Poland Celebrates 300th Anniversary of Black Madonna’s Coronation

by David Nussman  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  August 28, 2017   

Multiple initiatives to honor Our Lady of Częstochowa, icon of the Blessed Mother

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CZĘSTOCHOWA, Poland (ChurchMilitant.com) - Polish Catholics commemorated on Sunday the 300th anniversary of the coronation of Our Lady of Częstochowa, also known as the Black Madonna at Jasna Góra.

Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, Apostolic Nuncio, offered the Mass of Thanksgiving. More than 100,000 people attended the outdoor Mass. The homily was given by Archbishop Wojciech Polak of Gniezno.

Jasna Góra, a shrine and monastery, houses the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa. On September 8, 1717, Pope Clement XI bestowed a canonical coronation for Our Lady of Częstochowa. A Pope can canonically coronate a specific image and title of Our Lady. In so doing, he commends the related devotions and orders a special crown be added to the image.

The Black Madonna is a famous painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary holding the Child Jesus. Tradition holds that it was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist, and the wood he painted on was from the Holy Family's house in Nazareth.

This image of Our Lady has been kept at Jasna Góra since 1384. The Pauline brothers have a community at Jasna Góra to take care of the church and the painting.

On Sunday, many high-ranking Polish politicians were present at the Mass in Częstochowa. Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Beata Szydlo were among those attending.

Various processions with the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa have taken place the past several days, including a vigil procession on Friday and a procession prior to Holy Mass on Sunday.

Saturday evening featured a very special celebration: an elaborate multimedia concert honoring Our Lady of Częstochowa as Queen of Poland. The two-hour celebration was sponsored by Prime Minister Szydlo. The concert's title, "Jasna Góra — Polish Cana," is an allusion to the Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:1–12). This Gospel passage relates how Jesus first began his public ministry by yielding to His Mother's petition, "They have no wine." (John 2:3).

As Church Militant reported previously, the Polish government declared 2017 a Jubilee Year due to this 300th anniversary of the Black Madonna's coronation. Poland also proclaimed Jesus Christ as its King in November 2016.

The famous and historic image of Our Lady of Częstochowa exhibits several marks of damage. Most noticeable are the two slash-marks on Our Lady's cheek, the result of attempted iconoclasm by Hussite heretics in 1430. Efforts to repair these scars proved futile.

Pilgrimages to the shrine at Jasna Góra are commonplace, and attract faithful from around the world. Earlier this month, Church Militant reported that more than 1,000 people hiked a 143-mile pilgrimage on foot to Częstochowa for the Feast of the Assumption on August 15.

The tricentennial celebrations are set to continue with another concert Wednesday. It will be the premiere debut of "Stabat Mater" by Polish composer Ewa Fabiańska-Jelińska.

In observance of the 300th anniversary, the bishops of Poland have created a free smartphone app that sends daily Marian reflections to its users.

The app is part of a broader initiative called "Żywa Korona Maryi" or "Living Crown of Mary." The website for the initiative asks the faithful to make a spiritual gift to Mary by sending a photograph of themselves, to Jasna Góra, with a prayer-pledge or other resolution written on the back.


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