November 16, Wrocław Archcathedral

November 16
In the Archdiocese of Wrocław
In the Archcathedral – Solemnity

The Diocese of Wrocław was created in 1000 during the reign of Boleslaus the Brave and was the suffragan of the Province of Gniezno. Its first cathedral was the wooden church by the Oder River which got destroyed during the times of the return of paganism after the Boleslaus’s death. In the middle of the 12th century Bishop Walter began building the new cathedral. It was the stone temple modelled after the ancient Roman basilicas. The foundations of the third, Gothic church were laid by Bishop Tomasz I, and its consecration was performed by Bishop Tomasz II. Further works were carried out by Bishop Nankier. This God’s house was destroyed at the end of World War II. The renovated temple was consecrated by Stefan Wyszyński, Primate of Poland, in 1951.

Common of the Dedication of a Church.

[PDF Version]



From the homily of Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, Primate of Poland
(Wrocław, 1 September 1965)
The Mother of Wrocław Churches

Today the whole Polish episcopacy, aware of its blessed function in our land, has taken seat in the Wrocław Cathedral of the Piast dynasty, which has been arduously erected since the 12th century at Ostrów Tumski. How its Romanesque and Gothic architecture reminds us of the fortified castles that we encounter in Poznań, Gniezno and Kraków. Most striking is the analogy of the location of the cathedrals in Gniezno, Poznań and Wrocław. The same Divine strategy seems to have been at work there – the same human thought, the same spirit and the same love!

The Romanesque cathedral was growing slowly thanks to the endeavours of Bishop Walter and Żyrosław, being modelled after the collegiate churches of Kruszwica, Strzelno and Opatów, as well as the Płock Cathedral and the vaults of Poznań and Gniezno Cathedrals. Upon it the brick Gothic cathedral of the 13th century had developed , looking just like the building of Henryków Śląski and many others in Poland. The Reverend Karol Milik, the then Ordinary of the Diocese, referred to its shape while attempting to lift the Mother of Wrocław churches out of poverty.

And here we are in the middle of this pride of the Wrocław land that fills our hearts with joy and is a test of our living faith, zealous love for God and for our past, as well as mighty and indestructible hope that it is worth lifting the past from the ashes to live with it on our way to the future. We are full of respect for our scholars, historians, architects, researchers and conservators who with diligence looked after each single relic and sought out its proper place. It does prove that our young nation has not aged on its ten-century path. The wise nation reaches out to its past with reverence. Even more so, it is unnecessary to be ashamed of it, even though we all realise that, as in human lives a lot may be improved, in the life of a nation a lot may be carried out better. However, we give thanks to the Lord for such past, we do respect it and wish not to break up with it as we notice its living connection to the presence. Our present laws, demands and hopes are strictly connected to the history of the nation of one thousand years. In this sense of noble love and reverence to the past we are standing here today, in the midst of the Piast Cathedral, through the past ages looking forward to the future that we wish to be different, better, blessed, peaceful and just. We are not afraid of the changes as we know they are necessary. We realise that the evangelical seed will initiate the future of great changes. The Good News will always serve the generations that follow Christ, the Father of the Future.

As we are sitting before the altars of the Lord and look at the open gates of the Cathedral that lead to the Polish future, across Ostrów Tumski, far toward the west, toward the east and the north, from the old paths of history; when it all spreads before our eyes, we – the messengers of the Good News and successors of the Apostles of the Church in our Fatherland, armed in love and Good News, strengthened by the Cross of Christ – with trust are making for the Poland of Tomorrow. Signing “Jubilate Deo, salutari nostro!” we give thanks for all that we have experienced.

The horrible war that we wish never to return tore not only human bodies; it tore the walls of many a temple and revealed the hidden mysteries of the past. These secrets of the noble past of Poland, especially here at Ostrów Tumski, have gladdened our hearts. Divine Providence led us here again where we gratefully do sit. May the feelings of gratitude our heart are filled with, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Help, and the merits of God’s saints, rise to the throne of the Triune God.[1]

RESPONSORY Psalm 84:2-3; 5

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

TE DEUM You are God: we praise you.

[1] Translated by DChojnacki (2014).


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