Thursday, April 5, 2018

Krakow Pilgrimage- Day Two- St Mary's and Icons!

After hitting the splendid breakfast bar this morning at the hotel, I made my way towards Saint Mary's basilica for Mass. On my way I came across the Church of St Andrew the Apostle. It is a convent church so you can only see the main altar through a gate. They have some awesome holy cards inside for a donation. I picked up a few. St Peter and Paul next door was still closed so I made my way up to St Mary's.

St Peter and Paul left, St Andrew's right. 

Before getting to Saint Mary's I came across the Dominican Church, which was under renovation, so I could not see the altar. They had a picture cover over it. I took a few pictures there and moved on.

I continued on to the 10 AM Mass at Saint Mary's which said "Latin" on the schedule. I found out it was the Novus Ordo in mostly Latin. The entire canon was in Latin and many of the responses. To my surprise it was said ad-orientum at a beautiful altar with a miraculous crucifix above it, carved out of one piece of stone. It is amazing and looks very lifelike. It dates from sometime in the late 1400s. So although I was a bit disappointed that it was not the Latin Mass I was grateful to receive Our Lord in front on this crucifix. There are many miracles attributed to it. I was very impressed by the Mass attendance. I saw three Masses come and go including my own and there were at least 60 people of all ages at each Mass. This is in stark contrast to what I saw in Rome when I visited. Here everyone kneels for the consecration whether there are kneelers or not. They also receive on the tongue at the altar rail kneeling, everyone. The faith seems to be a living one here in Krakow. I was able to come back later in the day and get more pictures.

After Mass I stopped at the charming little Church of Saint Adelbert's for a few prayers, which is located at the southeast side of the square across from Saint Mary's.

Next I stopped back at Saint Peter and Paul's.

Moving on I had purchased a three day Krakow card pass which allows me to get in several museums around the city. The first stop on my list was the Archaeological Museum. The museum was well done and you could tell they put some money into it. The lighting was set to highlight each piece. You can see below a couple of things they had in there. If you appreciate archaeology and history its worth checking out.

Next on my list was the icon museum. The only collection I have seen this large was in Venice, Italy. Being an icon fanatic, this was a real treat. They also let you take pictures as long as you do not use a flash, so I took quite a few with varying results. The ones behind glass are always tough to get.

The Archdiocese has a museum so I decided to check it out. It was almost next door to the icons. This is where John Paul II resided for many years and so they had a ton of his stuff. They also had some very old statues from the 1400s and some beautiful paintings as well. One of the paintings that struck me was a painting from 1657 on the Last Four Things. The light was hitting it badly so I had a really hard time getting good pictures of it. You will see several below with the man sitting in the center contemplating death, judgement, heaven and hell. When I get some time I may see if I can improve them in my photo program.

Of course no pilgrimage would be complete without tasting the local food! I found a place around the corner of the hotel called Klimaty Poludnia. I sat outside on the patio and enjoyed my late lunch.

I went back to to Saint Mary's to get some pictures of this magnificent church. This is truly one of the most beautiful that I have visited, and I have been to many. At the main altar is the largest Gothic altarpiece in the world. Saint Mary's altar took 12 years to complete and was finished in 1489. Even though they do not do it justice, I'll let the pictures do the talking. 

After the breathtaking Saint Mary's I went next door to Saint Barbara's Church. After that I did a little shopping and found a hand painted icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa! They are hard to find in the US. I walked the Planty park and prayed the Rosary before retiring back to the hotel. Although very busy, another wonderful day here in Krakow.

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