This year’s Barbórka was celebrated by the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine miners on the 3rd of December. There was a solemn mass in St Kinga’s Chapel, as well as ceremony, during which distinguished employees of the Wieliczka mine were honoured.
St Barbara’s Day is the most important miners’ holiday of the year – it is a time of joy and reflection on the hardships of the underground profession. In Wieliczka, the celebration of St Barbara’s Day traditionally began with a prayer in St Kinga’s Chapel. The miners thanked their patron saints, Barbara and Kinga, for the past year and asked for further care of the Wieliczka mine and the town located above it.
The mass was celebrated by Archbishop Marek Jędraszewski. “Looking at miraculous things, at this mine, we remember the people who carry out the hard and dangerous work, who brought here their faith, their love of God, their dedication to God through Saint Barbara,” said the Metropolitan of Krakow in his homily. “We benefit from the blessings of their faith and trust in God. We benefit from it, looking at this great heritage – a heritage of culture, this place, this town and the mining community. This mine is a material dimension of the miners’ faith and a profound message that we should not stop at aesthetic beauty, but strive for the spiritual beauty.”
After the miners’ prayer, accompanied by the invited guests, the miners headed to the Warsaw Chamber. 125 m below ground, distinguished employees of the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine were honoured with state and ministerial distinctions, as well as miners’ ranks with a presentation of swords.
The Chairman of the Board of Kopalnia Soli “Wieliczka” S.A. Zbigniew Zarębski wished the gathered a happy Barbórka and in warm words, thanked the Wieliczka miners for their year-long efforts: “It is thanks to you and your hard work that the historic mine endures and has a good future ahead of it,” Chairman Zarębski emphasised. “Thanks to your efforts, the city located above the mine is also safe and can develop and grow without fear,” he added.
The ending year 2018 passed in the Wieliczka mine under the sign of intensive security work, planning further projects to protect the salt underground and the surface, and, once again, a record number of tourists. 2018 is also the third year in the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine without a work accident.
“Today, we received the best possible gift from Mr Krzysztof Tchórzewski, Minister of Energy – directional approval for the update of the “Wieliczka” Salt Mine Protection Programme to 2027,” said Zbigniew Zarębski. “This year marks 40 years since the mine was included in the UNESCO List and 100 years since Poland regained independence. Patriotism for miners in Wieliczka is not only words, but above all deeds – hard daily work and care for the underground heritage, which we want to protect and pass on to the next generation: as a treasure of culture, technology, nature and Polish history. I would like to thank the miner brothers and sisters for their efforts and for the fact that the fate of this historic mine lies firmly in the miners’ hearts,” Chairman Zarębski emphasised in his speech.