- lets celebrate

  • 966 - 1066: Let's celebrate in Ostrów Lednicki!


    -Grandfather, why are we going to Ostrów Lednicki? We have to hire a boat to get there!

    - We are going there to thank God for his providence and to celebrate one hundred years of Christianity in Poland. You must know that my father -  your grandfather - was born there. My life also started in Ostrów Lednicki and Poland began there as well! Everything began there...

    Grandfather pondered for a while, he knew that what he was going to say was very important and that his grandson must remember every word well to be able to repeat it to next generations...He looked deeply in his grandson's eyes and continued:

    -Thanks to the baptism of  Mieszko the First, Poland is a country, our language is called Polish language. I'm not exagerating! Many tribes, which didn't accept the baptism became pagan and disappeared. Christian Poland, even in difficult moments, had always something that united it: the faith in Jesus Christ.

    Mieszko didn't know if his people would adopt the baptism. He was definitely openminded and must have had a strong faith to take such a risk. People could rebel and kill  missionaries. Indeed, Prussians killed bishop Adalbert who came to Poland from Czechia.

    Polish people slowly converted, and the whole Catholic Church helped them to develop and modernise the country. The baptism of Mieszko turned out to be a strong country root.

    - What do you mean "modernise"?

    -First  documents appeared in Poland were written in an international language - Latin. Education started: writing, reading as well as dyplomacy and new model of living. People were supposed to stop vorshiping stones, trees, rivers and other created things. They were invited to discover the Creator who gifted them possibility of a new life brought by missionaires. They thaught us about Jesus Christ who said: "Don't be afraid!"

    - And what about my Gradndfather? Who was he?

    -He was a brave man, talented craftman, constructor of bridges and builder. Stone constructions as well as sophisticated bridges weren‘t wery popular in Poland at that time. Mieszko 1st had to bring good specialists from another country. My father was among them.

    - Where did he come from?

    - I don't know for sure, I think from a "warm country" as he was always complaining about the weather in Poland. He  recalled a small nice village situated on a high river cliff. The name of the village was probably Saint Adela or Saint Agatha. One thing is sure: Mieszko paid him very well for his job, and your grandfather had a good life even if he had a lot of hard  work to do.

    - So my Grandfather came to Poland looking for a job?

    - I told you: he was a builder. I don't know why he left his country but here he found a good job and ...your grandmother.

    - I know: her name was Alina and she was living in Biskupin. She was gathering raspberries when my grangfather found her half-alive in a forest and took her to Ostrów.

    - Yes - grandfather smiled - they were living in Ostrów. Your Grandfather built two bridges: one leading to Gniezno and the other one leading to Poznań. It was a challenge to build a  bridge for the Duke Mieszko. He and his team were in a hurry as everything had to be ready for the ceremony of the baptism. In addition, the bridges had to be strong as they had to resist ice floe - "'damn climate!" my grandfather was repeating. 3 000 oaks were cut to build one of the bridges! Can you imagine?

    -Sorry, I can't. I can't caunt yet...

    - You'll learn, I promise. Ok, we're approaching the lake, a boat is already waiting for us.

    -But grandpa, where are the bridges?

    - Unfotunately, in 1038 a Bohemian king Bretislaus invaded Poland and the bridges were burnt. There are still some remains of them under the water.

    - The lake is breathtaking......

    - Yes, it is amazing. Let's discover the island. You will see the baptismal pool...

    - The place where everything began...Why are you crying, grandpa?

    - I'm happy.

    - Tell me again about my Grandmother Alina, you told me another day that you didn't like her sister - aunt Balladyna, why?

    - It's true, I didn't, but it's a long story, not for today. Today we're going to celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ is our way, our truth and our life even when bridges are broken or burnt.

     Let's hope Poland will be faithful to the heritage brought by christianism!


                                                                                     Maciej Ryba, Marek Mazur