Tuesday, 8 April 2008

The Jesuit Church, Krakow.

The High altar.

The organ taken from the crypt.

These type of confessionals are the only ones one sees in the Churches here.

Pulpit and side altar.

A previous tourist who suffered from a bad case of Baroqueitis. He is now incapable of saying anything but 'alleluia' and feels foolish in Lent.

From the Royal Road. St Andrew's next door, which is, erm, interesting, will be the subject of a future post.

The 12 Apostles.

St Ignatius with his Spiritual Exercises. Whether he would have been a fan of the Baroque is unknown.

As I toddled back from a cellar bar one night I realised what the Jesuits spend all the school fees on.

One of the finer Churches in Krakow is the Jesuit Church of Ss Peter and Paul. It was given to the Jesuits well after it's foundation in the 13th Century and they later remodelled it according to the prevailing Baroque tastes of the time. It is reasonably austere and has a short sanctuary, which predates what came to be known as the 'Jesuit Sanctuary', with the idea of allowing the people of God to be as close as possible to the altar as possible, their views unencumbered by any screens or other ornamentation. That said, it is still a stunning Church, with a remarkable pulpit which is rather protestant in comparison to other pulpits in this city! The exterior is clad in white stone, so prohibitively expensive that the order was forced to finish the exterior at the back and sides cheaply. It is a revelation to see the bare, corroding bricks a few feet from the imposing West wall. The statues of the twelve apostles are quite new - the originals were designed by a Jesuit over three hundred years ago but they became so worn they were completely remade recently. The Church itself stands about half way down the 'Royal Road' which leads from the square to the castle and cathedral, on the way to Kasimerz, the Jewish quarter where I enjoyed an excellent Kosher meal in the dining room of the former ritual bathing-house.The Jewish quarter is now mainly fairly cheap housing, the old circular slaughter house which dominates the square now a covered market and many of the fashionable bars and restaurants have made their home here. There is only one operational synagogue left and it was chilling to leave the former bath house into a wide, calm boulevard to read that that was where the Nazis rounded up the Jews during the terror. I will not say that my chicken cutlet turned to dust in my mouth, for it was an excellent chicken cutlet and I recommend the http://www.klezmer-hois.cracow.pl/ restaurant to you whoeheartedly, but it brought back fears for Tibet, lost under the spring sun of Krakow. What will come of these ludicrous Olympics I do not know, but I only hope and pray that they highlight some of the monstrous behaviour towards humanity and the animal world as well as the environment which that behemoth is daily wreaking. The Church Times ran a ridiculous story recently about how religious observance is encouraged in China now, but then they are used to running ridiculous stories.