Dear readers, you may, or more likely may not, have noticed that I have been AWOL for a little while. Well, that is because the past few weeks I was gallivanting around Europe attending a wedding, recovering from a wedding, and trying to determine the blood-alcohol content of the average Polish wedding guest. (Answer: not enough. More vodka!)
The wedding, at the Benedictine Abbey in Tyniec near Krakow, was beautiful. Definitely the loveliest ceremony I have attended that I could not understand a word of. Well, I got the names of the bride and groom, and Christ was in there, although I’m pretty sure it was spelled “Krwyzctzyc.” But besides the joy of being present for two good friends signing a lifetime contract of love and devotion, I got to see this amazing church.
There is a lot of gold in there. We’ll start with this pulpit, which I sat behind and could not help but gaze upon.
The official explanation is that it is in the shape of a ship, on which Jesus preached. Personally, my first thought was that it looked like a fancy Victorian ship-shaped bed with tassels and light-blocking curtains. It turns out that the curtains are a net to catch these terrifying fishes.
Also featured but not showing up very well in this photo: a series of golden tentacles emerging from the rock(?) on top of the boat.
I might observe that the church website explains, “The composition of the pulpit is crowned with a building symbolising the Church with a figure of whorshipped Christ at the top.” So I guess “whorshipping” goes along with the blingy golden ship-bed of Christ?
Moving on to the altar center stage.
Plenty more gold, but we’ll take a look at the painting in the middle…
Peter and Paul, the patrons of the church, look up in awe at the divine world. Although frankly even without the holy Trinity up there, there is something unnerving about those angels.
Also, while Peter is usually depicted as pretty svelte, here he looks a bit like Santa Claus in his nightgown.
The last striking thing was this angel wielding an upside-down cross.
This is probably symbolizing Peter again, who was crucified upside-down. However, the way that angel is holding it is less like he’s supporting a noble symbol, and more like he’s going to fling it down and impale some unsuspecting people below.
In conclusion, congratulations and best wishes to G&K, and Polish churches are awesome! I now know where to go in case of a global financial meltdown when gold becomes the only acceptable currency.