Reliquaries of St Stanislaus

Reliquary for the hand  of St Stanislaus

The reliquary in the form of a hand with its fingers in the gesture of blessing is still in the late-Gothic style, as indicated by its expressive and dynamic stylization which indicates its relations with late-Gothic art. The reliquary is particularly connected with the Chapel of SS Peter and Paul (which was on the site of the present Vasa Chapel) at Cracow Cathedral , referred to as the chapel “where St Stanislaus’s hand was displayed in the reliquary”. A Wawel inventory book dating from 1563 reads “on the left side of the chapel [of SS Peter and Paul] is a place where traditionally the relic of St Stanislaus’ hand is displayed, in a gilded silver reliquary in the form of a hand wearing a ring with a Chalcedon fixed on it with a gilt silver chain”.

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