Altar of St Stanislaus

ss. Florian and Sigismund

St Florian, an early Christian martyr, venerated in Central Europe, in particular in Austria and Poland, most often as a patron saint of firefighters. In the 15th century the worship of St Florian reached a status similar to those of SS Stanislaus, Adalbert and Wenceslaus, and all of them were presented as patron saints of the Polish Kingdom. St Florian was depicted in Roman legionary attire with a spear and a shield in his hand and often also with a vessel from which he pours water onto a burning building.

St Sigismund was a king of Burgundy who lived in the 6th century. He was venerated in mediaeval Europe particularly as a patron of rulers. Relics of the skull of St Sigismund could be found in Poland as early as the 12th century, as a gift from Emperor Frederick to the Bishop of Płock, Werner), who placed them in Płock Cathedral. The worship of St Sigismund (Polish: Zygmunt) gained importance under the reign of the Jagiellons where two Polish rulers: Zygmunt I (the Old) and his successor Zygmunt II August bore the name of the saint. He was usually shown in a coat of armour with royal insignia.

We are all well aware that to enter this Cathedral can not be without emotion. More I say, you can not enter it without the internal tremor, without fear because it contains in it - as in almost no Cathedral of the world - the enormous size, which speaks to us in all our history, our entire past.

cardinal Karol Wojtyla
8 March 1964