Wednesday, 9 April 2008

St Andrews Convent Chapel, Krakow.

Next to the Jesuit Church of Saints Peter and Paul nestles the (comparatively, and certainly by Krakovian standards) small Convent Chapel of St Andrew. It has a screen over the narthex, so these are the only pictures you are likely to see unless you are a Nun in this order living there, in which case you should be familiar with the chapel anyway or if you, like the two people in the picture, are delivering candle oil and are being told off by one of the sisters. The screen means that there is nowhere for the laity to sit, you can mill around and take a picture through the bars but go no further, the chapel would seat maybe twenty nuns at a push. It is, though, one of the most lavish baroque interiors I have ever seen. Take a look at the pulpit by expanding the second picture, see the boat, then the mast, the rigging and then the little fo'cstle on top! I have never seen anything so outrageous in my life! See the cherubs falling from the ropes! Anyway, it was fun to see and beautifully preserved. I should imagine that standing there in full baroque rigging, maniple flapping in the heat of the candles, lace alb rippling under the strain, holding forth to a handful of sisters whilst standing in a silver boat must be one of the more, erm, interesting, experiences one can have in ones life.
The last picture I took outside the Archbishops residence on the garden of the Franciscan Basilica. It was the anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II and every year people come and light lamps, in their thousands and to pray for a miracle. It was quiet at this time, but by nightfall it was absolutely heaving with emotional souls and there was a great concert on in the main square to celebrate his life. From the statues and shrines to him and the candles in the Churches by his pictures, it is clear that, whether he is ever canonised or not, to the people of Krakow, their old Bishop is already a Saint.