St. Andrew’s church


St. Andrew’s church

Walk around St. Andrew’s church and stop at the entrance. Meanwhile, listen to the recording. St. Andrew’s church in Lipnica is over 650 years old. It was erected by a decree of King Casimir III the Great in 1363. The 14th century was a period of intense development for Lipnica Murowana. Therefore, the church of St. Leonard was not spacious enough to accommodate the needs of the thriving local community and a bigger, masonry one was built. Despite numerous fires and damages, the church retained its gothic shape. Its walls made of sandstone are whitewashed on the outside. You can see it for yourself taking a look at the outer buttresses, called szkarpy, that support the whole structure.
The wall reaches 210 cm at its widest. The roof was shingled, and is now covered with tiles. It is finished with a ridge turret and a clock tower with a campanile. During the II World Was, the original bells were taken by the occupants. The local community founded two small bells just several years after the war was over. The currently largest one was presented by the President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, in March 2010 and is named “Maria”. The contemporary appearance of the church is the result of multiple actions concerning its reconstruction. It is also a symbol of the constant efforts of subsequent generations of the citizens of Lipnica, their generosity and hard work for the local community and its temple.
Enter the vestibule. Take a look at the baptismal font, which currently serves as a vessel for holy water. It was made in the 14th century and was part of the equipment of the old church. This is the font in which St. Szymon was baptised. Touch the rough stone, observe its decorations and ponder about the stories of people who joined the Catholic Church in this parish church in Lipnica.

From the vestibule, move to the main part of the temple. Upon entering turn your head upwards and examine the polychromes painted in the years 1893—1896 by Aleksander Miklasiński. In the main nave, there are scenes depicting the Ascension of Christ. Note the lancet shape of the rood beam separating the nave from the chancel and the shapes of the windows in the chancel: this is what remained from the previous gothic temple, which burnt. In the rood beam, there is a cross from the 17th century. Come closer and take a look at the vault in the chancel. Here you can observe a depiction of the Assumption of Mary, also referred to as the Mother of Mercy. Now move your sight a bit down to the main altar. It was made in 1887 in the neo-baroque style. The central painting presents the martyrdom of St. Andrew. Above the painting, there is a relief of St. Michael the Archangel. Look to the right and to the left from the altar. You will see the figures of the following saints: Peter, Paul, Adalbert and Stanisław.

Take a few steps to the left and observe the pulpit. This neo-baroque element and the main altar probably come from the same period. It features the images of the four Evangelists and the patron of the church. Move a few steps backward.

You now stand in front of an eclectic side altar dedicated to St. Joseph with the Child. The upper part of the alter houses a painting of St. Szymon of Lipnica.
Move left to the so-called “potters’” chapel. You can now admire a neo-baroque altar dedicated to Holy Mary, made in 1896. Formerly, a figure of Mary Immaculate was here, but after the beatification of John Paul II both the chapel and the altar were dedicated to him, as he was significantly connected to the Lipnica region and repeatedly visited this temple while still a cardinal, which is commemorated on a plaque embedded in the outer wall of the church.

Now, go across the nave to the side altar on the right side of the church. It is dedicated to the Heart of Jesus and features a painting representing Bl. Karolina Kózkówna. The altar was founded in 1895 by Jan Pisz of Podgórze near Kraków. Take a few steps to the right.

You can see a wooden baroque altar dedicated to Jesus Crucified, which is the oldest and most valuable altar in this temple. The precise date of its origin is undetermined, but we know that it existed in the 18th century.

Walk along the nave toward the exit, turn left at the matroneum and go to the side chapel separated with a grating. Enter it. You can now see one of the most precious treasures of sacral art in the Małopolska Region.

It is the figure of the Beautiful Madonna and Child from 1370, a gift from King Casimir III the Great for the parish in Lipnica. Art historians call it the predecessor of all other Madonnas1 in the Małopolska Region because it is much older than the majority of medieval representation of the Mother of God preserved in the region. It is older even than the famous Madonna of Krużlowa kept in the collection of the National Museum in Cracow. The sculpture is placed in a shuttered recess in the rococo altar made in 1866. When the shutter is down, one can admire the likeness of the Holy Family with St. Anne and St. Joachim.

Two characters stand at both sides of Mary: St. Hyacinth and St. Dominic. Since 2011, a Rosary Procession of Light is held in Lipnica, during which a copy of the figure you are looking at is carried through the streets. The parishioners pray for their needs and a recoronation of Mary’s sculpture in Lipnica. On the opposite side of the altar stands a figure representing the Dormition of Holy Mary, probably one of the oldest elements in the church’s equipment, dated back to the second half of the 14th century.


1. In our gloomy daily life, your figure shines like a crystal.
Mary, you are the beam of light in our lives on the days of uncertainty.
Chorus: Oh, our Mother, the Lady of Lipnica,
Who resides in this altar.
We are your servants, lead us,
And support us in hard moments. (…)
3. Oh Mother, give us your goodnight blessing, it is time to leave your chapel.
The week will soon be gone and we will venerate you again all together with our songs.
Chorus: Oh, our Mother, the Lady of Lipnica,
Lead us home.
And for those who cannot be with their families
Shorten the time of separation.

/Words: Krystyna Michalska; music: author unknown/

Before you leave the church, you can sit on a bench under the matroneum and read the text about the Beautiful Madonna of Lipnica. If you look above, you will see a pipe organ from 1851 made by Stanisław Baranowski of Stary Sącz. In 1991, its condition was so bad, that its use was ceased and it was decided that it is not fit for further repairs. 
Fortunately, the opinion of experts changed in 2007 and in the years 2009—2011 the organ was thoroughly renovated, so today it can play songs to the glory of the Lord and the local saints again. Now, leave the church.
1. God has chosen you, who come from the land of Lipnica:
You, our countryman, Szymon, Teresa, and Urszula.
To make you the spokespersons in heaven
Of our needs, both in the times of happiness and sorrow.

2. Let this land that fed you
Have a powerful representation before God.
So that it will always be loyal to Christ,
And keep the heritage of its grandparents.

3. Always guard the city, Szymon,
Protect the faith, Blessed Teresa,
Mother Urszula, you know the sorrows of this land,
Put in a word for us at the throne of God.

4. Oh, the Land of Saints, how happy you are!
God looks upon you with such love.

May the stream of grace always fall upon us,
Support us in heaven, you the Saints of Lipnica.

/Words: sister Pawła Świerkosz, SJK; music: author unknown/

Audiodescription – St. Andrew’s church