10th Cracovia Sacra Night

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Monastic Treasures

The mythical treasures of the Templars have long inspired explorers to come up with increasingly wild theories as to their supposed hiding place. But you don’t have to travel the world to find real gems – all you have to do is head to Kraków’s monasteries during the 10th Cracovia Sacra Night on 14 and 15 August. For many centuries, libraries at monasteries and convents have been accumulating scrolls and manuscripts, over time becoming troves of priceless volumes. One such tome is the Carmelite Gradual – a manuscript by Stanisław of Stolec, dating back to 1644 and including liturgical songs for Sundays and festivals. The almost four centuries-old text is richly decorated with colourful floral ornaments on each page; its dimensions (59 x 74 cm) make it the largest manuscript in the Carmelite collection. While you’re visiting the Church on the Rock, you should also see the exhibition of the library’s extensive collection. Other monasteries opening their doors are the Canons Regular at the Church of Corpus Christi, the Dominicans, the Missionaries, the Capuchins, the Brothers Hospitallers, and – traditionally – the Benedictine Fathers in Tyniec and the Benedictine Sisters in Staniątki. The Sanctuary of Divine Mercy presents letters by St Sister Faustina, the Jesuits show their Papal Madonnas, while the Church on the Rock hosts an exhibition celebrating the 300th anniversary of the coronation of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa as Queen of Poland.

Ever since the event’s inception, the churches participating in Cracovia Sacra Night have also presented music performed lived in the beautiful interiors. The evening concerts reveal the wealth of Polish sacral music, from the world premiere of Paweł Sydor’s Baptismal Symphony during the inaugural concert, via Songs of the Holy Trinity with words by Michał Zabłocki and music by Agnieszka Chrzanowska, an oratorio performance by the Loch Camelot Theatre and the concert praising the Piaskowa Madonna at the Cellar of St Norbert, to songs by Cracovian Capuchin Poor Clares and music at venues other than monasteries and convents in the city. (bf)

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