sobota, 6 lipca 2013

A visit to the Queen of Kashubia

Today I have been guiding a group of pilgrims wishing to pray in Our Lady sanctuary in Sianowo in the Kashubian Lake District. The place is located among lakes and forests so on the way you have the opportunity to admire scenic landscapes. The area is called the Kashubian Switzerland.

In the small village of Sianowo there is a small church housing a tiny medieval wooden figure of throned St. Mary with Child. Nowadays called the Queen of Kashubia, saint patron of happy love. The origins of the figure is unknown but it has been a miraculous figure for centuries. The figure is normally hidden behind a sliding painting and opened only when a group of worshippers arrive. This happened to us. The priest switched on the mechanism and after a few minutes the painting rolled down giving way to the tiny sculpture, crowned by Pope in 1966.

 In the church there are most beautiful table cloths on the side altar and the pulpit, embroidered by a local lady in amber ! I could not at first understand it when the priest was saying that this was amber-embroidery. After having a closer look, I realised it was small pieces of amber attached with a nail to the cloth

The Kashubians have always fought for the preservation of their language and until today it is widely used, also in prayers:

The Kashubians stick to God and their own traditions:

We have also visited two churches of the same title: the Assumption of Our Lady. One in Kartuzy, a post Karthusian church and Assumption of Our Lady church in Żukowo.
The one in Kartuzy has a very characteristic roof resembling a coffin. No wonder - the monks' fvourite greeting was "memento mori". The other death-reminding element in the church is the pendulum of the clock made of the Angel of Death. The order was expelled by Prussian authorties, just like any other Catholic order of monks that lived under the Prussian occupation.

Inside there are truly beautiful items, like the medieval altar from 1444 in the Golden Chapel, the former main altar. .

Medieval reliquiaries in the Golden Chapel

 Baroque stalls in the main nave

Finishing element on the stalls

Today's main altar is a late-renaissance one against the wall lined with Cordovans - unique leather wall decoration

The church is in Żukowo is a former Norbertan Nuns church, which - as all convents in Pomerania - were dismissed by the Prussian authority in mid 19 c. The Norbertan Nuns, an enclosed order, arrived in that place in 2012, so last year the town celebrated 800 years of the establishment of the convent.
The church is of rare beauty with unique gothic pieces like the crucifix from 1380 and the Anvers triptich side altar in late gothic style.

It also houses a very unusual arrangement of the balcony for the nuns connected with a staircase running through the pulpit down to a kind of door through which the nuns were given the holy communion.

The Kashubian region is a fantastic area for a summer holiday featuring sailing and fishing activities. There are many camp sites, b&b, restaurants offering traditional cuisine along with the common dishes.

And in winter there are many skiing opportunities down the many slopes of the hills. 

The area can boast the highest hill in the Central European Plain of over 300 m over sea level, crowned with a panorama tower: