THE STORY OF THE MIRACULOUS PAINTING
A WONDERFUL PAINTING OF MOTHER OF GOD OF JASNA GÓRA
The greatest treasure of Jasna Góra is the Miraculous Image of the Mother of God. Thanks to him, Jasna Góra became one of the largest Marian sanctuaries in Poland in the 15th century. The fact why this happened did not explain either the legend which assigns the authorship of the icon of Saint. Łukasz Evangelist, or the royal couple’s protection – Jadwiga and Władysław Jagiełło. The reason for the uniqueness of this place must be deeper, but it must be stressed that there have never been any Marian apparitions at Jasna Góra, as was the case in other sanctuaries. The strength and mystery that attracts pilgrims to the feet of the Lady of Jasna Gora is Her Miraculous Picture. Without it, Jasna Góra would only be a collection of buildings, memorabilia and works of art, perhaps a beautiful and rich, but dead museum.
The oldest description of the image of the Mother of God is provided by Jan Długosz in the Liber Beneficiorum: „The image of Mary the most glorious and most venerable Virgin and Lady, Queen of the world and our Queen (…) made with a strange and rare way of painting (…) with a transient expression of a face that perceives pervading special piety – if you were looking alive. „ The painting is one of the types of performances known as Hodegetria. This name means „The one that guides you”. It shows Mary as the Mother of God, but also the Mother of every human being.
About the beginnings of the Image and its history until 1382, we do not have certain and strictly historical news – only tradition and various pious applications. According to tradition, the Painting of Lady of Czestochowa was to paint St. Łukasz Evangelista still during the life of the Holy Lady. The same tradition even states that the painting is painted on a table plate used by the Holy Family in Nazareth.
In the fourth century Saint. Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine the Great, was to bring this Image to Constantinople with her. There he was very worshiped and helped in moments of especially great disasters as contagious diseases, epidemics, etc. Around the 9th or 10th century, the Image traveled north, where he finally settled permanently in Bełzki Castle, northeast of Lviv, in Red Russia.
In 1382, Władysław, prince Opole, ruled in Ruthenia on behalf of King Ludwik Węgierski. The prince wanted to protect the Image against possible desecration from the heathen Tatars (once during the siege of Bełzki’s castle, the Tatar arrow falling through the window of the chapel was to hit the neck of the Mother of God), decided to transport the Image to Opole to Silesia. When on the way he stopped for a short rest in Częstochowa at the foot, the church at Jasna Góra, Our Lady was to let him know his will, that he wanted to stay here. Opole left the Image on Jasna Góra, entrusting him to the White Father Pauline family, brought from Hungary in 1382.
Crumbs from the history of the Miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Jasna Gora
The painting is painted on three linden boards with total dimensions: height: 121.8 cm, width: 81.3 cm, maximum thickness: 3.5 cm. He presents the Virgin Mary in a standing posture, in a torso with the Infant Jesus in his arms. Mary is facing the faithful, and the face of the Child – towards the pilgrim, though she does not stop her eyes on him. Both faces the expression of contemplation, as if some absence and seriousness. The righteous cheek of the Mother of God is marked by two lines running parallel, cut by the third on the line of the nose. Six cuts are visible on the neck, two of which are visible quite clearly, while the other four – less well.The baby, clad in a carmine dress, rests on Mary’s left arm; he holds the book in his left hand, and lifts up the right in a characteristic gesture of a teacher, ruler or blessing. Mary’s right hand rests on her breast, pointing to Jesus, the only Savior of the world. Blue-gown dress and the same color of the maforion of the Mother of God are decorated with golden angels of the Angevin. Above the forehead of the Virgin, the painter placed a six-pointed star. The image of the Mother of God is painted on a background of blue-green color, which changes into the hue of the sea wave. The dominant elements of the icon are gilded nimbs around the heads of Mary and Jesus – the symbol of God the Father, which blend into one composition, constituting a characteristic detail, contrasting with the dark complexion of the faces of the holy figures. That is why sometimes the Mother of God is called the „Black Madonna”.
In 1430, the expensive votive offerings from the chapel were plundered at Jasna Góra, and the Miraculous Picture was damaged. After ripping off the valuables, the image was cut with a saber and broken. It was found, according to tradition, in the place where today stands the church of St. Barbara with a wonderful spring near Jasna Góra. Father Paulini brought the destroyed painting to Krakow, to the court of King Władysław Jagiełło, who along with his wife, Saint. Jadwiga, is the founder of the oldest part of the Chapel of Our Lady in Jasna Góra.
King Władysław Jagiełło himself took care of the restoration of the painting. There were numerous difficulties associated with the painting technique of the Jasna Góra Painting. It was probably so damaged that it was decided to put on a new board, reminiscent of the relic, and re-paint the image, according to the picture visible on the old damaged canvases, the pieces of which were left under the canvas new. A permanent trace of the destruction of the Image in 1430 are scars on the Face of the Mother of God.
A characteristic feature, which everyone will recognize the Jasna Góra Image, are the scars on the face of the Mother of God. Jasna Gora’s painting bears signs of wounds and pain. There are many wounds on the Image (on the neck, on the face and two under the right eye). As if she would tell us, Our Lady, that she is the Mother and Queen of the martyred and tormented nation for centuries. Like the seven swords of sorrow pierced her heart at the Cross, now he carries the signs of painful wounds on his Jasna Góra Face.
On the left side of the image there are the insignia of Our Lady Queen of Poland, scepter and apple, made in 1926 from the foundation of Polish women by the Warsaw company „Bracia Łopieńscy”. On the right side of the painting there are: Golden Rose and a golden votive in the shape of a heart with the inscription „TOTUS TUUS” – handed over by Pope John Paul II in 1979 and 1982.
An unusual and shocking votive left by Saint. Pope John Paul II, currently displayed in a special cassette on the altar of Our Lady, is a belt of his cassock, shot and bloodied during the attack on St. Piotr on May 13, 1981.
The image of the Mother of God is covered by a silver bolt from 1723 with an allegorical composition referring to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The latch is surrounded by a borderline from 1763, which is a foundation of the Działyński family.
From the very beginning, the Jasna Góra painting became famous for miracles that made the Marian sanctuary in Częstochowa famous and made pilgrims come to Jasna Góra from all over Poland, and in subsequent centuries from more distant European countries. Died in 1480, Jan Długosz wrote: „From all of Poland and neighboring countries, namely: Silesia, Moravia, Prussia and Hungary, for the solemnity of the Holy Mary – whose rare and devotional picture is here – a pious people converged for amazing miracles that our Lady and Advocate have done here because of this „. A sign of the faith of the pilgrims were numerous offerings to the Mother of God, whose value and today should be determined primarily by the value of the intentions in which they were made, pure and exalted, not their valuables or the donor’s person.