The Church On the Rock – the site of pilgrimages of Polish kings
The famous Church On the Rock, officially called the Church of St. Michael Archangel and St. Stanislaw the Bishop and Martyr, or the Church of Pauline Fathers, is one of the oldest and best-known temples in the city of Krakow and has been since the late XIII century. It is because of the infamous history of the conflict between king Boleslaw II (called the Bold or the Generous) and bishop of Krakow Stanislaw in the year 1079.
The bishop, probably alongside Boleslaw’s younger brother, Wladyslaw and his palatine Sieciech, was the leader of a rebellion against the powerful king. Boleslaw discovered the conspiracy and imprisoned the bishop, who was put on trial, condemned to “truncation of limbs” and died during that horrific process. As a result, the rebellion had spread and the king was forced to leave Poland and died in Hungary around 1081.
The fountain of St. Stanislaw at the Church On the Rock,
Historians of the middle-ages, priests or monks, related the story differently. They depicted Boleslaw as cruel and mad, and Stanislaw compassionate and just. The legend of bishop Stanislaw tells us that when he was celebrating mass, the king barged brutally into the church and killed him at the altar. The other version claims that Boleslaw had sent armed men to kill the bishop. After the death of Stanislaw his cult had spread in the dukedom of Poland and he was canonized in 1253 and became the patron of Poland. There was a significant tradition that every Polish king went on a pilgrimage from the Wawel Castle to the Church On the Rock just before his coronation.
The first church at this site was probably dedicated to St. Michael and built in the XI century in Romanesque style. In the XIV century the church was rebuilt in a gothic style and then again in the late XV century when the Pauline Fathers had arrived here. It was briefly rebuilt yet again in the XVI and XVII centuries and was finally demolished in 1733. Ten years earlier, in 1723, the monastery of Pauline Fathers was finally built – the beginning of the construction dates back to 1636.
The new baroque style church was consecrated in 1751, but the construction site was not removed from the premises of church and monastery until 1792. Time was not kind to the church, as it fell into a dilapidated state in the XIX century. Between 1889 and 1890 the church was thoroughly renovated. The next renovation took place more than a hundred years later, between 1994 and 1997.
Church on the Rock Info
Address: Skaleczna 15, 31-065 Krakow.
Map ref: 50.048214, 19.937898
Opening hours: You can view the church and the premises between 6am and 9pm.
Cost: Admission to the church and premises is free.
http://www.skalka.paulini.pl/page,2.html [only in Polish]
Images by Mateusz Świercz for Absolute Tours