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SZCZEPANOW - BIRTHPLACE OF THE SAINT  

SZCZEPANOW - BIRTHPLACE OF THE SAINT

The Spirit of Saint Stanislas
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The history of Szczepanow is strictly associated with the cult of St. Stanislav.
The village is located on the Carpathian plateau, on sandy soils, which in the past was surrounded by forests. The name of the village Szczepanow is derived from the name Szczepan who was the owner of these lands, also from the name Stefan (popular polish name). Others derive Szczepanow from the word "szczapa" that is pine wood saturated by resin. This village is associated with the legend of St. Stanislav Szczepanowski, bishop of Krakow who was born here in the year 1030. In the place where the later bishop was to be born there is a chapel in which relic is kept - an oak trunk - under which St. Stanislav was to be born.

According to the tradition his mother Bogna delivered him under this tree, as she was coming back from the field. Later she washed him in the water from the spring. Today there is a well in place of the spring, with the water which is supposed to be miraculous.
According to some historians the first church was erected by Stainislav's parents as a votum to God for the child's birth in the extreme old age. Others (like W. Sawicki) think that the church was funded by the bishop Stanislav himself. The Cracow canon, polish priest Jan Dlugosz in 1470 built a brick church in place of the crumbling wooden church and surrounded him bay walls.

Above the main entrance to the church is inserted coat of arms of Dlugosz (Wieniawa).
This is a gothic church, which before 1914 was covered by shingle, was destroyed in the time of the first world war and rebuilt in 1920-1921 under the invocation of St. Magdalena. The church has one aisle, a narrow presbytery closed on three sides. Near the aisle there is a small chapel (before it was a vestibule) in which one of the walls there is a board embedded with the heraldic arms of Prusy, Wieniawa, Debno and Leliwa.
The presbytery has a ribbed-groined vault that was constructed in 1921, underneath it there are stone cantilevers shaped like shields with heraldic arms of Wienawa. In the aisle is a caisson ceiling. In the southern part is a visible entrance to the unpreserved choir. Outside is Ogrojec (dated 1883) with visible excavations of gothic paintings.

At the beginning of the 20th century parish priest W. Kosecki commenced the construction of a new neogothic church with two aisles made from brick and stone. After the destruction of the northern wall of Dlugoszowski church this represents a whole sacral harmonic structure. Looking from the front a five floor tall spire rises toward the sky. The ceiling is ribbed-groined. A stone portal (17th century) is near the entrance to the vestry, it was taken from the old church (coat of arms of Ostaoja and Debno). On the outside there are visible buttresses arcade framings and rich detail of neogothic and eclectic architecture. The church was consecrated on 26th may 1930 by bishop Komar. During 1959-1961 was painted by M. Makarewicz

The main altar was constructed according to the design of Sas Zubrzycki who also designed the church based on the triptych. In the main part there is a painting of St. Stanislav, close to the statue of Saints Peter and Paul, on the sides scenes from his life, above the main painting piast's eagle. In the base of altar mense, four scenes from the Bible (theme: gifts sacrificed to God). Neogothic pulpit (dated 1920) with four bas-reliefs of the Evangelists (designer Sas-Zubrzycki).

Altars: main (late baroque dated 18th century) taken from a parish church in Bochnia. The second alter- The heart of Jesus Christ is dated 1923, neobaroc. In the Dlugoszowski church the main alter in the shape of painted triptych is dated 15th century. In the center Virgin Mary with the child, St Stanislav with Mary Magdalene on the sides scenes from the Bible and the life of the saints (Mikolaj with daughters). The gothic font (from 1534) moulded in bronze was incorporated to the baptismal alter in 1970. Stals, benches and confessionals are dated 1920-1930. Feretrums are dated 17-19th century, on the walls of both churches there are several epitathies. In the fencing looking from the southern side there are remains of the Dlugosz wall which were raised in 18th and 20th century. In the wall there is a forged gate, on the sides stone sculptures of St Stanislav and St Adalbert. The remaining fencing was built in the years 1955-1960 according to the design of B Kulka with four chapels which were constructed thanks to priest W Mendrala.

In the cemetery the St Stanislav's church was built in place of the residence of the bishop's family. In the same place where the first wooden church was build around the middle of the 13th century there was a second brick church constructed. The board in the front of the church has the following inscription " This chapel was built from wood in 1601 in the same place where St Stanislav Szczepanowski has seen daylight where due to the old age it turned to decline. Stanislav Lubomirski the prince of the roman empire the great marshall of polish kingdom and the lord of Szczepanow to keep such great remembrance of the bishop martyr built the church from the base in 1781. This is a classicist structure made from crick, plastered with one aisle and vestry and the gallery (organs from 18th century). It was consecrated by bishop Zinger in 1824.

The chapel has three bricked alters: main St Stanislav (16th century) and two on the sides with scenes from his life. The free standing pulpit is dated 1879. In the vestry there can be seen paintings: St Stanislav-reviver of Piotrowin. Close to the church there is a stone mission cross from 1879 and the epitaphs of the family of the parish priest Kosecki. The chapel of the birth of St Stanislav is on the other side of the road. In the beginning it was wooden (1596) later due to the efforts of priest Bobka since 1861 it is bricked the 19th century altar presents the scene of the birth of saint it is decorated by wooden framing with a vegetation theme.

Behind the altar is a framed tree trunk (oak) under which as tradition recalls St Stanislav was born (Bogna who was coming back from the field has delivered him under that tree, washed him in water - today in this place there is a well with water which is supposed to be miraculous)

On the western side there can be seen a stone obelisk with the figure of St Stanislav (from 18th century) it is a votum of the Sczepanow parish for the protection from the hail storm.

In the center of the main square in Szczepanow we can see an 900 year old lime tree, inside it is totally decayed but every year its green. Some people say that when Stanislav was a small boy he was to plant this tree with the roots upside down. Nearby the road we can see a statue dedicated to St Ziomek which was exhibited for remembrance of priest Stanislav Stojakowski " a rebel of people's laws" On the premises of the parish we can find many statues associated with the live cult of the saint. One of the signs of deep faith is a weekly church fair attended by thousands of pilgrims in may each year. A large number of ministries of priests and monks give proof to the worship. Szczepanow is considered a Saint's sanctuary on polish grounds.


                 

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1978 rok - ks. kardynał Karol Wojtyła w Szczepanowie

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2003 rok - ks. kardynał Jozef Ratzinger w Szczepanowie 

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