By Anne Kurian-Montabone

Pope Francis expressed good wishes to the pilgrims of Our Lady of Czestochowa, famous icon of the Black Polish Madonna, converging on the national shrine of Jasna Gora.

“May this pilgrimage, organized with prudence because of the pandemic, be for all a time of reflection, prayer and fraternity in faith and in love,” he said at the General Audience on August 12, 2020.

The Pontiff also recalled the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw (August 1920) – “Miracle of the Vistula” (Cud nad Wisla) –, the Polish army’s victory over the Russian Bolshevik army on August 15. The people attributed this miracle “to Mary’s intervention,” he said.

“Today the Mother of God is helping humanity to overcome the coronavirus, and She assures abundant graces to you, to your families and to the Polish people,” he added.

Housed in the Polish Shrine, in the province of Silesia, the Black Virgin of Czestochowa, with the Child Jesus in her arms, is of Medieval Byzantine tradition. According to the legend, it is a copy of an image painted by Saint Luke. It was Prince Ladislaw d’Opole who, in 1382, brought it from Russia to Czestochowa.

Inside the Shrine there is also a Renaissance Library with over 40,000 manuscripts carefully preserved. Close to four million pilgrims visit it every year. The Holy Father Francis visited the monastery of Jasna Gora on July 28, 2016, and placed a golden rose at the feet of the Black Virgin.

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