The Sanctuary » Basilica

  • basilica inside
    basilica inside

The interior of the Basilica

Up the granite stairs we reach the arcades supported by 12 quadrangular columns. Three massive double winged doors hold 24 copper bas-reliefs with images of Our Lady from the main Marian sanctuaries around the world. On the right of the door there is a bas-relief depicting John Paul II made to commemorate the Holy Father's visit in the church.

All copper carvings were made by Friar Maurycy Kowalewski, the monastery sculptor.

In the vestibule, separated from the interior by a swing door, there is a plaque on the right hand side commemorating the consecration of the church dedicated to the BVM the Omni-mediatress of All Glories performed by Bishop Wacław Majewski on the 100th anniversary of pronouncing the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM. The bronze plaque on the right reminds the visitors about granting the church with the title of the basilica minor.

The interior of the church is 69m long, the height of the nave - 16m, the joined width of the nave and the aisles - 18m. The marble floor is arranged in black and white geometrical figures while at the tower it creates a composition of concentric, mutually interweaving circles.

When we stand facing the High Altar, we can see the altar of St. Francis of Assisi on the background of an open-work wall separating the nave from the presbytery. The figure of the Founder of the Franciscan Order is placed in a mandorla rim wrought in copper. The side chapel is dedicated to St. Joseph the Betrothed to the BVM and there is his statue with the Infant above the altar. Beside there are figures and groups symbolising farmers' and workers' work offering God the fruit of their work. The chapel is also ornamented by two huge wall paintings made with mosaic method: Jesus the Merciful and The Immaculate Heart of the BVM. On the left there is a mosaic depicting the scene of Prince Mieszko I accepting Christianity. The Latin inscription around says: Mesco dux baptizatur - Polonia simper fidelis - 966-1966 (Prince Mieszko accepts the Baptism - Poland always faithful). Below there is a marble font blessed by Primate of Poland Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński in 1965. Opposite there is a stained glass of Our Lady the Queen of Poland. The ceiling of the chapel is double-layered: suitably arranged and covered light bulbs give light effects which form patterns.

The altar of St. Anthony of Padua - similar in its execution to the altar of St. Francis is in the left aisle. Just next to it there is the Chapel of St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe. The marble wrought statue of the Saint above the altar depicts the offering gesture giving the earth into the possession of the Immaculate. On the left there is a great worshipper of the Mother of God - Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, receiving the Jasna Gora vows from the nation in 1965 and on the right there is Pope Pius XII offering mankind to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1942. The chapel walls ornamented with an artistic screen hold numerous votive offerings for the received glories through the Saint of Niepokalanów. The round mosaic is a

scene recollecting the sermon of the Martyr of Auschwitz in the camp. The stained glass opposite - a painting of the BVM. Both designs are the work of Mieczyslaw Koscielniak, a co-prisoner from Auschwitz.

Over the side chapels from the side of the nave there are two mosaic pictures: the left one depicts the scene of the canonisation of St. Maximilian while the right one the pronouncing the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM. The author of the design was the artist Bogdan Drwal.

The ambo made of Carrara marble with bas-reliefs of the Holy Trinity, the Evangelists and Christ teaching in the boat catch the attention of visitors in the nave. The High Altar lacks reredos as there is the statue of the Immaculate which can be seen in the perspective. The altar holds an artistic metal tabernacle. On the other side there is another altar mensa with a painting of The Queen of Poland by Piotr Stachiewicz.

In the aisles' windows we can see stained glass windows designed by Lukasz Karwowski depicting the BVM in the Mystery of Christ (on the left) and the Church (on the right). 14 Way of the Cross stations created by Friar Maurycy Kowalewski were embedded into the walls.

On the days of great evening celebrations (The Holy Week, The Shepherds' Mass, the Day of the Immaculate Conception of the BVM, the end of the year - especially ceremonious in Nie-pokalanow) the interior of the church is magnificently lit with hundreds of light bulbs placed in the coffers or hidden in the mouldings running around the vaulting.

The basilica possesses organs: there is a sixteen-voice one placed in the presbytery and a forty-one-voice another instrument on the quire, the work of Wlodzimierz Truszczynski.

The church has modern loud speaking and warm-air heating systems. It can hold ca. 5000 people.