Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easter Triduum Polish style

My friend Father Piotr Kaczmarek sent me some pictures from St Joseph's parish in Ursus, Warsaw.

After the Holy Thursday Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is taken to a special place (there is normally a tabernacle also - we would refer to it as an Altar of Repose):

After the Good Friday liturgy the Blessed Sacrament is taken to the Sepulchre and set alongside the image of the dead Christ with special decorations

Adoration continues until midnight:

Confessions are heard until the last person has made his/her confession (this year until 11:35 p.m.) Adoration continues all day Saturday.

I was quite surprised when I heard about this custom but Fr Piotr assures me that the exposition/adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in this way is not forbidden in Poland. On the contrary it is a very well-known and widespread custom. People are praying waiting for the Resurection and contemplating the Passion of Our Lord.

On Saturday at 20:00 the Easter Vigil commences:

On Easter Sunday morning there was a special Resurrexit procession. The Cardinal Archbishop of Warsaw participated.

After the Triduum they replaced the sepulchre with a replica of Pope John Paul's coffin in anticipation of his forthcoming beatification.

It's always fascinating to appreciate different traditions.

Before the Protestant Reformation in England there used always to be an Easter Sepulchre built into the side of the churches and a Sacred Host was buried there after the Good Friday liturgy until the Easter Vigil. Here's a typical example from St Owswald's Church in Ashbourne, Derbyshire:


  1. This is one of the ways in which, in Poland, and probably other places, customs have endured from before the 1955 reforms of Holy Week. The ending of adoration at midnight on Good Friday is really an innovation. Of course, before 1951, the Easter Vigil was in the morning: hence the Swiecone in the late morning, just before lunchtime when the Vigil was over.

  2. Michael Boyle05 May, 2011 07:13

    interesting Always amazed to find exposition in the Polish church (Balham) on Holy Saturday when all Poles go to the church to have a basket of food blessed. In England isn't it the case the there is no Blessed Sacrament for Adoration on Saturday? With regards to taking a basket of food blessed at the church, it is such a simple tradition but it generates such excitement and people who do not attend church regularly will go along with their food basket. My kids absolutley love it: painting the hard-boiled eggs, some salt, a liitle bread, sausage in a nicely decorated basket. My wife is Polish.


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