550 years of the Pauline Order at the Church on the Rock

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In 1472 the first Pauline Fathers were brought to our city by the historian and chronicler Jan Długosz; he funded their monastery and later the renovation of the church dating back to the days of King Casimir the Great.

The choice of location was no accident – the church is traditionally linked with the martyrdom of St Stanislaus of Szczepanów, murdered in 1079 by King Bolesław the Brave or on his orders. The popular cult of Poland’s patron is largely attributed to Długosz, following his chronicle of St Stanislaus (Vita S. Stanislai) written between 1460 and 1465. He first encountered the Pauline Order when Cardinal Zbigniew Oleśnicki was funding their monastery in Pińczów and during several visit to the Jasna Góra sanctuary.

Salutary fruit

The author of the acclaimed Annals or Chronicles of the Famous Kingdom of Poland originally wanted to bring the Pauline Order to Kraków much earlier; however, he faced opposition from the local rector who had no intention of foregoing the tidy profits from the pilgrims. Things finally went Długosz’s way when he became a tutor to the sons of King Casimir IV Jagiellon. Noting the fact in the 12th book of the Annals, the chronicler wrote that the foundation of the monastery meant that “the place, sanctified by the great martyr St Stanislaus, neglected until now, will bear abundant and salutary fruit to the Lord through worship sung at all hours of day and night, through the holiness and eager care of the Fathers”. Under the care of the Pauline Order, the Church ‘On the Rock’ fast developed as an important pilgrimage site. Since the 19th century, it has been Poland’s second most important (after Wawel Cathedral) national necropolis, holding among the others the remains of Jan Długosz himself, Wincenty Pol, Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, Teofil Lenartowicz, Adam Asnyk, Stanisław Wyspiański, Jacek Malczewski, Karol Szymanowski, Ludwik Solski and Czesław Miłosz.

The celebrations and projects

The celebrations marking the 550th anniversary of the presence of the Pauline Order were launched on 8 May, when the annual procession of St Stanislaus from Wawel to the Church ‘On the Rock’ was followed by a field mass at the Altar of the Three Millennia. Attendees who remember the first pilgrimage to Poland by Pope John Paul II in 1979 recalled his meeting with students on the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of St Stanislaus.

Anniversary celebrations continue throughout the summer and culminate on 29 September with an indulgence dedicated to St Michael the Archangel. The construction of a Pauline Order Cultural Heritage Centre is a longer-term project as part of the commemorations of the anniversary.

Programme of the jubilee year events (July–September 2022)

9 July, Wawel Royal Castle
550th anniversary of the foundation of the Pauline Monastery in Kraków by the King Casimir IV Jagiellon and the residence of Pauline Fathers at Skałka
9am – Holy Mass at Wawel Cathedral
11am – opening of an exhibition at the Wawel Royal Castle and conference
7:30pm – Psalms of David, concert by the Choir of the White Stork Synagogue from Wrocław and Pauline Gregorian Schola frm Kraków’s Skałka

14-15 August, Cracovia Sacra Night
14 August, Hermit Brothers of the Cross. Spirituality of the Cross, opening of the exhibition
14 August, 6pm, The Ludźmierz Vespers, concert at the Kraków Philharmonic

29 September, Feast of St Michael the Archangel at Skałka
6:30pm – presentation of the new illumination of the church and monastery
7pm – Saint Michael’s Mass
8pm – Little Angle Musical (music and words by Fr. Ireneusz Wybraniak OSPPE)

30 September, closing of the jubilee year at Skałka
6pm, oratorio for Our Lady of Bachledówka and Blessed Stefan Wyszyński, St Catherine’s Church

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