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Czestochowa, Poland

History

Traditionally Approved

40 - 999 1400 - 1499
1000 - 1099 1500 - 1599
1100 - 1199 1600 - 1699
1200 - 1299 1700 - 1799
1300 - 1399 1800 - 1899

Vatican Approved
Bishop Approved
Coptic Approved
Approved for Faith Expression
Apparitions to Saints
Unapproved Apparitions

Our Lady of Czestochowa

Summary

The Monastery of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa, Poland, is the third-largest Catholic pilgrimage site in the world. Home to the beloved miraculous icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the monastery is also the national shrine of Poland and the center of Polish Catholicism.

Timeline

 

According to tradition, the icon of Jasna Góra was painted by Luke the Evangelist on a tabletop built by Jesus himself, and the icon was discovered by St. Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine and collector of Christian relics in the Holy Land. The icon was then enshrined in the imperial city of Constantinople, according to the legend, where it remained for the next 500 years.

803

The painting is said to have been given as a wedding gift from the Byzantine emperor to a Greek princess, who married a Ruthenian nobleman. The image was then placed in the royal palace at Belz, where it remained for nearly 600 years.

1382

History first combines with tradition upon the icon's arrival in Poland with a Polish army fleeing the Tartars, who had struck it with an arrow.

1386

Legend has it that during the looting of Belz, a mysterious cloud enveloped the chapel containing the image. A monastery was founded in Czestochowa to enshrine the icon, and soon King Jagiello built a cathedral around the chapel containing the icon.

1430

Hussites (pre-Reformation reformers) attacked the monastery, slashed the Virgin's face with a sword, and left it desecrated in a puddle of blood and mud.

It is said that when the monks pulled the icon from the mud, a miraculous fountain appeared, which they used to clean the painting. The icon was repainted in Krakow, but both the arrow mark and the gashes from the sword were left and remain clearly visible today.

1655

The miracle for which the Black Madonna of Czestochowa is most famous occurred, when Swedish troops were about to invade Czestochowa. A group of Polish soldiers prayed fervently before the icon for deliverance, and the enemy retreated.

1656

King John Casimir declared Our Lady of Czestochowa "Queen of Poland" and made the city the spiritual capital of the nation.

1717

Pope Clement XI officially recognized the miraculous nature of the image.

September 15, 1920

The Virgin again came to the aid of her people, when the Soviet Russian Red Army gathered on the banks of the Vistula River, preparing to attack Warsaw. The citizens and soldiers fervently prayed to Our Lady of Czestochowa and on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, she appeared in the clouds above Warsaw. The Russians were defeated in a series of battles later dubbed the "Miracle at the Vistula."

1925

Pope Pius XI designated May 3 a feast day in her honor.

1945

During Nazi occupation, Hilter prohibited pilgrimages to Jasna Góra, but many still secretly made the journey. After Poland was liberated, half a million pilgrims journeyed to Cz?stochowa to express their gratitude.

September 8, 1946

1.5 million people gathered at the shrine to rededicate the entire nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. During the Cold War, Jasna Góra was a center of anti-Communist resistance.

1979

Pope John Paul II, a native of Poland, was a fervent devotee of the Virgin Mary and of her icon at Cz?stochowa. As pope, he made pilgrimages to pray before the Black Madonna in 1979, 1983, 1991, and 1997.

1991

He held his Sixth World Youth Day at Czetochowa, which was attended by 350,000 young people from across Europe.

May 26, 2006

Pope Benedict XVI visited the shrine.

Miracles, Cures, and Signs

In 1430, Hussites (pre-Reformation reformers) attacked the monastery, slashed the Virgin's face with a sword, and left it desecrated in a puddle of blood and mud.

It is said that when the monks pulled the icon from the mud, a miraculous fountain appeared, which they used to clean the painting. The icon was repainted in Krakow, but both the arrow mark and the gashes from the sword were left and remain clearly visible today.

In 1655, The miracle for which the Black Madonna of Czestochowa is most famous occurred, when Swedish troops were about to invade Czestochowa. A group of Polish soldiers prayed fervently before the icon for deliverance, and the enemy retreated.

On September 15, 1920, the Virgin again came to the aid of her people, when the Soviet Russian Red Army gathered on the banks of the Vistula River, preparing to attack Warsaw. The citizens and soldiers fervently prayed to Our Lady of Czestochowa and on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, she appeared in the clouds above Warsaw. The Russians were defeated in a series of battles later dubbed the "Miracle at the Vistula."

Shrine

Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa
Jasnogorskie Centrum Informacji, Ul. O.A.
Kordeckiego 2, 42-225
Cz?stochowa 25
Phone: 034/365-38-88
www.jasnagora.pl

Czestochowa is located in south central Poland and is easily accessible from major cities. There are about six daily fast trains from Warsaw and Krakow, hourly departures from Katowice, and several daily trains from Lodz, Opole and Wroclaw. From the train station, you can take a bus or taxi to the shrine. By car from Krakow, take 4/E40 west to Katowice, and 1/E75 north to Cestochowa; from Warsaw, take 8/E67 then 1/E75 south to Czestochowa.


Books and Videos

Norbert C. Brockman, Encyclopedia of Sacred Places (Oxford University Press, 1998), 125-27.
Kevin J. Wright, Catholic Shrines of Central and Eastern Europe (Liguori, 1999), 212-19.
The Glories of Czestochowa and Jasna Gora: Miracles Attributed to Our Lady's Intercession (Marian Press, 2004).
Zbigiew Bania et al, Jasna Gora (1986).
Caroline Peters, The Black Madonna (1962).
Gerard Sherry, The Catholic Shrines of Europe (1986).

Links

Official Website of Jasna Gora www.jasnagora.pl
Sacred Destinations - Czestochowa http://www.sacred-destinations.com/poland/czestochowa-jasna-gora

 
   
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