Krakow Airport (John Paul II International Airport) from Warsaw or major European cities, such as Munich, London, Madrid, Prague, Paris or Berlin. Carriers include LOT Polish Airlines, Czech Airlnes, and Lufthansa or,
  2. Fly to Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport, located in the southwestern portion of the capitol city. From there you have options to Krakow by air, train, bus or rental car or,
  3. Take a flight to Katowice Airport, located 31 miles (50 km) northwest of Krakow. You can catch a plane connection or take a direct bus.

The History of Wawel Cathedral

The first cathedral church at Wawel was probably built shortly after the Cracow Bishopric was established in the year 1000. Too little is known about the original cathedral to be able to reconstruct its appearance. More is known about the successive Romanesque church from the turn of the 11th and the 12th centuries. Its construction is attributed to the reign of Duke Władysław Herman (1079-1102). The newly built church was consecrated in 1142. It was a triple-aisle basilica, built in limestone and sandstone, probably with galleries over the side aisles. On the east and west side of the church were galleries built on a rectangular plan with semicircular apses and with crypts under the galleries. Two towers built on a square plan flanked the west side of the church. Substantial parts of the structure have survived intact to this day, including St Leonard’s Crypt and the lower part of the south tower.

Cracow Cathedral was the centre of worship of St Stanislaus (Stanisław), the Cracow bishop who was murdered in 1253 on the orders of King Bolesław the Bold. The grave of the bishop became a destination for pilgrims from all over Poland and neighbouring countries. The veneration of this saint was associated with the idea of the unification of the Polish Kingdom after the period of its regional disintegration. It was for this reason that the tradition of having coronations of Polish kings at the Gniezno Archcathedral was broken on the 20th of January. 1320, when King Władysław the Short was crowned at Cracow Cathedral, close to the relics of the patron saint of the restored Polish monarchy. After that, Wawel Cathedral became the site at which the coronations of Polish rulers took place.

St Slanislaus – sculpture on the western facadeHowever, the Romanesque church, damaged by time, as well as the fire of 1305, was thought not magnificent enough to be the main church of the Cracow Diocese. Therefore, Bishop Jan Muskata took the initiative to have a new church built, but the project was never to be completed and only the foundations of the Gothic polygonal chancel were built. The present cathedral, which has survived virtually unaffected, was built in successive phases: from 1320 to 1346 (the chancel with its ambulatory) and from 1346 to 1364 (the aisle body), under the bishops Nanker, Jan Grot and Bodzanta. A number of masonry workshops were employed one after another to construct the cathedral. The church was consecrated on the 28th of March, 1364. The Gothic cathedral was built in the form of a triple-aisled basilica with a transept (an area planned crosswise to the nave) and a chancel, built on a rectangular plan, with an ambulatory.

As soon as the Gothic church was raised, bishops and magnates had the first chapels built along its external walls. This process continued throughout the 14th and the 15th centuries. The 16th century saw major changes in the cathedral’s interior. The beginnings of the Renaissance in the cathedral, as well as generally in Poland, are connected with the activity of the Italian sculptor, Francesco the Florentine, who executed the sarcophagus of King Jan Olbracht (died 1501). However, the breakthrough was the construction of the Royal Chapel, known today as the Sigismund Chapel. It was commissioned by King Zygmunt (Sigismund) I the Old and executed by a team of Italian artists to the architect Bartolomeo Berrecci’s design. It soon served as a model for a number of successive Renaissance and Mannerist bishop mausoleums which replaced earlier Gothic structures at the cathedral (the mausoleums of Piotr Tomicki, Samuel Maciejowski, Andrzej Zebrzydowski and Filip Padniewski).

Some mediaeval altars, including the High Altar, gave way to new Renaissance structures. Many royal and bishop sarcophaguses and epitaphs were also created in the 16th century. Renaissance and Mannerist cathedral furnishings were works by outstanding, mostly Italian, artists who had settled in Cracow. Along with Bartolomeo Berrecci, these were Giovanni Maria Padovano, Jan Michałowicz of Urzędów and Santi Gucci. Magnificent works imported from Nuremberg are particularly noteworthy: foundry works (sarcophagus plates, grilles), gold-work (some elements of the Sigismund Chapel decor) and paintings (casements in the altar in the Sigismund Chapel). All these are works by Peter and Hans Vischer, Peter Flötner, Melchior Baier and Georg Pencz.

Vaulting at the Holy Cross ChapelDuring the two centuries that followed, the interior decor of Wawel Cathedral was thoroughly remodelled. In the 17th century, due to generous donations by royalties, bishops, magnates and canons, almost all furnishings from earlier eras were removed and replaced with new altars, stalls and paintings. Materials typically used in the new era were black marble from Dębnik and rose marble from Paczółtowice. As a result of the remodelling of the nave and the chancel in the Baroque-style, a composition axis became clearly visible, with the confession of St Stanislaus and the High Altar as dominant elements. Following earlier traditions, more domed chapels were built, such as the chapels of bishops Andrzej Lipski and Jakub Zadzik and the mausoleum of the Vasa royal dynasty, all of them referring in form and content to the Sigismund Chapel.

Alterations in the 18th century gave the cathedral its late-Baroque appearance. Most interior furnishings that had varied previously in terms of material, form and decoration, were replaced with new elements in an orderly and consistent manner, following the principles of symmetry and with clear compositional axes. The numbers of side altars were significantly reduced. Domed mausoleums of Cardinal Jan Aleksander Lipski and Bishop Andrzej Stanisław Kostka Załuski were built at that time, but the royal chapel of the Saxon Wettin dynasty remained nothing but an idea. Unfortunately, in order to have more light shed into the cathedral interior, the walls of the ambulatory were raised to the level of the chancel. By doing this, the spatial layout and the body of the eastern part of the church was changed.

It should be noted that the cathedral’s Baroque furnishings were generally designed by outstanding Italian architects (Giovanni Trevano, Giovanni Battista Gisleni and Francesco Placidi) or by architects who were trained in Italy (Kacper Bażanka).

The loss of Poland’s independence adversely affected Cracow Cathedral. It no longer received lavish royal and bishops’ donations, as estates of the Cathedral Chapter, once extremely rich, became reduced to a minimum and it was not enough to adequately provide for the needs of the cathedral. However, in the 19th century the cathedral became a destination for patriotic pilgrims and a venue for grand ceremonies on anniversaries of important events in Polish history. The burials of national heroes of the struggle for Poland’s independence, Tadeusz Kościuszko and Duke Józef Poniatowski, as well as one of the nation’s spiritual leaders, the poet Adam Mickiewicz, were of great importance for the nation and made the cathedral a Polish Pantheon. It is also the place of final rest of other meritorious Poles. This tradition was continued in the 20th century, when the remains of the poet Juliusz Słowacki, Marshal Józef Piłsudski and General Władysław Sikorski were buried in the cathedral’s vaults.

Polychrome on the vaulting of Queen Sophia’s ChapelA fundamental role in giving the cathedral its present appearance was due to the renovation that took place in the years 1895-1910 under Sławomir Odrzywolski and later Zygmunt Hendel. The building, along with its furnishings, underwent thorough conservation at that time. Historic layers of successive periods were preserved, although, unfortunately, some Baroque decorative elements were removed. Of note is the fact that new works of art were also added, namely royal sarcophaguses of SS Jadwiga and Władysław of Varna, sarcophaguses of bishops, wall paintings, stained-glass, grilles and many other elements. Some of them are works by prominent artists of the Art Nouveau style, among them Józef Mehoffer, who designed stained-glass windows and wall paintings in the Szafraniec Chapel and the Treasury.

The High AltarThe 20th century was a period of continuing renovation of the cathedral and its monuments. All the cathedral’s facades and some of the chapels were restored a few years before the year 2000. In this way, the church prepared itself to become the centre of events on the Millennium of the Cracow Diocese and the Great Jubilee of Christianity.

For as long as a thousand years, the Cracow Metropolitan Basilica of SS Stanislaus and Wenceslaus has been the “mother of churches” in one of the most important Polish dioceses which in 1925 was raised to the rank of an archdiocese. The Lord’s service has been always conducted here with great splendour and was considered a model for other churches. In its glorious days, more then a hundred priests were involved in the cathedral services, and prayers continued day and night without interruption. The Cathedral Chapter was assisted by curates at the top the cathedral clergy hierarchy.

Special priest groups were entrusted with special tasks to serve some of the chapels: Mansionaries, Psalterists, Prebendaries of the Chapel of the Holy Trinity and the Chapel of the Holy Cross, as well as Rorantists and Angelists. Chant and organ music added lustre to the liturgy held at the cathedral. In the 17th century, a vocal and instrumental ensemble was installed at the cathedral often under outstanding composers: Franciszek Lilius, Bartłomiej Pękiel and Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki.

Wawel Cathedral holds a very special place in the history of Poland and the Poles’ national awareness. For centuries it has been the place of worship of St Stanislaus, the saint who has been inextricably connected with the idea of a united and independent Polish State, a concept which was equally valid in the period of regional disintegration, the Partitions of Poland and communist rule. The grave of the martyr has been considered the Altar of the Homeland. The history of the Cracow Diocese and its main church reached its culmination at the election of its host, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, to the Holy See as Pope John Paul II.

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Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral – mass times, opening hours

011 44 020 7798 9055

Westminster Cathedral, London, Združeno kraljestvo

Every day from 7.00 to 20.00

Dedication of the Westminster Cathedral Consecration sconce, one of twelve installed around the interior and lit on the Feast of the Dedication of the Westminster Cathedral, 1 July, each year. With the laying of the foundation stone in June 1895, the Westminster Cathedral was dedicated to The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to his Blessed Mother, his Foster Father St Joseph and St Peter, his Vicar.Continue Reading

Gesu Church

The Gesu Church Rome – Mother church of the Society of Jesus with the Tomb of St. Ignatius of Loyola

+39 06 697 001

Church of The Jesus, Via degli Astalli, 16, Rim, 00186 Italija

Every day7.00 -12.30 and 16.00 -19.45

Coming to Rome and having the best stay: Papal Audience are held on Wednesdays if the Pope is in Rome, giving pilgrims and visitors the chance to “see the Pope” and receive the Papal Blessing or Apostolic Blessing from the successor of the Apostle Peter during their visit. Get tickets HERE The Gesu Church Rome The Church of the Gesù is the mother church of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), a Catholic religious order.Continue Reading

Altotting

Shrine of Our Lady of Altotting Black Madonna in Germany

+49 0 8671 5062 19

Stiftspfarrkirche, Kapellplatz, Altötting, Nemčija

Coming to Altotting and having the best stay: Our Lady of Altotting Germany Our Lady of Altotting is a Bavaria shrine in southern Germany famous for its 9th century Black Madonna. Altötting has attracted pilgrims since the 15th century. The Royal House of Germany has had a particular devotion to Our Lady of Altotting since the Middle Ages, a preference that had become a tradition.Continue Reading

Burgos Cathedral

Burgos Cathedral and the tomb of El Cid

947 204 712

Catedral de Burgos, Burgos, Španija

Daily: from 09.30 to 19.30

The 13th century gothic Burgos Cathedral is among the most admired of its kind worldwide. Specially remarkable are its portal, the “Puerta del Sarmental“, considered the best example of gothic sculpture of its century and the Cloister.Continue Reading

Our Lady of the Pillar zaragoza

Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Zaragoza, Spain – 1st Marian sanctuary in the world. See Statue, Image and Mass times

+34 976 29 95 64

Basílica del Pilar, Zaragoza, Španija

Every day from 6.45 am to 8.30 pm (Summer 9.30 pm)

Coming to Zaragoza and having the best stay: Our Lady of the Pillar The devotion to the Our Lady of the Pillar is so deeply-rooted among the Spaniards and for so long that the Holy See allowed the establishment of the “Oficio del Pilar”. In this oficio the apparition of the Virgin of the Pillar is recorded as an “antique and devoted belief”.Continue Reading

Catedral de Toledo

Catedral de Toledo de Santa Maria

+ 00 34 925 222 241

Santa Iglesia Catedral Primada de Toledo, Calle Cardenal Cisneros, Toledo, Španija

Museum: Monday to Saturday: Opens at 10:00 - 18:00 and closes at 18:30. Sundays and designated days: Opens at 14:00 - 18:00 and closes at 18:30.

Besides its historical and artistic value, Catedral de Toledo has a theological meaning as a reference for the pastoral life of the diocese priests and loyal laypersons. Cathedrals have been a place where our occidental and European culture has been forged and where the beginnings of our universities were created. They furthered social reform and were art workshops.Continue Reading