According to tradition, Stanislaus was born at Szczepanów, July 26, 1030, the only son of the noble and pious Wielisław and Bogna. He was educated at a cathedral school in Gniezno and later, according to different sources, in Paris and Liege. On return to Poland, Stanislaus was ordained a priest. After Bishop Lambert’s death in 1072, Stanislaus was elected his successor.
Stanislaus criticized King Bolesław over his sexual immorality, amongst other things. Whatever the actual cause of the conflict that was between them, the result was that the Bishop excommunicated King Bolesław. The excommunication aided the King’s political opponents, and the King accused Bishop Stanislaus of treason and had him killed. King Bolesław sent his men to execute Bishop Stanislaus without trial, but that when they dared not touch the Bishop, the King decided to kill the traitor himself. He is said to have slain Stanislaus while he was celebrating Mass in the Skałka outside the walls of Kraków. The Bishop’s body was then hacked to pieces and thrown into a pool outside the church.
According to the legend, his members miraculously reintegrated while the pool was guarded by four eagles. The exact date of Stanisłaus’s death is uncertain. According to different sources, it was either April 11 or May 8, 1079. The cult of Saint Stanislaus the Martyr began immediately upon his death. In 1245 his relics were moved to Krakow’s Wawel Cathedral. On September 17, 1253, at Assisi, Stanislaus was canonized by Pope Innocent IV.
Stanislaus is the patron of Poland and Kraków. St. Stanislaus, pray for us.