Wednesday, March 04, 2020

More Liturgical Treasures from Poland

In honor of St Casimir (1458-84), a prince of the royal house of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania, whose feast is kept today, here are some more photos by Nicola from his recent trip to Krakow. Most of these come from a museum show about the Piast dynasty, who ruled from ca. 960 to 1370; a few are from the royal treasury of the Wawel castle. There are a good number of liturgical objects, and several others associated with Polish Saints, to whose company the royalty seem to have contributed a surprisingly large number of members.

A metal casket of Sicilian origin, made in the 12th century, and later used as a reliquary to contain some of the earth stained with the blood of the bishop and martyr St Stanislaus. Possibly a gift of one Henryk of Sandomierz, a prince who participated in the Crusades; at the cathedral since at least 1563. The purely secular decorative motif, very possibly copied from ancient Roman sarcophagi, indicates its original purpose as a luxury item made to be used in a noble house.
A glass cup which belonged to St Hedwig, Duchess of Silesia (born 1174, ruled 1201-43, canonized in 1267); her husband, the Duke Henry, irritated at her ascetic refusal to drink wine, is said to have snatched it out of her hand during a banquet, only to find the water in it miraculously transformed into wine. Later made into a chalice, it passed first to the abbey of St Vincent in Wrocław, then to a church dedicated to Hedwig in Stradom, and finally to the Wawel Cathedral.
A silver reliquary bust of St Mary Magdalene, partly gilded and enameled, and three partially gilded silver chalices; all four objects were gifts of King Casimir III (1310-70, crowned in 1333), the last of the Piast dynasty, to various churches.
Various objects belonging to St Kinga, Queen of Poland (1232-94; canonized in 1999), including her engagement ring.
The Włokławek cup, made in either Metz, France, or San Gallen, Switzerland, in the first half of the 10th century, probably brought to Poland in the early years of its Christianization, and owned by the Benedictine abbey at Mogilno. The cup is decorated with stories of Gideon’s victory over the Midianites (Judges 7); lost for centuries, it was rediscovered by accident in 1909 by two farmers when their plow hit it in a field.
Object found in the tomb of Maciej of Gołańcza, bishop of Włocławek in the mid-14th century.

Objects found in tombs of members of the clergy from the 11th or 12th century, when it was a common custom to bury priests with their chalice and paten.
Various liturgical objects, mostly medieval pieces which were subsequently reworked.
A chalice traditionally said to have been donated by Dąbrówka, wife of Mieszko I, the first ruler of the Piast dynasty, ca. 960, but in reality, dated to about 1180.
Various objects from the royal treasury at the Wawel Castle.
An altar cross made in Rome in the mid-17th century.
A chalice commissioned in 1514 by Chancellor Christoph Szydłowiecki for the Bernardine church at Opatów.
Chalices made in Prussia in the 15th or early 16th century.

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