Our Lady Of Częstochowa
Our Lady of Częstochowa is a highly revered icon housed at the Jasna Góra (Bright Mountain) monastery in Poland. It is also known as the Black Madonna of Częstochowa on account of the dark colouring of Mother's and Child's skin.
The icon belongs to a type well known in Eastern Christianity: Mary is shown as Hodegetria (One that shows the Way). With Her right hand She points to Jesus as the source of salvation, while He blesses the viewer. The composition is hieratic and solemn. This is not a lyrical depiction of motherly devotion but rather an invitation to contemplate the mystery of Incarnation. This is Mother of God gently guiding the faithful towards her Son.
The origins of the icon are unclear but it has been in possession of the Pauline monks of Jasna Góra since the 14th century. According to a legend, the cuts on Madonna's face were made by Hussite raiders (religious dissidents) in 1430. Apart from the three slashes on Mary's right cheek there are also six scratches on Her neck.
The Black Madonna is the most venerated icon in Poland. She is credited with many miracles, most notably with saving the monastery from a 17th century Swedish invasion known as The Deluge. Following that event the icon was "crowned" as Queen and Protectress of Poland by John II Casimir Vasa.
(Text by Zuzanna O'Rourke)
Chapel Dedicated to Our Lady of Częstochowa
On Tuesday 26th August 2014, Bishop Hugh Gilbert (Bishop of Aberdeen) celebrated Mass at St Margaret's Catholic Church, Lerwick. His visit was extra special, as he blessed the new chapel and icon dedicated to Our Lady of Częstochowa.
Legend suggests that the "Black Madonna" as it is known gets its name from the soot that discoloured the painting. This is from years of candles burning in front of the portrait. You will notice when looking at the icon, that Mary directs attention away from herself. With her right hand, she points towards her Son, Jesus our Saviour. The child Jesus is holding a book of gospels in his left hand. His right hand is extended as if giving a blessing.
In the gospel of Matthew, chapter 11 verse 28, Jesus says, "Come to me all who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest". As the Mother of Jesus, Mary suffered the heartache of seeing her Son die on the cross. He was humiliated and tortured. Mary knows how all of God's children are suffering. She points to her Son who by dying on the cross has destined our salvation.
The chapel is a place of quiet prayer and reflection. Everyone is welcome to visit the chapel. It is hoped that the chapel will be a place of solace for all.
The chapel is located inside the Parish rooms at St Margaret's, next to the Church. An invitation is extended to all those who would like to spend some time in quiet reflection and prayer.