Bazylika Grobu Bożego Miechów
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Miechów
It all started in the 12th century, when the owner of Miechów, Jaksa from the Gryfit family, travelled to Jerusalem. He brought back friars with him – Guardians of the Holy Sepulchre. Jaksa founded a church and a monastery for the friars and gave them Miechów as well as two neighbouring towns. The task of the order in Jerusalem was to look after the Holy Sepulchre and the pilgrims who came to visit it. It is thanks to the Guardians that Poland has a copy of Jesus’ Tomb from Jerusalem. When Jerusalem was conquered by Saladin's army in 1187 and the Christians were driven out of the Holy Land, the Holy Sepulchre was inaccessible to pilgrims. Miechów then became a destination for pilgrims from all over Europe. If you look closely at the guests who have been here, you will find that kings Władysław Łokietek and Władysław Jagiełło were among them, as well as Queen Jadwiga, later named a saint, and many other great figures. The grave, which is currently in Miechów, is a copy from 1530 as it had to be rebuilt after the monastery fire in 1506. In Miechów, we can see a fragment of the rock in which the Tomb of Christ was carved. It is framed with a crown of thorns cast in bronze and built into the wall of the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre. Today, the sanctuary in Miechów is looked after by diocesan priests. However, in 1846 the Knightly Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a secular order, was established there. Although there are many establishments of this order all over the world, it has its headquarters in Miechów.