Reliquaries of St Stanislaus

A box from silver sheet-metal

A “Saracen-Sicilian” box from silver sheet-metal (Wawel Cathedral Treasury). Length 24 cm, height 18 cm, width 15 cm. It is noted in an inventory record of 1563 as a reliquary containing “the soil of St Stanislaus” (Latin: gleba S. Stanislai) – the term used to describe various tiny relics. The box is believed to originated from the Middle East or Sicily from the 11th/12th century and belongs to the finest Oriental-style works of mediaeval art. The box might have come to Poland during the Crusades (e.g. as a reliquary containing “mementoes” from the Holy Land). There are numerous examples of import of high-class Eastern works to be used as reliquaries, with the best in Spanish museums e.g. in Pamplona and Burgos.

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