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Cyprian Kamil Norwid

Norwid laid to rest in Wawel Cathedral

On 24 September, 2001, 118 years after his death in France, Cyprian Kamil Norwid, one of the greatest Polish poets and European thinkers, symbolically returned to his native land. An urn containing soil from the collective grave, in which he had been buried at the cemetery in the Paris suburb of Montmorency, was enshrined in the crypts of the bards next to the remains of Adam Mickiewicz and Juliusz Slowacki in Wawel Cathedral. The Zygmunt Bell, which is heard only when events of great significance to the Church and Poland occur, resounded to mark the poet's return from his émigré wanderings. During a special mass of thanksgiving at the cathedral, Cardinal Franciszek Macharski said that 74 years after the remains of Juliusz Slowacki were brought in, again the doors of the crypt of bards have opened 'to receive the great poet, Cyrpian Norwid, into Wawel's royal cathedral, for he was the equal of kings.' 'We all have a great debt of gratitude to that poet, the fourth bard, and we wish to take this anniversary occasion (the 180th anniversary of his birth) to repay it to a certain extent,' wrote the Holy Father John Paul II in a message read out at the ceremony. Recalling the significance the poet's creations had had for him personally and Poles in general in trying times, the pope recalled that 'an attempt to find and identify his remains had been unsuccessful. It is good that at least an urn containing the soil in which he had been buried has found its rightful place in the Wawel, because the homeland, as Norwid wrote, is the place where it is most pleasant to rest and die.'' 'Cyprian Norwid left behind a legacy from which there emanates a light that enables one to more deeply fathom the truth of what being a human, a Christian, a European and a Pole is all about,' actor Tadeusz Malak read out the words of John Paul II. Zbigniew Zapasiewicz recited the poet's poetry in the cathedral.

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