St. Stanislaw's Church, Krakow

The Church of St. Stanislaw (Kosciól na Skalce, "Church on the Rock") is a Paulite church and monastery on the banks of the Vistula River in Krakow. It is dedicated to St. Stanislaw, the bishop of Krakow who was murdered on this site on orders of the king in 1079.


History of St. Stanislaw's Church

A Romanesque church originally stood on this elevated site, located on the Vistula embankment south of Wawel Hill. It was here in 1079 that Bishop Stanislaw (or Stanislaus; 1072–1079) was beheaded and dismembered by order of King Bolesław.

The cause of the conflictbetween bishop and king is complex and not entirely known, but it reached a boiling point when Stanislaw excommunicated the king. The king then accused the bishop of treason and had him brutally killed in this church. The violent story is remarkably similar to that of King Henry II and Bishop Thomas à Becket in Canterbury, England.

Legend has it that the saint's body was miraculously reassembled, which made an apt symbol of the restoration of Poland's unity after its years of fragmentation. A martyr's cult began immediately after his death; in 1088 his relics were moved to Wawel Cathedral where they remain today.

Stanisław was canonized by Pope Innocent IV in Assisi in 1253. He was the first native Polish saint and is still patron saint of Poland, Kraków, and some Polish dioceses.

In the 14th century, the Romanesque church was replaced by a new Gothic church by King Casimir III (1310-70). Since 1472, the church has belonged to the Pauline Fathers, who have a monastery here. In 1733-1751 the church received a Baroque makeover.

Beginning in the 19th century, the church also became the last resting place for well-known Polish writers and artists; among those buried here are the composer Karol Szymanowsk, and the painter and playwright Stanislaw Wyspianski, and poet Czeslaw Milosz.

Festivals and Events

Each year on May 8, a procession led by the Bishop of Kraków carries Stanislaw's relics from Wawel Cathedral to St. Stanislaw's Church.

Originally a local event, the procession was popularized in the 20th century by Polish Primate Stefan Wyszyński and Archbishop of Kraków, Karol Wojtyła (a.k.a. Pope John Paul II). The latter called Saint Stanisław the patron saint of moral order.

Quick Facts on St. Stanislaw's Church

Site Information
Names:St. Stanislaw's Church
Categories:churches; monasteries
Dates:14th C
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:50.048238° N, 19.937493° E
Address:Krakow, Poland
Lodging:View hotels near St. Stanislaw's Church
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Fodor's Poland, 1st. ed. (May 2007).
  2. St. Stanislaus of Krakow Route - Cracow Online
  3. Stanislaus of Szczepanów - Wikipedia
  4. Skałka - Wikipedia

More Information

East end of St. Stanislaw's Church. © Christopher Walker
Photo © Zuzana Bohackova. © Zuzana Bohackova
Paulite monk at St. Stanislaw's Monastery. © Zuzana Bohackova
Photo © Zuzana Bohackova. © Christopher Walker

Map of St. Stanislaw's Church, Krakow

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