Kraków, Poland

Corpus Christi Church, Kazimierz, Kraków, Poland

Like so much of Kraków’s early history, the founding of Corpus Christi is a mixture of fact and legend. Legend says that the monstrance of All Saints Church (a relic containing holy water) was stolen. The thief made off through the swamps to the south of Kraków but wracked with guilt he abandoned the relic here and made off into the distance. The priests of All Saints came searching for their property, not really expecting to find it. However, after dark a mysterious light emanated from the box where it had fallen allowing for its recovery. In thanks the priests decided to build a church on the site.

Facts tell us that the church was founded in 1342 by King Kazimierz the Great (who gave his name to what would later become the Jewish heartland of Kraków). The church is one of the few Gothic structures to remain largely un-Baroqued in the City and is also one of the largest of all Kraków’s churches. The exterior is impressive by its size and the interior, although airy and bright compared to many Polish churches, is still very elaborately decorated. The altar piece is considered one of the best in Poland and, like most of the rest of Corpus Christi, is huge in its construction.

Oddly enough Corpus Christi Church is the most dominant structure in Kazimierz, an area today best known for its Jewish connections.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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