August 25, 2017

Our Lady of Częstochowa (The Black Madonna)

Our Lady of Czestochowa (The Black Madonna)

Feast - August 26th

The image of Our Lady of Częstochowa, also known as the Black Madonna, was traditionally believed to have been painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist on a cypress wood panel from a table used by the Holy Family in Nazareth. It was said to have been brought from Jerusalem by Saint Helen and was enshrined in Constantinople for 500 years. It was given to a Greek princess married to a Ruthenian nobleman and it was housed in the royal palace at Belz in the Ukraine for the next 600 years. Art historians believe it is a Byzantine icon of the Hodigitria type dating from the 6th - 9th Century.

The image was brought to Poland in 1382 by Ladislaus of Opole who rescued the painting from Belz while escaping an attack by the Tartars who had damaged the painting with an arrow. On his way to Silesia, Ladislaus stopped to rest in the town of Częstochowa near the church on Jasna Góra (Bright Hill). He believed that it was Our Lady’s desire for her image to remain in Częstochowa so he left the image at the church and invited the Pauline monks from Hungary to be its guardians.

On April 14, 1430, robbers, sometimes associated with the Hussites of Bohemia, looted the monastery and made three slashes on the face of Our Lady in an attempt to remove valuable stones, finally smashing the image into three pieces. In order to repair the icon, the original paint was removed and the icon was repainted. Although the icon was restored, the slashes in Our Lady’s face remain visible. The image is credited with numerous miracles from the 6th century until today. Our Lady of Częstochowa, Queen of Poland, our protectress, pray for us.

Prayer to Our Lady of Częstochowa

Most Holy Mother of Częstochowa, you are full of grace, goodness and mercy. I consecrate to you all my thoughts, words and actions, totally, in soul and body. I duly beseech your blessings and also your prayers for my salvation. I consecrate myself to you, good Mother, body and soul, amid joy and sufferings, to obtain for myself and others your blessings on this earth and eternal life in heaven. Amen.

Excerpted from St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. Prayer source the Pauline Fathers.

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