St Martin's Church

Houses of worship

With its plain facade and austere, unornamented interior, this particular church inclines one to sink into reflection and prayer.

A baroque church was built in the 17th century for the Order of Discalced Carmelite Sisters and replaced an earlier, Romanesque one. Its diminutive size is rumoured to have been the result of a protest of the neighbouring Order of Poor Clares (operated by St Andrew’s) afraid that a greater structure would cast too much shadow over their estate.

Since the beginning of the 19th century, the church has remained in the hands of the Kraków Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession. The furnishing of the church, as required in Protestantism, is more than modest. The altar is graced by a painting of Christ Silencing a Storm by Henryk Siemiradzki, a leading representative of Polish academism. The Gothic crucifix (from 1380, one of the oldest depictions of crucified Christ in Kraków) hangs high above the altar. Transferred from the previous church, it is recognised as a miraculous object, and a legend endures of Christ speaking to one of the Carmelite Sisters. Leading to the church is a portal with a Latin inscription reading Frustra vivit, qui nemini prodest (In vain lives he who helps no one).

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