From the sacristy treasures of Saint Mary Major, the tintinnabulum (bell) that is a mark of its status as a basilica. In the center is a version of the icon Salus Populi Romani which is venerated in the basilica.
Historically, the city of Kraków could be seen from the tallest of the two towers of the St. Mary’s Basilica. In a little room at the top of the tower a watchman stood guard over the city protecting it from danger. If an emergency arose, he would blow his trumpet alerting the people. In the 13th century, the brutal Tartars invaded the land, burning farms, plundering and killing. One night on his watch, when most of the towns people were in church, the watchman noticed a group of Tartars approaching the city intending to attack. He immediately blew a loud, clearwarning on his trumpet. The townspeople responded to the alert. The Tartars shot arrows at the tower but the watchman continued to sound the trumpet until he was struck in the throat by an arrow. The enemy was forced out by the people, and the city was saved, but the trumpeter died from his wound. Since that time, a trumpeter plays a little hymn called, “The Hejnal” every hour repeating it four times - once in each direction of the compass: north,south, east, and west. The song always (and still) ends suddenly on a high note in honor of the trumpeter who gave his life for his people and his city.
Stained glass windows at St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix, Arizona. The windows were commissioned between 1913 and 1914 from the Emil Frei Art Glass Company in St. Louis, Missouri, though they may have been manufactured in Germany.
Depicted here are Ss. Henry, Margaret of Cortona, Clare, Roche, Anthony, Francis, Elizabeth of Hungary, and Agnes. Please click any photo for enlarged views.