Saint Stanislas Szczepanowski (1030-1079)
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz Sypniewska

Music playing is a 13th century hymn to Saint Stanislaw
Gaude, Mater Polonia
.
This medieval hymn is a fragment of the rhymed
breviary written by Wincenty of Kielce on St.
Stanislas' beautification in 1263.

St Stanislas

This stained glass version of St. Stanislas Szczepanowski is from the Sotheby's Picture Gallery

O God, our father in heaven
to honor you, Saint Stanislas
faced martydom with courage.
Keep us strong and loyal in our
faith until death.

An anonymous prayer.

St Stanislaus (Stanislaw in Polish) Szczepanowski was born June 26, 1030 at Szczepanow in the diocese of Crakow, Poland, of noble parents, who had been childless for thirty (30) years. His birth was an answer to their prayers and he was a child of great joy. His father, Wielislaw, was reputed to be of the Turzyna (Prus I) clan, and his mother, Bogna, of the Nowina clan.

Prus 1.............Nowina

From Polskie Rody Szlacheckie I Ich Herby CD-ROM 1475 Herbow by Wydawnicl~wo Benkowski.

Stanislas studied canon law and theology in Gniezno (in 1030) and possibly Paris, France. Out of humility, he refused the degree of doctor and returned home. On the death of his parents, Stanislas gave away his ample fortune, to the poor, and received the priesthood from the Bishop of Cracow. He was a parish priest in Czembocz. In 1072, he was the Bishop of Cracow and gained a reputation for his charity and his work as a reformer and preacher.

death of St

St. Stanislas staggers back after being stabbed in the Cathedral by the king.
from the Mary Evans Picture Library

After his conflicts with King Boleslaw II of Poland for his pagan ways, Boleslaw is excommunicated by Pope Gregory VIII. Boleslas' anger brings a trial against Stanislas and the royal court finds him guilty of plotting with Poland's German neighbors to overthrow Boleslas II. Stanislas Szczepanowski is sentenced to the loss of his limbs for his crime of traitor, on April 11, 1079. The king's knights can NOT bring themselves to carry out this gruesome sentence. Boleslaw II storms into Cracow's Church of St. Michael, outside the gates of Cracow, where Stanislas is saying mass. Boleslaw II stabs the bishop with his own sword, as the horrified congregation looks on. Stanislas slumps in pain and dies.

Pope Gregory VIII puts all the churches, in Boleslas' realm under an interdict, which closes them all. The interdict is lifted after Boleslaw's fall from power. Stanislas Szczepanowski's body was initially at Skalka church in Cracow, but in 1088 it was transferred to Wawel Cathedral.

Canine Punishment

Canine Punishment

St. Stanislas reproached King Boleslaw for his immoral way of life, since it was his practice to have mothers suckle dogs instead of their children as a punishment for crimes against their husbands. This punishment was mainly for wives of his soldiers who had cheated on their husbands while they were away on campaigns. Boleslaw Smialy ("the Bold") (1039/40-1081) ordered the unfaithful wives to breastfeed young puppies, while children born of their illegitimate liasons were to be fed by bitches.

Boleslaw II, was a prince whose finer qualities were completely eclipsed by his unbridled lust and savage cruelty (Walsh (editor), Michael. Butler's Lives of the Saints (condensed version). San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1991).

St. Stanislas was reputed to have raised Piotowin from the dead, who appeared as a witness before the king over the rightful acquisition of a piece of church land. Stanislas' body was cut up, after his death, over a pond and a fish swallowed his finger. Stanislaw is the national saint of Poland, and patron saint of the archbishops of Cracow. He was canonized, in 1253, by Pope Innocent IV.

*****

RELATED LINK:

The Charitable Order of St. Stanislas ... St. Stanislas, Bishop and Martyr for peace

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