SOBIESKI ON KAHLENBERG
SOBIESKI ON KAHLENBERG WŁODZIMIERZ RĘDZIOCH, CORRESPONDENCE FROM VIENNA
Kahlenberg is a Hill dominating over Vienna, from which a wonderful view of the city is spreading and Danube flowing below. It is the strategic place from which king Jan III Sobieski was commanding his armies, which won the victorious battle with the Turks besieging the city. Today on the top of the hill there is a church under the vocation of St. Joseph whose custodians are priests the Resurrectionists from the year 1906. In the church there is a chapel commemorating the battle which has gone to history as a defence of Vienna. On its façade there are commemorating tables: one of them commemorates the visit of John Paul II who visited this historical place in 1983, on the 300th anniversary of the battle; the second one is a tribute to king Sobieski, and the third one is a gift of Poles from Vienna for Józef Piłsudski, the first marshal of Poland, a leader ‘worthy of king Sobieski’.
For Poles that important episode in history has always had significance – it brought fame to the Polish weapon, and thanks to the victory at Vienna it was possible to stop the expansion of Islam in Europe. The Caesar Leopold I Habsburg, who asked king of Poland for help in the battle with Turkish armies, as the armies of the Habsburgs and the German Reich could not face them, after the triumph of King Sobieski, he assured that ‘memory of this great event in Vienna will be commemorated for ever’. However, it did not happen so and not earlier than on the 330th anniversary of the battle in Kahlenberg a cornerstone was built in the foundations of the monument of Jan III Sobieski. It was possible thanks to efforts of the Committee of Building the Monument, on whose helm there is Piotr Zapart from Kurkowski Brotherhood in Cracow, and many donors. The author of the monument is a known sculptor prof. Czesław Dźiwgaj from the Fine Art Academy in Cracow. It presents the king Sobieski on a horse at the helm of hussars. The artist made a clay model of a monument in the scale 1:1 – it is 7 m long and 3 m high. On 30 June a delegation of the town authorities of Vienna visited the sculptor’s workshop and expressed its enthusiastic attitude to the monument project.
In the recent time a granite plinth was mounted and its surrounding was lined with stone paving. Temporarily a big photo of the sculpture was placed on the fundament. On the occasion of beginning the second phase of building the monument on 14 November 2015 on Kahlenberg a solemn thanksgiving Holy Mass was celebrated. It was presided over by prelate priest Dariusz Raś, a parish priest of Mariacki church in Cracow, in which king Sobieski had prayed before marching out. The Eucharist was concelebrated by Fr. Leon Pokorski OFM – a chaplain of the Committee of the Monument Building, Fr. Roman Krekora – a rector of the church of St. Joseph in Vienna and Fr. Wojciech Kucza – a rector of the church at Hetzendorf palace, and it was attended by representatives of Kurkow Brotherhood, sponsors and prof. Dźwigaj.
Fr. Krekora reminded that there is not such a moment like this one yet, and ‘we, Poles, are building this monument in order to emphasize our national and historical identity in this way’.
Whereas Fr. Raś accentuated the role of hosts of the place, priests the Resurrectionists – thanks to their engagement it is possible realize building the monument. He thanked the Committee of Building the Monument of Jan III Sobieski, and particularly to donors. He also emphasized that the monument is to serve to an important idea – showing the historical truth. At the end, referring to the terroristic assassinations on 13 November 2015 in Paris, Fr. Raś called for a prayer for peace in the world and in Europe.