On 13th May 2014 the “St. John Paul II” was hung in the Silver Bell Tower by Rduch Company. Before then, set on the wooden bell frame, it had been waiting for consecration in front of Wawel Royal Cathedral. The ceremony took place on Easter Sunday and was led by Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz. The bell was equipped with classic oak yoke, clapper of forged steel and MT-4 drive with soft-start function. The Silver Bell Tower waited for this moment to come for over 500 years. Since the day of Karol Wojtyła’s birthday, on 18th May, the bell calls to Angelus prayer everyday at 12:00 p.m.
"St. John Paul II” obtained a quality certificate issued by Mr. Petr Janda from Brno, famous Czech campanologist. First he became speechless for a moment after hearing it’s chime, but then added with excitement. Jan Pawel II wam pomohl!. John Paul II helped you! In his opinion "St.John Paul II” is probably the best bell ever made in history of Polish bell casting. It has the ring of perfect A. It was heard for the first time in Cracow on April 16th when rung by prelate Zdzisław Sochacki.
It sounds beautiful and looks amazing. On Holy Wednesday a bell dedicated to Polish Pope arrived on Wawel Hill. Soon it will be hung on Silver Bell Tower as the last bell of Royal Cathedral. (Fanciszkańska 3)
The sound is fascinating and can be heard from a long distance. I think that we all have been moved by this moment, it is even hard to describe this feeling. This is a bell telling us about exceptional person who was growing up here to become priest and saint.
(ks. prałat Zdzisław Sochacki)
Casting „St. John Paul II”
4th April 2014 / 3 p.m.
A gold medal, memento of John Paul II, was thrown to the liquid bronze during the casting. It was made to celebrate 18th anniversary of pontificate and commemorate his ordination to the priesthood on Wawel Hill – a place which was essential for Karol Wojtyła’s childhood, youth and life as a priest. In the casting ceremony, among others, took part: Zdzisław Sochacki – parish priest of Royal Cathedral in Cracow and Andrzej Bochniak – chief of Wawel ringers.
We would like to thank everyone who decided to join us in this unique ceremony.
Right moment and exceptional patron
In XVI century (about 1530) the octagonal superstructure was built in Silver Bell Tower to hang a bell. But the bell had never been cast. Any of the successive canons council of the Wawel Royal Cathedral was able to point a right patron in an appropriate moment of the Polish history. For almost 500 years there was no one good enough to merit being a guardian of the last bell on Wawel Hill.
The right moment came eight years after the death of pope John Paul II when Pope Francis announced his canonization.
The canons council decided to name the bell after the Great Pole. April 27th 2014 officially became the day when the bell was supposed to sound for the very first time. The canons council chose for the project known and respected companies – Jan Felczyński Bell Foundry and Rduch-Czernica Company.
“St. John Paul II”
First steps of preparations
There are already three bells in the tower:
"Zbyszko” from 1423 (98 cm diameter, tone a#)
"Herman” from 1271 (83 cm diameter, tone c#)
"Maciek” from 1669 (72 cm diameter, tone d#)
„St. Paul John II” will ring separately everyday at 12.00. Even though it is not considered as a part of harmonic set, its sound should match the chime of the rest of the bells in Silver Bell Tower. [linking word] The tone of „St. Paul John II” should be a little bit lower than A# of “Zbyszko”. This can be obtained only with the bell of 500 kg, diameter of 93,55 cm and tone A. A bell weighing 500 kg and of strike tone of perfect A starts the group of bells of medium weight / medium weight bells and what is more interesting, the frequency of strikes during the swing is 60 beats per minute, which is as much as the rate of beating of the human heart. The sound of this bell has a deep resonance that gives a clear basic tone and a wide range of partial tones. Well heard are especially the tones of hum and tierce minor. It can be also distinguished by a very long time of …, which puts it at the top spot among the bells. Precise tuning ensures the harmonization of chords and sound clarity, and due to the key of A minor the ringing gains its gentleness and dignity. Therefore the bell becomes a perfect musical instrument.
The graphic design
Ornaments and writings reflects the character / aesthetics of every bell hanging in Silver Bell Tower. [Combine aesthetics of…]. Around the bell shoulder a simple ornament has been put and the waist has been decorated with three plaques: coat of arms of Pope John Paul II, coat of arms of Cardinal Dziwisz and canons council. There are also Latin phrases on both sides in the central part of the bell: SURSUM CORDA (Lift up your he arts) and NOLITE TIMERE (Be not afraid). The graphic design was accepted in February 2014 on behalf of Wawel canons council by Andrzej Bochniak, the chief of Wawel ringers.
The project consisting of a bell, automation, mechanical systems and steel structures required advanced computer software CAD/CAM to use handled by Rduch-Czernica Company. Together we have managed to turn the idea displayed on drawing board into realistic graphic design of a “St. John Paul II”.