February 1, Gniezno Archcathedral Basilica

February 1
In the Archdiocese of Gniezno
In the Archcathedral Basilica – Solemnity

Prince Mieszko I built a church in Gniezno and king Boleslaus the Brave placed St Adalbert’s relics there. The church became the cathedral of Poland’s first metropolitan bishop – Blessed Radim Gaudentius. A number of coronations of Polish kings were held in the Gniezno Cathedral. In the 14th century the magnificent Gothic temple was built in place of the Romanesque cathedral. In the 17th century it was redesigned in the Baroque style. The Cathedral was granted basilica status by Pope Pius XI. Destroyed during World War II, the Cathedral was rebuilt and Gothicised.

Common of Dedication of a Church.

[PDF Version]



 From the sermon by Cardinal August Hlond, primate of Poland, at the opening of the Gniezno Cathedral after World War II
(Sermon delivered in the Gniezno Basilica, 25 November 1945)
The tabernacle of God is with men

After six years of desecration the time has come for this venerable primatial basilica to regain the status of place of honour and worship. The godless invader did not respect the sacred character of this cathedral, nor its past and monuments.
At the moment the bell Adalbert tolls from Lech’s hill, announcing all over Poland that “today salvation has come to this house” as well as to hundreds of other churches of Greater Poland which, sharing the fate of the invasion with their people, were deprived of everything and abused, until the religious impulse of the liberated nation pulled them out from desecration and blessed them with its fervent prayer of gratitude.
The fundamental significance of this historical reconciliation of the Gniezno Archcathedral lies in the fact that its character of God’s house has been restored. We can again apply to it the words of the Book of Revelation, “God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God).”
For us temples, filled with our liturgical service and prayer, are precious like a charm of religious past and like an enchanting world of monuments, but also like an unyellowed testimony of faith and, above all, like untouchable tabernacles of living God who dwells with us in the new Poland. We believe in God and worship his tabernacles. Concern for their majesty will be a natural impulse of religious dignity. With Isaiah we complained during the years of possession, “why have our enemies trampled your sanctuary?” Today we vow with the words of the apostolic prophet of Patmos, “nothing unclean will enter it, nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies. Only those will enter whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
Today this honourable cathedral regains the status and function of archcathedral and primatial basilica. How intent were the invaders, carrying the sign of a profaned cross, on depriving Gniezno of this character, on erasing Poland’s oldest ecclesiastical province and the supreme Church institution of primacy. This Polish hierarchical centre, being a contemporary of the Polish state, was to be lost along with its history and documentation. Nonetheless, it has endured thanks to God’s providence and thanks to the Holy See; it has endured and still functions. Probably it has never had such extensive tasks as today. The ecclesiastical Gniezno is still what it used to be in the times of the first metropolitan bishop, Blessed Radim, and it retains the majesty of its first primate – Mikołaj Trąba. May our Assumed Lady and Queen, with whose glorious name the basilica has seen the centuries of splendour and the night of humiliation, grant the Polish nation from the plenitude of her Immaculate Heart the richness of graces, of which she is the steward, and surround Poland on its way to the kingdom of God with the almighty power, which by God’s privilege lies in her hands.[1]

RESPONSORY Psalm 84:1-2; 4

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts!
My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord.

They are happy, who dwell in your house, for ever singing your praise.
My soul is longing and yearning, is yearning for the courts of the Lord.

[1] Translated by DChojnacki (2014).


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