15th Cracovia Sacra Night

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  • Sunday, August 14, 2022 - Monday, August 15, 2022

The crucifix – Christianity’s most important symbol – is the leading motif of this year’s Cracovia Sacra Night. The event brings together unique exhibitions, guided tours, meetings, concerts and religious ceremonies.

Cracovia Sacra Night is an instalment of the Kraków Nights project. The idea behind the cyclical event is to cherish and showcase Kraków’s spiritual heritage. The 15th edition is held on 14 and 15 August, and extends to celebrations marking three important anniversaries: 800 years of the Cistercian Abbey in Mogiła, 800 years of the Basilica of St Mary, and 550 years of the Pauline Basilica ‘On the Rock’.

On the trail of crucifixes

The most important symbol of Christianity has been present in Kraków for over a thousand years. It marks every church, accompanies prayers and it’s a ubiquitous element of sacral art. Cracovia Sacra Night, also focusing on the cross, is a great opportunity to visit places of religious importance and holding important artworks. The oldest Gothic crucifix in Kraków is the Crucified Christ on the eastern wall of the chancel at the Evangelical-Augsburg Church of St Martin at Grodzka Street. Another renowned cross is the crucifix of St Jadwiga at the Baroque altar at Wawel Cathedral. It belonged to Queen Jadwiga (d. 1399), canonised in the late 20th century. The Crucified Christ cross at the Cistercian Abbey in Mogiła is said to have been performing miracles since at least the 15th century. And that’s just the start of a long list of places and artworks providing a backdrop to exhibitions and lectures.

As we follow the trail of Cracovian crucifixes, we mustn’t forget a story from 1960 when residents of Nowa Huta joined forces to defend a cross which was to be replaced by the first church in the district. They successfully saved the cross from being destroyed by the communist authorities. Today the original is held at the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the Teatralne Estate, while the site where it once stood is now occupied by a bronze statue of the Nowa Huta Cross supported by a pair of hands.

The exhibitions Gothic Crucifixes at Cracovian Churches (Bernardine Convent, 11 Poselska Street) and Symbolism of the Cross (Carmelite Monastery, 19 Karmelicka Street) are a perfect prelude to Cracovia Sacra Night.

Although the exhibitions and meetings of this year’s event focus on the wide-reaching theme of the cross, they also step beyond by recalling the city’s spiritual treasures and heritage and presenting places and exhibits usually closed to the public. Don’t miss the exhibitions 800 Years of the Cistercian Abbey in Mogiła (Cistercian Abbey in Mogiła, 11 Klasztorna Street) and 550 Years ‘On the Rock’ (Pauline Basilica ‘On the Rock’, 15 Skałeczna Street). Cracovia Sacra Night is also the perfect opportunity to visit the Benedictine Abbey Museum in Tyniec (37 Benedyktyńska Street) and discover hidden spaces of the Benedictine Convent in Staniątki (Staniątki 299).

Songs about the cross

The cross has been ever-present in sacral poetry and music since Christianity’s earliest days. This heritage is explored through concerts and poetry meetings. We will hear music ranging from early compositions to contemporary sounds, all inspired by the symbol of Christianity. The programme features great early Polish composers including Wacław of Szamotuły, Mikołaj Zieleński and Grzegorz Gerwazy Gorczycki (O crux ave, Missionary Church, 16 Stradomska Street, 8pm, 15 August) and the concert The Cross in Classical Music featuring works by Chopin, Mozart, Handel and Fauré (Benedictine Convent in Staniątki, 7pm, 15 August). The Capuchin Church (11 Loretańska Street) resounds with music by Bach and Handel at the concert The Power of the Cross (8pm, 15 August). We will also hear sung Polish poetry with texts by Kochowski, Norwid Baczyński and Koehler (Poland, the Cross is Your Armour, Franciscan Basilica, 5 Wszystkich Świętych Square, 8:15pm, 15 August). And that’s just some of the events: the musical repertoire of Cracovia Sacra Night is extensive and presented in exquisite settings of Kraków’s beautiful churches. There can be no better way of immersing ourselves in the city once known as “another Rome” (altera Roma).

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