In the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Miechów, on 29 September this year, believers were reflecting on 850 years of the mission and the heritage of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, called Order of the Holy Sepulchre or members of Miechów. Dames and cavaliers of the Order present in the celebrations in Miechów, with their superior commander Karol Szlenker, wearing characteristic magnificent robes, ornamented with the Latin cross, reminded of the continuity of heritage and relation of Miechów with the Holy Land for many centuries.

These relations were discussed by ecclesiastical ceremonies master of the Order – prelate priest Jerzy Bielecki during a meeting of the members of the Order with an apostolic nuncio in Poland archbishop Celestino Migliore. he reminded that the community in Miechów had been the first representative in Poland and in Europe of the idea and the cult of the Holy Sepulchre since the year 1163. The monastery was not only the oldest and the most excellent and also the richest of all monasteries of this Order in Europe. It took on a special significance after the seizure of Jerusalem by dissenters. It was thought as the centre of all institutions, not only in Poland but also in France, Spain, Nepal, England, in Hungary, in Czech Republic and other countries.

The apostolic nuncio, expressing his joy about the meeting, thanked today’s Order of the Holy Sepulchre. – I am glad of the meeting with dames and cavaliers of the Holy Sepulchre in Poland – he said. – I feel it is close to me and, therefore, I am with you, I belong to this Order. In Rome and New York I often took part in prayers and various charity initiatives. I appreciate your mission and activity indeed. They are very useful and bring good fruits.

Everyone remembered about the deceased prelate priest Jerzy Gredka – a parish priest in Miechów for many years, of whose dreams, achievements, interests, the heritage of members of the Order in Miechów has been re-appearing in the recent years. Bishop Kazimierz Ryczan, welcoming eminent guests, reminded about the deceased parish priest, considering the return of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre to Miechów and also the celebration of the jubilee as ‘a fruit of his work and faith’. The jubilee Eucharist was presided over by archbishop Celestino Migliore, an apostolic nuncio in Poland. In his Homily he was reflecting on the current commitments resulting from being a member of the Order, keeping Divine motivation in spreading its groups and giving a ‘testimony of strong faith’ through decisions of joining the Order. he emphasized that at present, the Order is not based on monks-knights, as it was in its earlier history, but on dames and cavaliers functioning in the social life. He noted that today we need to reflect on a suitable understanding the values of poverty and life close to those in the biggest needs and sharing ‘their many Christ’s sufferings, including discrimination and persecutions because of being the Christians’. Archbishop Migliore also said that it is necessary to ‘form new women and men, people who will be able to undertake a fight and win it, which is necessary; it is all about a voluntary, personal fight, led in silence, and this is a fight with bad habits, with faults, with one’s own egoism and pride, that is, with this part of us which is not good enough’. He emphasized that at present ‘it is not required from the members of the Order to have noble roots, but noble hearts, faithfulness in everyday life’, readiness to endure any ‘forms of discrimination and persecution because of being the Christians’. He called the Order of the Holy Sepulchre for being active in the sphere of ‘multiplying peace and good’.

Prelate Priest Jerzy Bielecki – a member of the Order in Miechów, ecclesiastical ceremonies master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Poland - thanked for the solemn ceremony, defining the jubilee as ‘time of celebration and thanksgiving to God and people, who contributed to the heritage of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, characteristic for the town and the parish of Miechów’. Fr. Bielecki said: this is the celebration in the parish of Miechów but also the Knights’ Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. We are experiencing this moment in history in order to feel the power of faith and grace in this place. The Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre with the chapel of the Holy Sepulchre is an unusual place, which speaks to us with the past and the greatness of the past generations of habitants of Miechów and pilgrims.

At the end of the ecclesiastical part of the ceremony, celebrants, priests, dames and cavaliers of the Order went in procession to the chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, where bishop Kazimierz Ryczan made an act of entrustment of the town and presided over a jubilee prayer. Thanking for the activity of the Order of Canons the Regular Guardians of the Jerusalem Holy Sepulchre, bishop Kazimierz Ryczan said: - The replica of the Holy Sepulchre from Jerusalem erected by them in Miechów, became a special and significant sign of relation between our Homeland and the Earthly Homeland of Lord Jesus. The empty Lord’s Sepulchre in Miechów, similarly as the sepulchre of Jesus in the Jerusalem Basilica, became an exceptional testimony of our Redeemer’s victory over the satan and death, for our ancestors and all generations of Poles. It raised hope in our hearts, poured Jesus’ peace in them and strengthened us in winning the evil with the good, especially when our Homeland was experiencing moments of painful history events. Today we thank Divine Providence for this chapel of the Holy Sepulchre in Miechów, which has been preaching the redeeming victory of Jesus Christ for over eight centuries and shows us a way to our final vocation and destination.

Within the jubilee, on the courtyard between the House of Generals and the basilica, the monument of Maciej Miechowita was sanctified – one of the most excellent citizens of Miechów, a prominent scholar of XV century, a rector of Academy in Cracow for eight times. Jazz musicians in Cracow played here a special ‘Matins of Miechów’. There were reminiscences of merit of Miechowita in astronomy, philosophy, medicine and history.

In the viridarium of the post-monastery buildings, in the gallery BWA ‘At Jaksa’ – a jubilee exhibition of sacral sculptures of Prof. Wincenty Kućma was opened. Whereas, the Polish Post Office emitted a stamp and a jubilee card. It was also possible to purchase occasional editions. A special splendour was given to the jubilee by a beautiful album of the authorship of dr. Marian Małecki ‘From the Holy Land to Poland. The history of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre’, edited and published with the cooperation of the Order. This album and other occasional publications and exhibitions, and also the unveiling the monument of Maciej Miechowita confirmed the vigour and actuality of the mission of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.


"Niedziela" 41/2013

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: redakcja@niedziela.pl