{ Kościół Chrystusa Zbawiciela

Protestant Heritage

Although today Poland is associated with a strong Catholic Church Krakow was not always religiously homogeneous. In 1528 the church of St. Stephen was situated in the South-Western part of Szczepanski Square. He was a master and lecturer at the Academy of Cracow and the local preacher Jacob of lłża preached in the spirit of the Reformation. For his views Jacob had to stand before the bishop's trial and was removed from his position. These were difficult times for reformation in Krakow, because of a ban on the dissemination of Lutheran writings published in 1520 by Sigismund I the Old. Only after his death did the suppressed live stream of the Reformation begin to develop in Krakow.

Poland, as many other countries of Western Christianity, was embraced by the Reformation, because the Polish Church law and morality turned out to be no longer acceptable. Many sincere and zealous Christians who practised Protestant models of preaching, liturgy and church-governing, became ready for the expression of the long-awaited renewal. In view of giving the Scripture the role of chief authority in matters of faith, the reformation movement was seen as a return to the roots of the original New Testament model of life and the Christian faith.

During the reign of King Sigismund Augustus, Polish Reformation was at the peak of its power. At that time, according to Brückner[1], a number of evangelical congregations in Poland developed as follows: in Malopolska - 250, Wielkopolska - 120 Polish and 110 German, in Lithuania – 208.  Total: 686, including 110 German ones. John Calvin, dedicating the commentary to the Polish king on the Epistle to the Hebrews, wrote in the preface: "There are many signs that allow you to have almost certain hope that in fact you are like Hezekiah and Josiah, destined by God to quickly restore the pure teaching of this Gospel in the Polish kingdom, which has suffered violence by the influence of Satan and human treachery ".

Very significant is the fact that creators and supporters of the reformation movement were educated and the noblest representatives of Polish society. All these factors gave the Protestant churches an extraordinary impetus to the development and the attraction of those who wanted to be in a "real" church. In 1553 thanks to the generous support of the Lithuanian protector of Calvinism Nicholas Radziwill, the Brest Bible was published - a full translation of the Scriptures into Polish.

Poland’s independence from Rome was quickly followed by a profound reform to calvinism demands. However, it was clear that these initial achievements of the Reformation, the survival and spreading of reform, needed one essential factor - the support of the king. In countries where Reformation received such support, Protestant churches took a dominant position in the society and country. Where this support was missing, the Reformation movement there first went on the defensive, and then marginalised itself later.

The things that happened in the city on the Vistula river quickly stood out across the country, gaining adequate validity. As the cases of overt attacks on churches demonstrated, Catholics proved to be the winners. However, they did not win by the argument, or the Christian attitude, but by brutal physical violence.

Representing the Reformed movement, Christ the Saviour Church accedes to upkeep the Krakow Protestant tradition that prevailed under Wawel nearly 500 years ago. Our congregation is about to launch several projects to revive the ancient sacred music, forgotten songs, hymnals, and other liturgical elements. We also intend to explore and promote the history of Protestantism in the city of Polish kings.


[1] A. Brückner, Dzieje Kultury Polskiej, t. 2: Polska u szczytu potęgi, Kraków 21931, s. 31.