The First Cross on Tarnica
One June morning in 1987 as the birds of the Bieszczady mountains were waking up, they were greeted by a large gathering of people and a new structure. Over night the iron pieces, sand, concrete, and water was carried up to the summit and used to erect a cross. The cross built by lovers of the mountains replaced a small wooden cross and was dedicated to Pope John Paul II who as a priest visited this mountain in 1953. After the construction of the cross during the sunrise, mass was celebrated accompanied by the music of the birds. The building of the cross was very symbolic of the faith of Poland and was also against the communist regime present in Poland at the time. It was also built the day before the Popes arrival to Poland for his third pilgrimage to Poland.
The Construction of the First Iron Cross
This cross is toppled over 10 years later by a large gale because of the wind resistance of the rocks put in between the steel frame of the cross.
The Second Cross on Tarnica
Saturday, September 2, 7:30 am. A group of people heads out towards the summit of Tarnica carrying the first element of the enormous cross. After them the next group will leave, carrying the last four elements. The very same day the cross will stand in the same place of the one preceding it, which was constructed in secret in 1987, the day before the third pilgrimage of Pope John Paul II to Poland.
The material for the pedestal was transported to the base of the mountain the day before. The company Teresy i Tadeusza Cagow “Trans-Cag” coordinated the transport. Now the materials are carried by about 100 people. Everyone is wondering if the weather will hold out. Dark clouds are rolling over the mountains, covering their peaks.
Among the people heading for Tarnica are 30 soldiers. Brothers are also present on the journey helping to carry the materials. Members of the PTTK (Polskie Towarzystwo Turystyczne Krajoznawcze) from Rzeszow with Marian Buda as the organizer also help with carrying the cross to the summit. On the trail is also Wieslaw Kwiatowski, the owner of the company responsible for preparing the foundation for the cross. The company started work on the foundation a week prior. The company went through difficulties of preparing the foundations such as terrible weather and having to carry 25 kilogram bags of concrete to the summit on their backs. The rangers of the Bieszczady national park were able to help with carrying the concrete to the summit by providing horses.
As all the elements arrive at the scene everything is put together on the ground by the foundation. Once everything is attached the cross is raised using ropes to pull and large poles to prop it up. The cross then stands up right and is firmly connected to the foundation. It is a great victory for everyone involved in the construction of the cross.
This cross is important to me because my grandfather carried the top element of the cross to the summit and was an important force in the completion of the cross. I would like to do something like that someday. Every year on Good Friday a pilgrimage is made to the summit of Tarnica to the cross. The stations of the cross are marked along the trial to the summit. This is also something I would like to take part in. This cross, the mountain, and the pilgrimage is a great symbol of the christianity present in Poland.
My Visit to Tarnica
On the trail to Tarnica
Almost at the Summit