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Black Madonna Monastery of Częstochowa
Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa is home to Poland's Black Madonna, the country's most important religious icon.
The city of Czestochowa is an important religious sanctuary connected with the cult of icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa, better known as the Black Madonna. There have been reports for centuries of miraculous events occuring to those who made a pilgrimage to the unique portrait. While the portrait is what the pilgrims mostly focus on, also the votive offerings collected in the monastry given to the Black Madonna over the centuries are worth seeing. Gifts range from swords and scepters to rosaries made of dried bread in concentration camp.
The monastery was founded in the 14th century by Pauline monks from Hungary. As pilgrims came to the monastery and donations to it grew, the monastery expanded. After word spread of miracles ascribed to the Black Madonna, the number of devout increased and the monastery's fame spread. Jasna Gora, meaning “Bright Hill,” developed itself into a complex that could handle many thousands of pilgrims and hosted visiting popes, including Pope John Paul II.
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