Virgin of Czestohova. 4.25\”x3.50\” Made In Russia. Also available in Medium and Small . While the Virgin of Czestohova is generally viewed as a “Polish” icon, it is very popular among Orthodox Christians throuhgtout Russia. A few years ago, a copy of the icon in an Orthodox church located on the Russian-Polish boarder started bleeding where the original icon was cut centuries ago. The icon, also known as the is also very popular among the Haitian people. The fest day of icon is March 6th.
CZESTOCHOWA – this is an enhanced translation of the historical text included with the back of the icon
It is doubtful whether any other representation of Our Blessed Mother with Her Divine Child, possesses a more ancient and glorious history than the painting of Our Lady of Czestochowa.
Tradition tells us that St. Luke painted it on the top of a cypress wood table which came from the home of the Holy Family. At the request of the faithful, Mary sat for the portrait. She was pleased with the finished portrait, saying “My grace shall accompany it.” So began the miraculous history of the painting.
Venerated for nearly 300 years while hidden in Jerusalem, the painting was discovered by St. Helen while searching for the True Cross. She brought it back to Constantinople and presented it to her son, Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor of Rome. Constantine built a chapel for the portrait and where it remained in for five centuries.
Miracle upon miracle was attributed to the intercession of Mary by persons praying before the portrait. Over the years, many enemies laid siege to Constantinople. The chapel became a center of hope for the people of the city. During one attack the city seemed ready to fall, but the people rallied to the painting and the city was saved. Another time the city was under attack and the chapel caught fire. Everything was destroyed except a small section of wall upon which hung the painting of Mary and Jesus. The intense heat and soot from the fire had darkened the already dark olive features of Mary and Jesus.
Eventually it was given as a gift by the Byzantine Emperor to a Ruthenian nobleman. The portrait was brought to Kiev and installed in the Royal Palace of Belz. It remained there for 579 years.
In 1382 the painting received an injury from invading Tartar’s. An arrow pierced it, leaving a scar which is still visible on the neck. Concerned with the safety of the painting, Prince Ladislaus Opolski decided to move it to one of his castles in Upper Silesia.
On the brow of a hill called Jasna Gora (“bright hill”) — and within a few paces of the town of Czestochowa — the horses drawing the wagon with the painting stopped. No amount of coaxing or goading could make them go on. Mary appeared to Ladislaus and told him that this spot was to be Her new home. The Miraculous Image was placed in a chapel and given to the care of the Basilian monks of the Greek Rite. A few years later, Prince Ladislaus gave its care to the Latin Rite Hermits of St. Paul, who are still there to this day.
The remarkable history of the painting continued. It figured prominently in the heroic and successful defense of Poland against invaders who were enemies of the Church. Over time, the monastery at Jasna Gora became a monastic fortress — and the focal point for Polish nationalism.
In 1655, the monastery held out against a mighty Swedish army. In 1683, it was the Turks who attacked. And, in 1920, the Bolsheviks. As a result of these and other historical events, Our Lady of Czestochowa was crowned as Queen of Poland. Her Feast is observed on May 3 which is also the anniversary of the Polish Constitution.