This is translated from Polish that appeared on jasnagora.com under Source materials and scientific studies. It was compiled by the Editor, Jasna Góra, no. 7-8, 2003, pp. 24-25.
Since 1384, when Prince Władysław Opolczyk presented the Pauline Fathers with an image of the Mother of God of Czestochowa – the Queen of Poland, called the Miraculous Picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the Image has been surrounded by an extraordinary cult, as evidenced by the old monastery chronicles, votive offerings left by pilgrims, and finally the coronation of the Icon with the papal crowns. The external manifestation of the cult was, among others, the numerous copies of the Jasna Gora Icon, which have been produced since the end of the 14th century. In the following issues of “Jasna Góra,” we will present some of them, inviting readers to make a pilgrimage on the “trail” of the Images of the Queen of Poland.
In the village of Okulice (Tarnów diocese), situated on the right bank of the Raba River, in the main altar of the parish church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is the Icon of Our Lady with the Child, one of the oldest copies of the Miraculous Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa.
The miraculously famous painting dates from before 1597. The painting was made by an unknown artist using the tempera technique on three joined linden boards measuring 110×70. The painting depicts the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus on her left arm. Mary is dressed in a carmine dress and a dark sapphire cloak that flows from her head to her shoulders. The Madonna embraces those praying before Her Image with a loving maternal gaze, while the Infant Jesus turns His face towards the Mother, pointing to Her with His right hand raised in a gesture of blessing.
The painting is probably the gift of a certain Adalbert Krutski, who donated it to the local church in the 15th century in gratitude for saving his Mother during the plague and his sister, who had complications during childbirth.
From the very beginning, the Image was surrounded by an extraordinary veneration of the faithful. The fact that undoubtedly had the most significant influence on the cult’s development was that the Image appeared thick and transparent, bright like the most beautiful pearls. The records made during the visitation of the church in the 16th-century state that it is exquisitely painted and has long been miraculis clara (brilliant with miracles) and gratiosissima (very popular). The old parish chronicles state that Our Lady of Okulice especially fervently invokes the grace of healing on sick eyes. Evidence of the growing veneration and miraculousness of the Image were the numerous votive offerings which, according to the Visitation Records of 1628, adorned the Image. Unfortunately, between 1748 and 1810, all valuables were looted. In the following centuries, the cult of the Icon of Our Lady of Okulice developed successively. However, a regression in the cult is observed during the times of the Partitions of Poland.
In 1957, the new church was completed. In a letter of 7 October 1959, the parish priest asked the Holy See for permission to crown the Icon (silver crowns were already present on Mary’s head in 1618). The permission was obtained on 21 January 1962, and later that year, on 9 September, the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, placed the crowns on the temples of the Infant and Mary.
In Głogowiec (Warsaw Archdiocese), located about 7 km from Kutno, in the main altar of a Gothic-Renaissance church, there is the Icon of Our Lady of Głogowiec – Patroness of the Kutno Region.
The picture, measuring 105×140, is a painted copy of the Jasna Gora Picture from the mid-16th century. It is noteworthy that it is the only representation of the Madonna and Child in which the face of Jesus does not resemble that of the Mother. During the conservation work preceding the coronation of the Image, Mary’s face was repainted to make it more similar to the Icon at Jasna Gora, which adversely affected the aesthetic value of the Image. The figures of Mary and the Infant are decorated with silver dresses and golden crowns dating from the 17th century.
According to tradition, it is an Image of Eastern provenance. In the Visitation Document of 1779, there is a note stating that one of the heirs of Glogovec sent an envoy to Moscow and received it from the Tsar himself. The document also mentions that in the 18th century, the painting was considered miraculous and was highly venerated by the faithful, who came in great numbers to Marian feasts. The graces obtained through Mary’s intercession from the Icon of the Mother of Głogowiec are also attested to by votive offerings placed in the background of the Icon. One peculiar votive offering is a golden chalice which the parish priest, Father Jozef Siekierzyński, brought from Siberia when he returned from exile after 37 years for supporting the uprising. Many of the votive offerings are testimonies to the care of Our Lady that the faithful experienced during the Second World War. Because of the widespread veneration, efforts were made to coronate it. This coronation was done on 14 September 1975 by the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, on the authority of a bull from Pope Paul VI, who funded the crowns.
From the beginning, the church in Glogowiec radiated the spirit of patriotism. Among others, the heroic defender of Jasna Góra, Father Augustyn Kordecki, and the President of the Second Polish Republic, Professor Ignacy Mościcki, prayed in front of the Patroness of the Kutno Land. It was here that Father Jerzy Popiełuszko preached during the Mass for the Homeland. In 1986, on the initiative of Solidarity members, the Way of the Cross of the Polish Nation was erected in the parish garden.
In the village of Dąbrówka Kościelna (Gniezno archdiocese), there is one of the most visited Marian shrines in the area, which is undoubtedly due to the miraculous Image of Our Lady of Dąbrówka. The first painting, probably known as early as the 15th century, burnt down during the church fire in 1774. Three years later, another copy was placed in the newly built church, which survived until the fire of 1925. In 1949, another copy was made by E. Szyfter. In 1955, however, it was replaced by a painting by Prof. Leonard Torwirt, which is still on the church’s main altar, built after the war. Since then, the painting of E. Szyfter’s has been carried in so-called processions “to the oak”, where Mary appeared according to tradition.
The Image of Our Lady of Dabrowa is a relatively free copy of the Jasna Gora Image. Mary has no scars on her cheek, and her gaze is gentler. The 110×80 Image has a dark gold background. Mary has an oval face, slightly elongated, with dark blue eyes, a straight nose, a small mouth with well-defined contours, a breakfast complexion, rosy cheeks, and the arches of the eyebrows slightly outlined. She supports Jesus with her left hand while she folds her right hand on her chest. The Child has similar features to the Mother, except his complexion is slightly paler. As in the Jasna Gora Picture, he blesses with one hand and holds a book of Scripture in the other. Mary is dressed in a purple dress decorated with gold motifs in the form of flowers and oak leaves, drawn together at the waist with a gold belt. A dark blue mantle trimmed with gold piping covers her head and flows freely down to her shoulders; a white shawl encircles the Madonna’s chin. The Child is dressed in a green robe decorated with a gold diamond pattern and trimmed with gold piping. From the 18th century onwards, there are gold crowns and gilded dresses set with precious stones on the painting. The painting is placed in its original setting – among the twisting branches and leaves of an oak tree, just as, according to legend, the Virgin Mary once appeared.
As the cult of Our Lady of Dabrowa spread over the area of Wielkopolska, Kujawy and Pomerania, efforts to coronate the Icon began. On the strength of a papal decree, this was done by the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński, together with the Metropolitan Archbishop of Poznan, Archbishop Antoni Baraniak, on 15 June 1969. Finally, the re-coronation of the Image took place on 26 June 1994 with the participation of the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Józef Kowalczyk and Archbishops: Józef Muszyński and Marian Przykucki.
Compiled by the Editor, Jasna Góra, no. 7-8, 2003, pp. 24-25