Stanislaus of Cracow, St.

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Patron of Poland; b. Szczepanów, Poland, c. 1030;d. Cracow, April 11, 1079. He was educated at the cathedral schools of Gniezno, then capital of Poland, and at Paris, later becoming canon and preacher at Cracow. Pope Alexander II nominated him successor to Bishop Lambert in the Diocese of Cracow in 1072. As a result of the prolonged expedition of King Boleslaus (Bolesław) II the Daring against the Grand Duchy of Kiev in 1069, the political situation in Poland was antagonistic to the king. Consequently, Bishop Stanislaus (Słanistaw) joined the magnates of the opposition, led by the king's brother Ladislaus (Wladysław); the king accused him of being a traitor, and condemned him to death by dismemberment. Stanislaus was actually slain subsequently by Boleslaus himself in St. Michael church, Cracow; the exact motivation of the king's action is still disputed. With this "martyrdom" of the bishop, Boleslaus lost all chances of defeating his opposition in Poland and escaped to his royal relatives in Hungary. There he spent his life as a penitent in the Benedictine abbey at Osiak, and the 11th-century martyrology of the Polish Benedictines refers to the king as Beatus Boleslaus rex penitens.

In the meantime reputed miracles and legends spread the cult of the martyred bishop to Lithuania, Byelorussia, and the Ukraine. Stanislaus became patron of the commonwealth of Poland. The most popular legend asserted that Stanislaus had brought Knight Peter back from the grave to witness Stanislaus' innocence to the king. In 1088 Stanislaus' body was transferred by his successor, Bishop Lambert III, to the cathedral church in Cracow, which was renamed for him; his body still rests in the main altar. Pope Innocent IV canonized him in Assisi in 1253. The earliest preserved biographies are the Vita minor, c. 1230, and the Vita major, c. 1260 [Bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiquae et mediae aetatis, 2 v. (Brussels 18981901; suppl. 1911) 783235] by Dominicans of Cracow priory.

Feast: April 11 (formerly May 7).

Bibliography: Monumenta Poloniae historica, 6 v. (lvov and Cracow 186493) 4:238438. Acta Sanctorum May 2:196277. d. b. nunis, ed., Saint Stanislaw, Bishop of Kraków (Santa Barbara, Calif. 1979). t. grudzinski, Boleslaus the Bold, Called Also the Bountiful, and Bishop Stanislaus, tr. l. petrowicz (Warsaw 1985). m. w. lodÝnski, Uzaleznienie Polski od papiestwa a kanonizacjasw Stanislawa (Krakow 1995). j. kurek, Eucharystia, biskup i król (Wroclaw 1998). Grand Universal Encyclopedia (in Polish) (Warsaw 1902) 31:477478. g. korbut, Polish Literature (in Polish), 4 v. (Warsaw 192931) 1:34. a. butler, The Lives of the Saints, rev. ed. h. thurston and d. attwater, 4v. (New York 1956) 2:244246. g. spahr, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 9:1018.

[b. b. szczesniak]