Kalwaria Zebrzydowska

Nicolaus Zebrzydowski in the year 1600 commissioned on the mountain of Zarek the building of the church of the Sacred Cross, modelled after the church of Golgota in Jerusalem. The Church was blessed on the 4th October 1601, and than he decided to build a chapel of the Tomb of Christ, similar to the church in Jerusalem. To make sure that the complex was looked after, Mikolaj Zebrzydowski invited to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, the franciscan fathers and brothers – Bernardyni in Polish – who had also cared for the holy places in Jerusalem for over 300 years. In 1602 he completed the gesture of goodwill and soon he started to build a monastery with an attached small church. In 1604, Mikolaj Zebrzydowski, having seen the resemblance to the land of Jerusalem, decided to make it even more similar to this place and in 1617 has finished buliding everything he wanted. He added the chapels of the stations of the Cross and others, 24 in total. At that time the pilgrims started to flock. After the death of Mikolaj his son decided to built the beautiful church of the Tomb of our Lady.After some time 9 new chapels were built. The placing of a picture of our Lady, called our Lady of Kalwaria, in the church by the monastery served to reawaken marian devotion. This picture was ceremoniously crowned in 1887. Since that time the Church has been extended many times what caused even more Pilgrims to visit this place. Kalwaria Zebrzydowska has been visited by very important people: members of royal families, austrian emperors, polish bishops and bishops from all over the world. John Paul II, visited Kalwaria as pope in 1979 and 2002. Today the Kalwaria monastery also houses a higher seminary.




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