BLESSED JAKUB STREPA – A PATRON OF THE LVIV ARCHDIOCESE
Why is there so little talk about the patronage of Bl. Jakub Strzemię nowadays? It is not a Bl. Jakub’s fault, not because his kindness or his power from the Lord is not great enough. He is still powerful in God and still able to be a good conductor of God`s grace. The fault is ours indeed. Our prayers to Bl. Jakub are fewer, that is why he cannot help us to the extent he would wish."You do not receive, as the Apostle says, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly"
(from the sermon of St.Archbishop Józef Bilczewski)
Appr. 1340 – Jakub Strzemię was born in the territory of the Kraków diocese; as a teenager he joined the Franciscan order; studied in Rome.
Appr. 1378 – an abbot of Kraków monastery
1385-1388 – an abbot of Monastery of the Holly Cross in Lviv. While being the abbot he was trying to reconcile the inhabitants of the city with Bishop Bernard. He became famous for his zealous missionary work in the eastern territories. He belonged to the Society of Brothers-Pilgrims for Christ. He travelled a lot spreading the true faith, converting pagans and schismatics, proclaiming God`s Word and administering the Sacraments for Catholics. He was a vicar general of Rus. All Franciscan branches of Rus, Podolia, Ukraine and Moldova were subject to him.
Until 1392 – an inquisitor on matters of faith of Red Ruthenia, Volhynia, Pokuttya and Wallachia, he was notable for his wisdom and great mercy.
27.06.1391 – after the death of Archbishop Bernard Pope Boniface IX appointed Jakub the Archbishop of Halych, mentioning Bl. Jakub’s features in the Nomination bulla – apostolic zeal, excellent education, nobility, maturity in judgments and in management of spiritual and worldly affairs. Bl. Jakub often offered his advice to queen Jadwiga and her husband Władysław II Jogaila and through the royal couple’s patronage he became the Archbishop of Halych.
7.07.1391 – Pope Boniface IX allowed the consecration in the country of the bishop chosen by Jakub.
28.01.1392 – consecrated in the today’s Cathedral of Tarnów by Bishop of Przemysl Matij Janin. Bl. Jakub, being a hard-working and diligent bishop, organized and strengthened the structure of the diocese establishing new parishes and taking care of the existing ones. He was concerned about strengthening and expansion of the Catholic Church, caring of Lviv and the whole region’s welfare. He frequently visited his Archdiocese’s parishes, even the distant ones, personally catechized for the faithful and provided the pastor`s guidance to children. He was trying to increase a number of priests encouraging them to perform their pastoral duties with dignity, thus this strengthened the clergy’s authority in the society.
14.11.1394 – Archbishop Jakub gives a dismissal of sins to those who worshiped Holy Communion in the Dominican Church in Lviv which became the center of the Eucharist cult. The dismissals showed great honor for the Eucharist. Bl. Jakub became one of the founders of public adoration of Holly Communion and the Eucharistic processions.
8.03.1401 – provides dismissals of sins for prayers in front of the alabaster figure of Our Lady in the Dominican Cathedral in Lviv. According to the legend, it was brought by St. Jacek from Kiev and Bl. Jakub received it as a present from queen Jadwiga.
15.02.1402 – starts prayers to Our Lady in a parish church in Lviv and gives dismissals for attending special evening Liturgies (prayers) where the Antiphon Recordare and Salve Regina was sung and which ended with a prayer for peace. The Chronicles mention a fact of Revelation of Our Lady with the Child in her arms to Bl. Jakub. In times of despair he asked Her, ‘Please be my Mother ‘ and the response he heard was, ‘You have a Mother and Her Son’- and he saw those Holy Figures. Bl. Jakub used this scene of Revelation on the archbishop`s seal instead of his coat of arms and entrusted his Archdiocese to the guidance of Blessed Virgin Mary. He was planning to move the episcopal capital from Halych to Lviv, that is why he started construction of the Cathedral in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
1404 – consecration of the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
28.04.1404 – gives privilege of dismissal of sins to those who will come to Franciscan church in Lviv and after the Confession will take part in morning Liturgies, also to those who will pray Our Father and Rejoice Mary (Hail Mary?) bowing their knees in the evening when the bell rings, or will make a donation to the temple. This suggests that Bl. Jakub supported activities of missionary orders, particularly the Franciscans and Dominicans, which, he thought, were a great help in development of Church and spread of the faith in their territories.
19.06.1406 – gives a silver Eucharist cup as a present to Franciscan monastery. He encouraged the faithful to donate books, liturgical garments, kitchenware to monasteries. In everyday life Bishop was noted for his simplicity and Franciscan poverty - king Władysław II Jagiełło donated to Jakub an estate in the center of Lviv, but he decided to live in a modest wooden house wearing a Franciscan habit. Bl. Jakub was sensitive to the needs of the poor and sick - he donated his episcopal income to the hospital of Holy Spirit and to a shelter for the poor, sick and pilgrims. In his will he asked to give a miter, silver pastoral, a Franciscan habit, books and all his belongings to the poor and use them for acts of mercy, also for St. Masses for his soul.
15.11.1408 – receives an invitation to a schismatic council in Piza which he refused to participate.
20.10.1409 – dies in Lviv were he was buried according to his last will ‘’at the brothers’ in the house of St. Cross’’ - in Lviv Franciscan monastery of Holy Cross, in Episcopal robes and a Franciscan habit.
29.11.1619 – the coffin with the archbishop’s body was found accidentally
1626 – in the presence of the Archbishop of Lviv Andrzej Próchnicki the body was shifted to a new silver coffin which was placed in the alabastor monument in the wall of the Franciscan church. King John III Sobieski was also praying at his grave.
10.07.1777 – under the influence of received graces under the deceased Archbishop Jakub’s patronage Archbishop Wacław Sierakowski convened a committee which studied Bl. Jakub’s life, miracles and heroism of virtues. Boleslaw Kedzierski published the first official biography of Archbishop Jakub.
20.10.1786 – Archbishop of Lviv Ferdynand Kicki ordered to move Bl. Jakub’s relics from the Franciscan cathedral, destroyed by Austrian authority, to the Cathedral and place them in the altar of Crucified Christ.
11.09.1790 – Pope Pius VI issued a beatification bulla and allowed to celebrate the memory of Jakub Strzemię on 1 June or on the third Sunday after Pentecost. After the reform of liturgical calendar the memory date was transferred to 21 October.
6-8.09.1890 – 100th anniversary of Bl. Jakub`s Beatification. There was a big celebration organized in Lviv with special Dismissals given by Pope Leo XIII.
1908 – a prominent historian Władysław Abraham wrote a critical biography of Bl. Jakub at the initiative of Archbishop Józef Bilczewski.
16-27.06.1909 – Archbishop Józef Bilczewski organized a celebration in Lviv to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Bl. Jakub. Numerous gifts (vota, donations?)) placed near the new silver coffin which was made through the Archbishop’s efforts, became evidence of the obtained blessings. At the request of St. Józef Bilczewski Pope Pius X proclaimed Bl. Jakub the patron of the Archdiocese, together with the Mother of God.
16.03.1910 – St. Pius X proclaimed Bl. Jakub, along with St. Anthony of Padua, the patron of the Conventual Franciscan Order of Krakow Province.
1945 – after World War II the relics of St. Jakub were transferred to the Cathedral in Tarnów.
1966 – the relics were transferred to Lubaczów.
1986-2009 – as a deposit of Lviv Latin Cathedral the relics were located in the Wawel Cathedral`s treasure-house in Kraków.
13.01.2009 – Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow decided that the relics should be returned to the Lviv Archdiocese.
2009 – a peregrination of the relics among Franciscan monasteries of Krakow Province in Poland
5.12.2009 – the relics were returned to Ukraine, located in the main altar of Latin Cathedral in Lviv.
2010 – a peregrination of the relics among Franciscan monasteries of the Lviv Deanery, and afterwards among all the parishes of the Lviv Archdiocese.