Presentation of the new crowns for the Jasna Gora Icon

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This is translated from Polish that appeared on under Press Office of Jasna Góra and titled ‘Prezentacja nowych koron na Obraz Jasnogórski’ and published 28-07-2017.

The presentation of the new crowns for the Image of Our Lady of Jasna Gora, combined with a meeting with the creator and designers of the crowns, took place on Thursday, 27 July, in the Arsenal at Jasna Gora.

The crowns, made by Italian goldsmith Michele Affidato, are a replica of the crowns Pope Clement XI offered to Jasna Gora for the first coronation of the Jasna Gora image. The ceremony took place on 8 September 1717. This year marks the exact 300th anniversary of that event.

On the occasion of the Jubilee, the idea of reconstructing the crowns stolen under unclear circumstances was born. The new crowns were blessed by Pope Francis on 17 May this year in St Peter’s Square. The Pauline Fathers decided that the reconstructed crowns would be placed on the Jasna Gora Icon on 28 July, precisely on the 1st anniversary of Pope Francis’ pilgrimage to Jasna Gora.

“The choice of the date to put the crowns on the Miraculous Picture was not accidental. We thought that since Pope Francis blessed the crowns on 17 May this year, it would be on the anniversary of his visit to Jasna Gora that we would put the crowns on, commemorating the Pope’s pilgrimage and meeting with him.” – emphasised Fr. Marian Waligóra, the Prior of Jasna Góra.

The reconstructed crowns could be seen since May in the exhibition in the Arsenal, entitled ‘Regalia of the Queen of Poland’. After yesterday’s Jasna Gora Appeal, the new crowns were placed on the Miraculous Picture of Our Lady of Jasna Gora.

“In the plans for the Jubilee, we did not have the idea of making a replica of the crowns of Clement XI. It even seemed unrealistic to us.” Recounted Father Prior Marian Waligóra, “Nevertheless, such a great surprise for us appeared as a gift from the Diocese of Crotone. Thanks to the artist, and jeweller Michele Affidato, it was possible to make a replica of the crowns of Clement XI. To be honest, when we saw how beautiful they were, there was not even another thought that these crowns could not be placed on the Miraculous Picture. It is the fulfilment of our dream to crown Mary – not with new crowns, but with a replica of the crowns that once adorned the Miraculous Picture. These crowns are a fairly faithful reproduction of the Clementine crowns. Still, of course, they also have the expression of the artistry of the master who made them. Nevertheless, they remind us of that very great event of 1717.”

The new crowns for Our Lady of Czestochowa are made of silver laminated with 18-carat gold. They are decorated with more than 300 blue topazes, 105 natural pearls and many other jewellery elements. Angels support the crowns, made using a special firing technique and hand-painted. Everything is made by hand. Work on the designs took a total of three years. The making of the crowns alone took four months of difficult work. There are 12 stars in the large crown. In the surviving engravings, the crowns of Pope Clement XI had nine of them.

“We proposed to the Pauline Fathers to add another three stars as an element of the Holy Trinity,” said Michele Affidato, the master goldsmith from Crotone, the maker of the crowns, talking about the idea and the realisation of the design of the crowns for Our Lady.

“It was all born like a beautiful fairy tale, from the beginning, a fairy tale that ended the way we see it. Our Lady guided me by the hand throughout this project,” – said the goldsmith. He emphasised that he was first invited to Jasna Góra by a family friend, the Pole Katarzyna Mościńska.

“It is a great honour for me to have been able to contribute to this jubilee celebration,” affirmed Michele Affidato, “With these crowns, I did not beautify Our Lady because She was already beautiful, but I hope that these crowns have added to Her splendour. Furthermore, the artist expressed his conviction that the crowns donated by the Diocese of Crotone, from which he comes, will contribute to bringing the two Marian shrines – Jasna Góra and Capocolonna – even closer together. In the shrine of Madonna di Capocolonna, an image of the Virgin Mary has been venerated since the 12th century, as in Częstochowa.

“This is a great joy for me. I experience it internally and spiritually, both as an artist and as a believer. It is also an example of my devotion, my reverence for the Mother of God. I must also mention my many meetings with Pope John Paul II. He personally offered me the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa. And when I look at the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, I always recall this great Pilgrim of Peace,” said the master goldsmith in Crotone.

Mrs Catherine Moscinska lived in Calabria, Italy, for many years. Her husband was a friend of Michele Affidato. Mrs Catherine, a Czestochowa resident, told the Italian master a lot about the Miraculous Icon of Jasna Gora. “I invited him to Jasna Góra, and he came. The project was that he wanted to donate something for Jasna Góra. But we didn’t know what it would be. And then slowly, slowly, it came about that the project of crowns for the 300th anniversary of the first coronation was born. There was a meeting with the Pauline Fathers, and the whole project of looking at historical documents, from which he later drew, began.”

“We are very grateful to our benefactor Michele Affidato, and we are grateful to the Diocese of Crotone, which has contributed very concretely to the creation and funding of the crowns,” said Fr Sebastian Matecki, spokesman of Jasna Góra – With this diocese, the benefactors of the Jasna Gora sanctuary – special, deep bonds of friendship and cooperation have been established”.

Also present at the conference were representatives of the Italian Diocese of Crotone: Don Bernardino Mongelluzzi – Rector of the Capocolonna Shrine, and Don Serafino Parisi – Rector of the Basilica of Crotone.

The journalists were also introduced to the initiative of the celebrations of the 300th anniversary of the coronation of the Miraculous Picture itself. Father Mariusz Tabulski, definitor of the Pauline Order, responsible for the course of the jubilee celebrations, summarised the events of the Jubilee year so far and presented the programme for the coming year’s initiatives. Fr Tomasz Tlałka, co-ordinator of the “Living Crown of Mary” and “Selfie for Mary” events, spoke about the campaign action. The press conference was conducted by the editor Izabela Tyras of Radio Jasna Góra.

Fr. Stanislaw Tomon
2017-07-28, Friday, 10.30 am

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