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Black Madonna of Poland

11. March 2010
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I first heard of this icon of great devotion in the Michael Palin travel series (which I highly recommend) and I hope one day to take a trip to Poland and see it in person.

The shrine of Czestochowa is found in the heart of Poland. A highlight of Marian devotion, it attracts four to five million pilgrims each year from 80 countries worldwide.

The icon of the Black Madonna and Child goes back to medieval tradition. According to historians, the painting follows the model of Byzantine iconography: it is an “Odigitria” icon, that is to say, the image of “one that points out and guides all along the path”.

A legend attributes the creation of this painting to St. Luke, who was a contemporary of Mary, and so could reproduce her true image. In 1382 the icon was brought to the hill of Jasna Gora, which means “Bright Mountain” in Polish and overlooks Czestochowa. At Prince Władysław of Opole’s initiative, a hilltop monastery was built for the Pauline monks. read more

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