Liturgie anlässlich der Staats- und Nationalfeierlichkeiten in Polen. Geschichte, Probleme und Herausforderungen

The Liturgy celebrated in Poland as a part of patriotic and national feasts. History, problems and challenges

Treść artykułu: Pobierz | Czytaj

Strona: 129 - 142

Publikacja w numerze: 38 (2018) nr 2

Autor: Erwin Mateja


The history of Poland since its Baptism in 966 A.D. shows how certain social events were combined with liturgical celebrations. This paper aims to show not only the history of this phenomenon but also some related problems. The combination of some religious motifs with the national celebrations used to be related to both internal and/or external threats. One example is the case of the so-called “Lwów Oath” of King John Casimir, who on April 1st, 1656, with a solemn religious and state act, consecrated the Republic to the protection of the Mother of God and whom he proclaimed as the Patron and Queen of the Kingdom of Poland and of all its people. This fact contributed decisively to the fact that Jasna Góra became a national sanctuary in which Polish people had the chance to define their identity, especially during the period of the Partition of Poland. This process, originated in 17th century and led to the formulation of a famous principle: a Pole – a Catholic. During the interwar period this stereotype supported the attempts to unite Catholicism with nationalism, and after the Second World War it gained an anti-communist character. An interesting phenomenon became the so-called “Masses for Homeland” celebrated by Blessed Rev. Jerzy Popiełuszko, the chaplain of “Solidarność”; the liturgies gathered crowds of the faithful. Although Popiełuszko always emphasized the religious dimension of those gatherings, from the social point of view they were, indeed, “prayer-patriotic meetings”. The final part of this study shows how the liturgical celebrations were incorporated into patriotic and national celebrations after 1989. This process grew stronger due to the number of Catholics who are citizens of this country. A certain problem arises here from the dissatisfaction of the people who do not make any links between religious and secular events. A common sense of purpose seems to be indispensable for organizers of such celebrations: they can neither irritate their opponents nor harm the Church. And more, the Liturgy itself cannot be used instrumentally. Another problem to be solved is to bring together the liturgical rules and the norms of the uniformed, which take part in the ceremonies discussed. It seems, however, that with a little goodwill and reason it is possible to overcome these problems for the benefit of those who need these kind of celebrations.