Reliquaries of St Stanislaus

Reliquary for the head

Reliquary for the head of St Stanislaus
(Wawel Cathedral Treasury),

        The reliquary originates from ca. 1504. It was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth of Austria, assisted by the Bishop of Cracow, Jan Konarski. It is a masterpiece of late-Gothic goldsmith’s art and was made by the Cracow craftsman, Marcin Marcinek (Marciniec), the maker of other works for the royal court (many of which have sadly not survived). The reliquary belongs to a large group of artworks depicting the life of St Stanislaus dating from the early 16th century. It features the following sequence of scenes: The purchase of a village by St Stanislaus; The bringing back to life of Piotrowin; The royal court trial; The martyrdom of St Stanislaus; The dismemberment of the body of St Stanislaus;Eagles guarding the body of St Stanislaus and the Canonization of St Stanislaus. The Wawel reliquary with the head of St Stanislaus testifies to the veneration of the martyr among the rulers of the Jagiellonian dynasty.

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