Restoration of our High Altar

Any true Restoration of the Sacred begins with our own lives. If we restore the Sacred within ourselves then God’s Image is seen through the beautiful and holy temple that He created. True beauty always points back to God, the Author of beauty. This is the case not only for our own lives, but also for the 'Domus Dei' the House of God.

The liturgical and devotional schedule continues as normal even during the restoration of our High Altar.

As many of you know, we have began our High Altar restoration here at St. John's. The first phase has already been completed which you can read more about here. Many individuals have commented favorably on the work already completed. The second phase of restoration will entail cleaning of the wood surfaces, attaching the ornamental elements, the columns and lower portion of the altar area.

Due to the effects of time and Chicago weather, the altar has suffered much over the years from extreme cold and heat which has disturbed the wood as well as left the gilding in need of dire repair. Scaffolding will be needed during restoration which will leave the sanctuary with the appearance of being “under construction.” We thank you in advance for your understanding during this process.

The High Altar, or often referred to as the reredos, consists of a four story baroque structure in a natural wood finish with 10 Corinthian columns as well as many gilded ornaments, laurels and florets.

Cantius High Altar
Archival photo of the High Altar in 1910

The centerpiece is a larger-than-life size oil painting of St. John Cantius standing in the Main Market Square of Kraków, Poland, painted by the famed Polish ecclesiastical artist Tadeusz Żukotyński. The painting is flanked by the statues of St. Peter and Paul, guardians of the faith and of the Church. The reredos is crowned with a beautiful oval image of St. Anne, Patroness of Poland and second patron of the parish, with the child Mary.

Any and all contributions are most welcome. Please contact Fr. Phillips to help.

According to parish tradition, the awe inspiring main altar, as well as its matching two side altars were made in Austria and were displayed at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago.