Litany of the Polish Nation
In July we would like to present the Litany of the Polish Nation coming from the Stanisław Grzonowski Collection, placed in the custody of the Historical Archives of the Solidarity National Commission. Stanisław Grzonkowski was born in 1955 in Chojnice. Since 1980 he was involved in the Solidarity activities. He was inter alia the chairman of the Solidarity Company Commission at the Grammar School in Kamień Krajeński, the delegate to the Ist General Meeting of the Bydgoszcz Region’s Delegates in 1981, vice-chairman of the Solidarity Inter-enterprise Committee for Education and Upbringing in Chojnice. On behalf of the union periodical “Free Voice” (Polish “Głos Wolny”) he was accredited for the I National Congress of Solidarity delegates in 1981.
The word “litany” which is our focus this time, derives from the Greek “λιτανεία’ and its meaning is supplication, request or prayer. It is a form of prayer, used in the liturgy of Christian churches, and expresses supplication or request for help of the Devine Persons or Saints. Its typical feature is that the celebrant’s invocations are always answered with Kyrie eleison or Pray for us.
The Litany of the Polish Nation, presented below, leads us through over one thousand years of our history, through the cohorts of saints and the blessed, patriots, courageous defenders and sacrificers. In each of the invocations we can find a lesson, an admonition, a warning and a petition. This prayer has been discovered and disseminated by Professor Gabriel Turowski. Photocopied, distributed among Polish pilgrims coming to Rome, it became a crucial component of the Holy Mass and prayers for the Homeland delivered in 1980s’.
The presented copy is of a unique kind, as its inner pages have been stamped with the image of an eagle in a closed crown, with widespread wings and a Latin emblem Elementum meum libertas, meaning “Freedom is my element”. One can note the line referring to “the moans of the martial law victims”, often ignored in official versions of this prayer.
Those interested in our archival materials are kindly invited to make use of our holdings in our Reading Room. They are accessible from Monday to Friday between 9:00 and 15:30. Please let us know in advance about your planned visit either by phone +48 (58) 308-43-92 or at .
/Łukasz Grochowski, The Archives of the Solidarity National Commission,
Iwona Flis, Stanislaw Flis Foundation “Pomerania Archives”/