Church of SS Peter and Paul

ul. Grodzka 52a, Kraków

The Jesuits arrived in Poland immediately after the Council of Trent of 1563. According to its resolutions, they were to defend the Catholic faith against the influence of the Reformation. Thanks to support of King Stefan Batory, they received St. Barbara's Church in Kraków, where a modest residence of the order was arranged. However, it soon turned out that the pastoral mission could not be successfully fulfilled due to the small size of the church. This was the reason for creating a new church, and the parcel adjoining the convent of the Sisters of Clara on Grodzka Street was chosen as the place of construction. Thanks to the mediation of father Piotr Skarga, King Sigismund III Vasa allocated suitable resources to the construction of the church, which was built between 1597 and 1619. The Jesuit temple was the first church in Poland to have been erected in the Baroque style. However, the construction was hardly smooth and. Only the third architect, Giovanni Trevano, managed to vault the church with a dome and build an impressive façade covered with stone ashlars. This towerless façade is a clear reference to the Roman church Il Gesù, the precursory and model work of early Baroque. At the beginning of the 18th century, a fence with plinths designed by Kacper Bażanka was placed in front of the church on Grodzka Street. The plinths themselves were topped with statues of the Twelve Apostles made by a German sculptor and Jesuit, David Heel (the present statues are their copies). The interior is monumental and it has a crude feel to it. The semi-circularly terminated chancel contains an altar designed by Kacper Bażanka with a 19th-century painting depicting the delivery of the keys to St. Peter. The visitors' attention is attracted by an elaborate stucco decoration of the apse's vaulting, made by Giovanni Battista Falconi, which shows the history of SS Peter and Paul. The vault of the church (available to the visitors) contains the remains of Father Piots Skarga, the theologian, writer, preacher and confessor of King Sigismund III Vasa. In 1832, the temple took over the function of a parish church, following the stripping of All Saints' Church. The church is neighboured by so-called Collegium Broscianum. These buildings were erected almost simultaneously with the church and served as a college, which today belongs to the Jagiellonian University, whose students replaced Jesuit clerics.
Date: 2013-06-07 Show ticket
News author: Weronika Dulowska
News Publisher: Portal główny EN
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