Legend, Veneration, and Nationalism: The History of Devotion and Pilgrimage to the Miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa
Młynarz, Mike (University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta)
Axis Mundi (2005/6)
According to legend, St. Luke the Evangelist painted an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which eventually found its way to a monastery in Częstochowa, Poland. Due to the miraculous nature of the icon and its eventual placement in the monastery, the area took on the name of Jasna Góra, or ‘Bright Mountain’. The hill is two miles from Częstochowa’s medieval centre.2 In his 1979 pilgrimage to Poland, the late Pope John Paul II declared the area to be not only a centre attracting Polish pilgrims from around the world, but also to be the very heart of the nation itself. Jasna Góra is one of the largest and most important Marian shrines in the world and is the only major Marian shrine that was not founded on the basis of an apparition. It stands as the largest pilgrimage centre in Central and Eastern Europe, and, outside of France and the Russian Far East, the largest Christian sanctuary in Europe as a whole.