St. Barbara's Church, Krakow
It started here with a graveyard chapel in the 14th c. and progressively enlarged to a church. In 1583 the church was taken over by the Jesuits who wanted to have their own house in a town that had the royal court and a university. In the 17th c. and 18th c. renovation and enlargement works were carried out so that St. Barbara combines Gothic and Baroque elements. Houses of the neighbourhood were bought to lodge the Jesuits.
All this ended when Pope Clement XIV in 1773 dissolved the Jesuit order.
The Jesuit house was transformed in an academic hospital. The church was handed over to the Canons Guardians of the Holy Sepulchre. When the Jesuit order was restored (1814) the church became again theirs and since 1931 an historical monument.
The high altar caught my attention and a nun active at the sacristy, and selling a booklet on the church, wanted to show me something. She pushed a button on the side of the altar and the picture of St. Barbara moved upwards to be replaced by one of Our Lady. After a new button push and some waiting this picture moved also upwards to unveil a Gothic wooden crucifix from 1410 surrounded by baroque gilded figures from St. John at St. Mary Magdalene!
After that I could not do anything else than buy a booklet of the church. I still wonder since when this mechanism (now electric) is active.
Greatly worshipped in this church is the picture of Byzantine origin (14th c. ?) of Our Lady of Jurowice. After many adventures this fine picture arrived at St. Barbara in 1855.
The special prayer to Our Lady of Jurowice ends with:
"Mary, do not abandon me! I beg you, do not abandon me!"
When leaving the St. Mary's basilica I paid attention on the right side to a small church St. Barbara and a chapel on the wall behind wrought iron bars (photo 1). The chapel contains a group of stone figures representing Christ in the Garden of Olives and three sleeping apostles. The Gethsemane chapel was constructed in the late 15th c. and corresponds to what I like so much from the late Gothic sculptures.
This part of Plac Mariacki (St. Mary's square) caught between St. Mary and St. Barbara is a very picturesque part of the old Krakow. If you walk under the vault on the left of St. Barbara church you will reach the quiet Maly Rynek (Small market). My photo nr 2 shows the back of the St. Barbara's apse.
Dominating the buildings of the Maly Rynek stands the St. Mary's basilica.
St. Barbara's Church is situated right behind St. Mary's. It was built in 1338 and used to be a mortuary. The church seems to be opened only in the summer.
Santa Barbara's Church is a little interesting church located right behind Saint Mary's church, in Maly's Rynek. Because of its close proximity to Saint mary's church it is often overlooked. It is well worth a visit: it's architecture is very linear and graceful - nearly triangular in fact - and its interior reflects the same simplicity (or austerity) of the exterior. It surely is a nice change from those churches overloaded with decorations and ornaments. Definitely well worth a visit: with its nice adjoining square, it's one of the most picturesque corners of Krakow