A few years ago Three Kings were in a school classroom. However, they started their royal conquests six years ago. They have already conquered 170 cities and gained an army of half a million of people

The success of the Three Kings became a secret for rulers of this world. They are gaining more and more allies through peace and without any violence. Overlords of towns and cities are willing to give them their hospitality and they even ask them to indicate a path to Bethlehem. The procession of the Three Kings turned out to be an evangelical phenomenon. It is a success that nobody from this peace army of people of good will attacked. How is it possible?

I always say that the main director is Heaven. We must only realize what he ordered us to do in the best way. First of all, we must not destroy it – emphasizes Maciej Marchewicz, the chairman of the Foundation of the Procession of the Three Kings, which coordinates street processions in about 170 cities in Poland, Europe, and even in Africa. Kings are doing quite well because when we look at previous years, it is seen that their procession army and number of host cities increases by about 100 percent every year.

Last year we sent about 250 thousand crowns and song books. This year there are going to be about half a million of them – says Maria Brzeska-Deli, the press spokeswoman of the Procession. Also the number of cities and towns increased. In 2012 there were 24 processions, last year – 92 and now there are going to be – about 170.

It started in Warsaw

The idea for the procession of the Three Kings appeared in a group related to Warsaw Catholic schools of the Association ‘Sternik’. From the beginning their purpose was engagement of whole families in Christmas cribs – children, parents and even grandparents. A side effect of the venture was a growing crowd of participants and cramped school classrooms. When there was not any space for them at schools, they moved to the theatre Buffo.

The idea of going out into streets appeared at the same time as the initiative of reappearance of the feast of Epiphany as a day-off. So, one of street processions was ‘freeing’ the feast of Epiphany from work – explains Marchewicz.

When they went out onto Starówka in Warsaw in 2009, it turned out that processions o the Three Kings attracted crowds of Warsaw inhabitants and media. Interest was so high that a route had to be different in next years, because streets of the Old Town turned out to be too narrow. Other cities envied Warsaw, which also wanted to host the Three Kings in their streets.

The boom of processions started when the Sejm of the Polish Republic decided that the feast of Epiphany would be a day-off. Since there have been more and more self-governments, as well as organizations and communities which want to organize the processions in their cities.

What is interesting, media were also impressed by the processions. The Institute for Monitoring Media informed that in 2012 there were 271 TV reports of the processions, 476 radio reports and over 1600 reports in printed press and on Internet. – As a spokesman, I feel it myself. Every year, the interest among local media in the procession increases – says Maria Brzeska-Deli. – We are glad with it. For, it turned out that information from 2000 before is still important and up to date.

A social power

This venture turned to be successful both in the evangelical and social sense. organizing processions in small towns makes other local initiatives appear. – One of our purposes is waking up the society, uniting people and associations in order to realize great projects together, going beyond the feast of Epiphany – says the chairman of the foundation. It often happens that it is the first time when a priest and a mayor of a town have been doing it together. And it is a great capital. As an example, I give the success in Niepołomice. In this small village which has about 6 thousand inhabitants, 4.5 thousand people participated in the procession. Elderly inhabitants mentioned that such an event was the last time when marshal Piłsudski visited their village. – Organizing such ventures wakes up people from lethargy, motivates them to action and gives a social power – notes the chairman of the foundation.

The same people, who participate in organizing processions, often join preparation of stations of the Road of Cross, Corpus Christi Feast, pro-life marches and pro-family marches, as well as marches of support for the Television Trwam. However, other Christian initiatives are often attacked by leftist-liberal groups. Why are they helpless towards the processions of the Three Kings? – Firstly, we omit politics not to expose ourselves to this kind of attacks. We also care not to have too much money on the account of the foundation. It may sound odd but we do not want to be rich – says Marchewicz. – Besides the message of the procession explicitly arouses positive associations practically among all people.

It does not mean at all that during the performance and procession difficult issues are avoided. In scenes of fights between devils and angels sins of contemporary times are clearly exposed. It is also the suggestion that the fight between the good and the bad was taking place 2000 years ago and is still going on till today. – We point to Bethlehem which is the only right solution from this difficult situation – explains the chairman of the foundation.

Prohibition for Mickey Mouse

The Foundation Procession of the Three Kings supports its ‘procession children’ with essential knowledge, trainings, gives them songbooks and crowns. Each town gets also specially projected knights’ flags which are on the helm of each of three royal teams.

It often happens that a clerk phones us with a request for organizing a procession – says Maria Brzeska-Deli. The whole phenomenon of street processions, however, is based on the fact that it is not an event imposed by the authority. It takes place thanks to engagement of local societies. – We only bring help. The foundation is a platform of information exchange about, for example, how to sew costumes, where to find swords, how to make a scene with the crib – explains Brzeska-Deli.

So, creators of the success of the street processions mainly serve with substantial support, but they do not want to doom their work to arbitrary interpretation. And it does not mean that they claim their authorized rights for this venture. They simply want to control the great procession movement. – We must care about the Three Kings so that they would not replace a Mickey Mouse, fighters with laser swords or a witch – explains Marchewicz. Therefore, our task is to care about singing carols by processions of the Three Kings, so that they would always reach to Baby Jesus.

Christmas revitalization

A Polish success of the recent years is reappearance of the feast of Epiphany. – It happened thanks to efforts of many people and organizations – says Marchewicz. Today our task is caring about the Christian character of the day of 6 January. For there are many religious days which are stolen by consumptive pop-culture.

European events show that there were many Christian cultural initiatives which do not anything in common with religious dimension today. The feast of Epiphany can also become a victim of weekend trips, skiing picnics and a rich offer of television. Whereas the foundation points out that on this day what is the most important, is reminiscence of what took place in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. – It depends on us what custom of celebration of Epiphany we will pass to our children – says Marchewicz.

During this year’s procession there will also be the papal accent. Message of John Paul IIon Christmas, of 1988 is going to be reminded. Organizers also hope for a warm word of pope Francis. – We sent a procession crown to the Holy Father and we are lobbying so that street processions would take place in the streets of the Eternal City – says Maria Brzeska-Deli. – I think that our activity is perfectly inscribed in the teaching of pope Francis who says about joyful proclamation of the Gospel.

In order to experience it, on 6 January 2014, one must take part in one of the processions of the Three Kings in Poland. – And we guarantee that everybody will reach Bethlehem in order to greet the Newly born – encourages Maciej Marchewicz.


"Niedziela" 1/2014

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: