The Church of the Holy Cross
The Church of the Holy Cross on ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście, next to Czapski/Krasiński Palace, where the Chopins lived, was the largest church in Warsaw at the beginning of the nineteenth century. In the Holy Cross parish Fryderyk's two sisters were baptised: Izabela and Emilia. National-patriotic ceremonies were held here, including the exequies for Prince Józef Poniatowski. It was from here that the cortège left for Bielany following the funeral Mass for Stanisław Staszic, with the young Fryderyk Chopin among the large number of Varsovians assembled to see the great scholar off to the place of his burial.
Inside the Holy Cross church are numerous epitaphs and plaques commemorating great Poles, including Adam Mickiewicz, Juliusz Słowacki, Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, Bolesław Prus and General Władysław Sikorski. There is also the urn containing the heart of Fryderyk Chopin, which, in accordance with the composer's wishes, was brought to Poland by his elder sister, Ludwika. Only after ninety-six years, following various twists of fate, was it transferred permanently to the Holy Cross church, as is recorded on a plaque with the inscription ‘17. X. 1945 the heart of F. Chopin returned to Warsaw', set into the church's second pillar, on the left-hand side of the nave. A plaque funded by the Warsaw Music Society was unveiled in 1880. It carries a quotation from the Gospel according to St Matthew (VI.21): ‘For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also'. Above this is a small bust of the composer by Leonard Marconi.
The church was heavily damaged during the war, but the urn with Chopin's heart and the nineteenth-century plaque had been hidden away (see Milanówek).
The other churches which Chopin attended or may have frequented were also situated on ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście. On days when there was no Mass in the church of the Nuns of the Visitation, Chopin's mother would take the young Fryderyk to the Carmelite church. Attendance at Mass was obligatory for pupils of the Lyceum and students of the University. The Bernardine church of St Anne was attended, along with all female pupils, by Konstancja Gładkowska, and also-possibly on her account-by Fryderyk.