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Marian Sanctuary of Jasna Gora

Listed under Sacred Spaces in Częstochowa, Poland.

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The city of Czestochowa (pronounced ‘Chen-sto-ho-vah’) and its Marian shrine of Jasna Gora are the spiritual heart of Poland and the country’s national shrine. The event which decisively influenced the history of Czestochowa was the establishment of the Jasna Gorna ‘Bright Mountain’ monastery in 1382. Installed in the monastery was a painted icon, imported from Russia and already the focus of cultic veneration. Legends say St. Luke was the icon’s painter but scholars put its creation later, sometime between the 5th and 14th centuries. In 1430, the Jasna Gorna monastery was attacked by raiders who damaged the icon, and its present appearance dates to the late 15th century when it was repaired and repainted. As protection against further raids, fortifications were built during the early 17th century and these helped Jasna Gorna survive a siege of the Swedish army in 1655. The heroic defense strengthened the Marian Cult, integrating the religious values of the Jasna Gorna shrine with Polish national ones, thereby making the monastery and its miraculous icon the most venerated pilgrimage site in the country.

In 1682, one hundred and forty thousand pilgrims celebrated the 300th anniversary of the coming of the icon to Jasna Gorna. In 1717, more than two hundred thousand pilgrims walked from around the country to attend the ceremonial crowing of the icon, Our Lady of Czestochowa, as the Queen of Poland. While visited all year long, the most popular pilgrimage periods are the Marian Feasts, particularly the Birth of the Virgin on September 8 and the day of Assumption on August 15. Within the shrine, thousands of votives left by pilgrims over the centuries attest to the miraculous healing powers of the site. Each year hundreds of thousands of pilgrims walk to the shrine from around Poland and more than 4.5 million pilgrims come from around the world, thus the Marian shrine of Jasna Gorna is one of the most visited and venerated sacred sites on the planet.

More on the Marian Sanctuary of Jasna Gora.

Written by  Martin Gray.

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