Elbląg – St. Nicholas Cathedral

Starting off as a Catholic church, before becoming Lutheran, and then becoming Catholic again, this has been in the centre of the old town since 1247. It was damaged by a fire in the late eighteenth century, but worse was to come during the Second World War when it was nearly entirely destroyed, so much of what is here now has been reconstructed recently.

I find cathedrals can very often be quite confusing to get in, but these side doors are the entrance. As an aside, I used to think it was just me who got confused easily at things like this, that was until watching other people faffing about, which made me feel better……

Pope John Paul II is very important to the Polish people and he visited the cathedral on Sunday 6 June 1999 and the Vatican have a copy of his homily.

This photo doesn’t really show just how dark the cathedral was internally, but it was quite difficult to see because of the lack of lighting. I used my phone’s night mode and have brightened it, which makes things much more visible now than they were to me when I was inside the building. To all intents and purposes, I took this photo in the dark.

The beautiful stained glass.

The destruction of the church in January 1945 could have marked the end for this building, as there was no guarantee of it being reconstructed. The city’s population was much reduced, there were limited funds and so much to rebuild across the country. However, the priests were dedicated to the rebuilding project and work started removing the rubble in 1948. Disaster hit in 1955 when a storm damaged the building again, but by 1965, the reconstruction efforts had been completed.

The aisle of the cathedral and there’s more about the architecture of the building at https://medievalheritage.eu/en/main-page/heritage/poland/elblag-st-nicholas-cathedral/.

The interior is relatively plain and simple, with most of the furnishings having come from other churches.

Ignoring the plastic around parts of it, this is I think a Gothic bronze baptismal font dating back to 1387, very much the pride of the cathedral. There was only one other person in the cathedral when I was there and he praying near to this, so I didn’t go and disturb his private thoughts.

This cathedral has gone very much full circle, back to the Catholic church which it was first constructed as, although the building itself has been wrecked on multiple occasions and little remains of what there once was. It was a determined effort to ensure that the reconstruction took place at all, a credit to the local parish and individuals who were so keen to rebuild.