Coronations in Poland

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Coronation of John II Casimir Vasa
Sigismund III of Poland as rex sacerdos in coronation robe, (depicted as Saint Stephen I of Hungary)

Coronations in Poland officially began in 1025 and continued until 1764, when the final king of an independent Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski, was crowned at St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw. Most Polish coronations took place at the Wawel Cathedral in Kraków, but crownings also occurred in Poznań and at Gniezno Cathedral. Whenever practical, Polish coronations were conducted as close as possible as to the date of the previous sovereign's funeral. This was explained by Joachim Bielski in the sixteenth century as osoba umiera, korona nie umiera, or "the person dies, the crown dies not".[1] With the emergence of an independent, republican Poland after World War I, coronations in the Polish state have been rendered obsolete.

Though many of the Polish Crown Jewels were stolen and destroyed by King Frederick William III of Prussia in March 1809 after the Third Partition of Poland, remaining pieces are exhibited at the National Museum in Warsaw.[2][3]

The ceremony[edit]

During the period when coronations were held in Kraków, the following order was observed: on the eve of his coronation, the new monarch fasted, gave alms, and partook of the Catholic sacrament of confession. He then walked on foot from the royal Wawel Castle to the Basilica of St. Stanisław, patron saint of Poland. Unlike the remainder of the service, the royal procession was opened to the Polish masses. On the morning of the ceremony, the king was met in his bedchamber by a procession consisting of the local Metropolitan Archbishop and other notables. Wearing Episcopal clothing, the monarch was blessed with holy water and incensed. Following this, king, metropolitan and the others made their way in procession to the cathedral.[4]

Inside the church, the Polish regalia were laid on the high altar, while the king was seated on a low chair nearby. The royal oath was administered, and the new monarch then knelt before the altar. Two mitred abbots next entered from a side chapel, carrying a mixture of holy oils, with which the ruler was then anointed. Following this, the king was handed a sword, which he used to trace a cross in the air. Next he was crowned by the Archbishop, assisted by two other bishops, following which he received his orb and scepter. The high mass continued, with the newly crowned sovereign receiving Holy Communion, then kissing a crucifix and mounting his throne. Following this, the king created several new knights, then attended a coronation feast and rode into the public square on horseback, where he received the homage of his subjects while seated in a large chair.[4]

List of Polish coronations[edit]

* King or queen
Polish name
Date Site Presiding cleric Crown used
K Boleslaus I the Brave
Bolesław I Chrobry
1000 Gniezno Cathedral Emperor Otto III of the Holy Roman Empire Emperor Otto III's personal diadem
K Boleslaus I the Brave
Bolesław I Chrobry
18 April 1025 Gniezno Cathedral Hipolit, Archbishop of Gniezno Original Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
K Mieszko II Lambert 25 December 1025 Gniezno Cathedral Hipolit, Archbishop of Gniezno Original Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
Q Richeza of Lotharingia
Rycheza Lotaryńska
25 December 1025 Gniezno Cathedral Hipolit, Archbishop of Gniezno Richeza's Crown
K Boleslaus II the Bold
Bolesław II Śmiały
25 December 1076 Gniezno Cathedral Bogumił, Archbishop of Gniezno Boleslaus the Bold's Crown
K Premislaus
Przemysł
26 June 1295 Gniezno Cathedral Jakub Świnka, Archbishop of Gniezno Boleslaus the Bold's Crown
Q Margaret of Brandenburg
Małgorzata Brandenburska
26 June 1295 Gniezno Cathedral Jakub Świnka, Archbishop of Gniezno Margaret of Brandenburg's Crown
K Wenceslaus
Wacław Czeski
August 1300 Gniezno Cathedral Jakub Świnka, Archbishop of Gniezno Boleslaus the Bold's Crown
Q Elisabeth Richeza of Poland
Ryksa Elżbieta
26 May 1303 Prague Cathedral Henryk of Wierzbno, Bishop of Wrocław Margaret of Brandenburg's Crown
K Ladislaus I the Short
Władysław I Łokietek
20 January 1320 Kraków Cathedral Janisław, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
Q Hedwig of Kalisz
Jadwiga Kaliska
20 January 1320 Kraków Cathedral Janisław, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
K Casimir III the Great
Kazimierz III Wielki
25 April 1333 Kraków Cathedral Janisław, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
Q Aldona of Lithuania 25 April 1333 Kraków Cathedral Janisław, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
Q Adelaide of Hesse
Adelajda Heska
29 September 1341 Poznań Cathedral Janisław, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
K Louis the Great
Ludwik Węgierski
10 November 1370 Kraków Cathedral Jarosław of Bogoria, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
K Hedwig
Jadwiga Andegaweńska
15 October 1384 Kraków Cathedral Bodzanta, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Angevin's Crown
K Ladislaus II
Władysław II Jagiełło
4 March 1386 Kraków Cathedral Bodzanta, Archbishop of Gniezno Ladislaus II's Crown
Q Anna of Celje
Anna Cylejska
25 February 1403 Kraków Cathedral Mikołaj Kurowski, Archbishop of Gniezno Anna of Celje's Crown
Q Elizabeth Granowska
Elżbieta Granowska
19 November 1417 Kraków Cathedral Jan Rzeszowski, Archbishop of Lviv Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
Q Sophia of Halshany
Zofia Holszańska
12 February 1424 Kraków Cathedral Wojciech Jastrzębiec, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
K Ladislaus III
Władysław III
25 July 1434 Kraków Cathedral Wojciech Jastrzębiec, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
K Casimir IV
Kazimierz IV
25 June 1447 Kraków Cathedral Wincenty Kot, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
Q Elizabeth of Austria
Elżbieta Rakuszanka
10 February 1454 Kraków Cathedral Jan Sprowski, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
K John I Albert
Jan I Olbracht
23 September 1492 Kraków Cathedral Zbigniew Oleśnicki, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
K Alexander
Aleksander
12 December 1501 Kraków Cathedral Fryderyk Jagiellończyk, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
K Sigismund I
Zygmunt I
24 January 1507 Kraków Cathedral Andrzej Boryszewski, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
Q Barbara Zápolya 8 February 1512 Kraków Cathedral Jan Łaski, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
Q Bona Sforza 18 March 1518 Kraków Cathedral Jan Łaski, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
K Sigismund II Augustus
Zygmunt II August
20 February 1530 Kraków Cathedral Jan Łaski, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
Q Elizabeth of Austria
Elżbieta Habsubrżanka
8 May 1543 Kraków Cathedral Piotr Gamrat, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
Q Barbara Radziwiłłówna 4 December 1550 Kraków Cathedral Mikołaj Dzierzgowski, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
Q Catherine of Austria
Katarzyna Habsburżanka
30 June 1553 Kraków Cathedral Mikołaj Dzierzgowski, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
K Henry
Henryk Walezy
21 February 1574 Kraków Cathedral Jakub Uchański, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
K Anna
Anna Jagiellonka
1 May 1576 Kraków Cathedral Stanisław Karnkowski, Bishop of Kuyavia Anna Jagiellonka's Crown
K Stephen
Stefan Batory
1 May 1576 Kraków Cathedral Stanisław Karnkowski, Bishop of Kuyavia So-called Hungarian Crown
K Sigismund III
Zygmunt III Waza
27 December 1587 Kraków Cathedral Stanisław Karnkowski, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
Q Anna of Austria
Anna Austriaczka
31 May 1592 Kraków Cathedral Stanisław Karnkowski, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
Q Constance of Austria
Konstancja Austriaczka
11 December 1605 Kraków Cathedral Piotr Tylicki, Bishop of Kuyavia Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
K Ladislaus IV
Władysław IV
6 February 1633 Kraków Cathedral Jan Wężyk, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
Q Cecilia Renata
Cecylia Renata
13 September 1637 St. John's Church in Warsaw Jan Wężyk, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
Q Marie Louise Gonzaga
Ludwika Maria Gonzaga
15 July 1646 Kraków Cathedral Maciej Łubieński, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
K John II Casimir
Jan II Kazimierz
17 January 1649 Kraków Cathedral Maciej Łubieński, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
K Michael
Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki
29 September 1669 Kraków Cathedral Mikołaj Prażmowski, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
Q Eleonora Maria Josefa
Eleonora Habsburżanka
29 September 1670 St. John's Church in Warsaw Mikołaj Prażmowski, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
K John III
Jan III Sobieski
2 February 1676 Kraków Cathedral Andrzej Olszowski, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
Q Marie Casimire d'Arquien
Maria Kazimiera
2 February 1676 Kraków Cathedral Andrzej Olszowski, Archbishop of Gniezno Hedwig of Kalisz's Crown
K Augustus II the Strong
August II Mocny
15 September 1697 Kraków Cathedral Stanisław Dąbski, Bishop of Kuyavia So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
K Stanislaus I
Stanisław Leszczyński
4 October 1705 St. John's Church in Warsaw Konstanty Zieliński, Archbishop of Lviv Stanislaus I's Crown
Q Katarzyna Opalińska 4 October 1705 St. John's Church in Warsaw Konstanty Zieliński, Archbishop of Lviv Katarzyna Opalińska's Crown
K Augustus III
August III Sas
17 January 1734 Kraków Cathedral Jan Aleksander Lipski, Bishop of Kraków Augustus III's Crown
Q Maria Josepha of Austria
Maria Józefa Austriaczka
17 January 1734 Kraków Cathedral Jan Aleksander Lipski, Bishop of Kraków Maria Josepha's Crown
K Stanislaus II Augustus
Stanisław August Poniatowski
25 November 1764 St. John's Church in Warsaw Władysław Łubieński, Archbishop of Gniezno So-called Boleslaus the Brave's Crown
K Nicholas I
Mikołaj I Romanow
24 May 1829 Royal Castle in Warsaw The king crowned himself, assisted by Jan Paweł Woronicz, Archbishop of Warsaw Empress Anna Ivanovna's Crown

* "K" indicates a king or queen regnant; "Q" indicates a queen consort.

Pretenders and royal consorts not crowned[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • (Polish) Michał Rożek, Polskie koronacje i korony, Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, Kraków 1987

References[edit]

  1. ^ M. Bielski, Kronika polska, 1st ed. (1597, reprinted Sanok, 1856), 3:1207.
  2. ^ Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska. "POLAND'S CROWNS". www.angelfire.com (in Polish). Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  3. ^ "Crown Treasury and Armoury". www.wawel.krakow.pl. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  4. ^ a b Gieysztor, Aleksander (1990). "Gesture in the Coronation Ceremonies of Medieval Poland". In Bak, János M. Coronations: Medieval and Early Modern Monarchic Ritual. Berkeley: University of California Press. Retrieved 2008-09-25. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]