Topics of coins

The Bishop's Palace in Kraków

3 Franciszkańska Street in Kraków has been the address of the Kraków bishops’ palace, the largest of the municipal buildings of the kind, since the end of the 14th century. Reconstructed over the following centuries, in the middle of the 17th century the palace adopted the then fashionable Italian Baroque style, which to this day is visible in the southern façade, flanked by two belvederes in the corners. At the beginning of the 19th century, Bishop Jan Paweł Woronicz established a romantic museum in the palace, which – with its famous historical room exhibiting paintings by Franciszek Smuglewicz and Michał Stachowicz – was devoted to the history of Poland and housed numerous sentimental relics from the Polish homeland’s past. The palace burnt down in July 1850, during the great fire of Kraków, but it was rebuilt with utmost care still in the 19th century.

It was in the chapel of the bishops of Kraków, located in the palace, that Karol Wojtyła, the future Metropolitan Archbishop of Kraków and Pope John Paul II, was ordained as a priest on 1 November 1946. He lived at 3 Franciszkańska Street in 1964–1978. During all his pilgrimages to Poland, the Polish pope would stay at his former home. From the window above the main entrance to the palace, he would then engage in a remarkable dialogue with the faithful gathered in the square in front of the Franciscan Church. The last time he spoke from there was in 2002. The words he said then were: “If anyone asks, 3 Franciszkańska Street”. It was then that the so-called papal window became probably the most famous window of the Christian world. Popes Benedict XVI and Francis, the two successors to John Paul II, also spoke from it. On the 40th anniversary of the election of Cardinal Karol Wojtyła to the Holy See, that is on 16 October 2018, a mosaic by

Magdalena Czeska depicting the Polish pope blessing the faithful was unveiled in the papal window. The reverses of the gold coin and the silver coin feature the image of the façade and main portal of the Bishop’s Palace in Kraków with the coat of arms of John Paul II and his mosaic portrait from the famous papal window. The obverses of the gold coin and the silver coin feature the image of the Bishop’s Palace in Kraków.

Rev. Andrzej Witko