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Kosciol Swietych Piotra i Pawla
The entrance door to the Church of Sts. Peter and Paul in Krakow.
Jesuits arrived in Poland soon after the Council of Trident of 1563. Following the decisions reached at the Council, they were to defend the Catholic faith from the influence of the Reformation and its ideas. Thanks to the support of King Stephen Bathory, they received the Church of St. Barbara in Krakow where the Order established a modest residence. It soon turned out, however, that the Jesuits could not carry out their pastoral duties properly due to the small size of the Church. Thus the idea of building a new church was born. A site was chosen in Grodzka Street, next to the Convent of the Poor Clares. Thanks to the intercession of Rev. Piotr Skarga, King Sigismund III Vasa earmarked appropriate funds for the foundation.
The Jesuit church in Krakow was the first church in Poland to be built in the new, Baroque style. Construction on the site of an old Gothic church was begun in 1596 by Jozef Britius, and completed in 1619 by Giovanni Trevano of Lombardy, builder to King Sigismund III Vasa.
It is one of the most faithful examples of transplanting the architecture of the famous Chiesa del Gesu in Rome to foreign soil, with a fine Baroque facade and great dome.
It is said that the Jesuits spent so much money on the ornate white facade and the sculptures that they ran out of money to finish the rest of the building. Indeed, behind the impressive Baroque facade is a church made from ordinary brick.
The interior of the church is as monumental as it is austere. Enclosed in a semi-circle, the chancel is home to the high altar designed by Kacper Bazanka and including a 19th-century painting depicting the presentation of the keys to St. Peter. Attention is attracted to the elaborate stucco decoration by Giovanni Battista Falconi (made in the years 1619-1633) on the vaulting of the apse which illustrates the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul. Buried in the crypt of the church is Father Piotr Skarga: theologian, writer, preacher, and confessor of King Sigismund III Vasa (just a digress: if there were Spanish Inquisitors in Poland, I'm sure they would have loved to have Father Piotr in their ranks ;)).
We usually don't decorate the house for the holidays but I decided that it would be festive this year to put up some Chinese New Year decorations since we were having people over for a dumpling party to celebrate.
Yes, that Chinese character is upside and it's totally on purpose. The word for "arrive" and the word for "upside down" are pronounced very similarly in Chinese, so the idea of hanging the "fu" (luck/fortune) character upside down symbolizes that good fortune has arrived.
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