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St. Martin and St. Nicholas Cathedral in Bydgoszcz

Date of construction: 1466-1502

In the main altar of the cathedral in Bydgoszcz there is a beautiful painting of Madonna with Rose and the Child. In what unusual circumstances was the artwork created? Why is the painting said to be miraculous and benevolent?

Cathedral pipe-organs are an instrument made with true virtuosity. They are over 100 years old and have an untypical sound. What is the reason for it?

Monuments Project effects

Wooden monuments
St. Martin and St. Nicholas Cathedral in Bydgoszcz

The most noteworthy work of art is the painting of Our Lady of Beautiful Love (the name given by the cardinal Stefan Wyszyński during coronation ceremony for the 1000th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland) which is famous for miracles. The work was created almost 550 years ago and it shows the Mother of God with the Child who is holding a rose. The anonymous artist was presumably educated in a school in Western Europe. His perfect technique is visible in the style and masterful realization of the painting.

The painting of Madonna with a Rose is a votive offering donated when the war between the Kingdom of Poland and the Teutonic Order called the Thirteen Years’ War (1454-1466) finished. Its creation is connected with the desired time of peace after a long and devastating conflict which the people from the region of Bydgoszcz fell victim to. It is thought that the foundation of the votive painting can be linked to the king Casimir Jagiellon who was a frequent guest in the town at the time.

Extraordinary experiences of the faithful in connection with the painting caused it to be known as “miraculous” and “benevolent”. Due to the painting the onetime parish church has played the role of a local sanctuary since the 17th century. A papal indulgence in the intention of the deliverance of purgatory souls has been linked with the painting since the end of the 17th century.

The painting of Madonna is considered as one of the most beautiful images of the Mother of God – full of grace, subtle, delicate, who is tenderly holding symbols of love: a red rose and small Christ who is the evidence of God’s love toward people.

By Madonna’s feet there is an anonymous figure of the founder who hasn’t been clearly identified. According to the custom, the hierarchical proportion was used for the depiction of the figures: the size relates to the figures’ importance.

Bydgoszcz: katedra pw. św. Marcina i św. Mikołaja

Singing is an integral part of the liturgy and we can find hints of the Lord’s glorification in this way in the Bible: “Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!” (Psalms). The organs, the organ front and the gallery are situated opposite the main altar which makes the music float above the heads of the faithful and fill the whole space of the church to complete the celebrations. Even though the instrument and its front was put at the back of the church, they were usually extraordinarily decorated and that’s why are indisputable works of art – in both musical and sculptural aspects.

The pipe-organs were created in 1907 in the workshop of an organ builder Paul Volkner. Volkner inherited the workshop, established in the middle of the 19th century, from his father. In his works we can find “the divine spark” which shows itself in sounds as well as in the material form of the cathedral’s instrument. It possesses a unique quality of sound and is an interesting example of the romantic organ building style. Volkner used the then technological innovations thanks to which the sound of the organs imitated the instruments from an orchestra, was more complete, soft and warm.

The musical gallery with the organs is also a work of art. It was decorated with sculptures of angels playing the instruments – trumpets, violins and harps. In the central part there is a cartouche which reads: “Praise the Lord my children, Praise His name! 1923”.

Photo gallery
St. Martin and St. Nicholas Cathedral in Bydgoszcz

Useful information

St. Martin and St. Nicholas Cathedral in Bydgoszcz


2 Farna Street, 85-101 Bydgoszcz
tel.: 52 322 45 86


8.00 am, 9.30 am, 11.00 am , 12.30 pm. 6.00 pm

holy days of dispensation: information in parish notices

working days:
8.00 am, 12.00 pm, 5.00 pm (Monday – Friday), 6.00 pm (Saturday only)

Indulgence date

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary: September 8th

St. Martin’s day: November 11th

St. Nicholas’ day: December 6th

The project is co-financed by European Union subsidy as a part of European Regional Development Fund