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A Black Madonna or Black Virgin is a statue or painting of Mary in which she is depicted with dark skin, especially those created in Europe in the medieval period or earlier. The Black Madonnas are generally found in Catholic countries. The term refers to a type of Marian statue or painting of mainly medieval origin (12th to 15th centuries), with dark or black features whose exact origins are not always easy to determine. The statues are mostly wooden but occasionally stone, often painted and up to 75 cm (30 in) tall. They fall into two main groups: free-standing upright figures or seated figures on a throne. The pictures are usually icons which are Byzantine in style, often made in 13th- or 14th-century Italy. There are about 450–500 Black Madonnas in Europe, depending on how they are classified. There are at least 180 Vierges Noires in France, and there are hundreds of non-medieval copies as well. Some are in museums, but most are in churches or shrines and are venerated by devotees. A few are associated with miracles and attract substantial numbers of pilgrims.
- 1 Studies and research
- 2 History
- 3 Other Black Madonnas
- 3.1 Africa
- 3.2 Asia
- 3.3 Europe
- 3.3.1 Belgium
- 3.3.2 Croatia
- 3.3.3 Czech Republic
- 3.3.4 France
- 3.3.5 Germany
- 3.3.6 Ireland
- 3.3.7 Italy
- 3.3.8 Kosovo
- 3.3.9 Luxembourg
- 3.3.10 Lithuania
- 3.3.11 Macedonia
- 3.3.12 Malta
- 3.3.13 Poland
- 3.3.14 Portugal
- 3.3.15 Russia
- 3.3.16 Serbia
- 3.3.17 Slovenia
- 3.3.18 Spain
- 3.3.19 Switzerland
- 3.3.20 Ukraine
- 3.3.21 Turkey
- 3.3.22 United Kingdom
- 3.4 The Americas
- 4 Gallery
- 5 The Madonna as reflecting ancient cults
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Sources
- 9 External links
Studies and research
Important early studies of dark images in France were done by Marie Durand-Lefebvre (1937), Emile Saillens (1945), and Jacques Huynen (1972). The first notable study of the origin and meaning of the so-called Black Madonnas in English appears to have been presented by Leonard Moss at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science on December 28, 1952. Moss broke the images into three categories: (1) dark brown or black Madonnas with physiognomy and skin pigmentation matching that of the indigenous population; (2) various art forms that have turned black as a result of certain physical factors such as deterioration of lead-based pigments, accumulated smoke from the use of votive candles, and accumulation of grime over the ages, and (3) residual category with no ready explanation.
- It was to Notre Dame de Bonne Délivrance, formerly located at Saint-Étienne-des-Grès, nowNeuilly-sur-Seine (Hauts-de-Seine) in Paris, the Francis de Sales turned when, as a young man, he was dealing with religious scruples.
- On 23 July 1816 twelve Marist aspirants, priests and seminarians, climbed the hill to the shrine of Our Lady of Fourviere in Lyon, France and placed their promise to found the Society of Mary (Marists) under the corporal on the altar while Jean-Claude Courveille celebrated Mass.
Other Black Madonnas
- Algeria, Algiers: "Our Lady of Africa"
- Senegal, Popenguine: "Notre-Dame de la Délivrance",
- South Africa, Soweto: "The Black Madonna",
- Antipolo, Rizal: Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buen Viaje de Antipolo (Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage of Antipolo)
- Ermita, City of Manila: Nuestra Señora de Guia (Our Lady of Guidance)
- Lapu-Lapu, Cebu: Nuestra Señora de la Regla (Our Lady of the Rule)
- Naga, Camarines Sur: Nuestra Señora de Peñafrancia (Our Lady of Peñafrancia)
- Piat, Cagayan: Nuestra Señora de la Visitación de Piat (Our Lady of Piat)
- Brugge, "Our Lady of Regla"
- Brussels : "De Zwerte Lieve Vrouwo", St. Catherine Church
- Halle (Flemish Brabant) : Sint-Martinusbasiliek
- Liège: La Vierge Noire d'Outremeuse,
- Lier: Onze lieve vrouw ter Gratien
- Scherpenheuvel-Zichem: Our Lady of Scherpenheuvel
- Tournai: Our Lady of Flanders in Tournai Cathedral
- Verviers: "Black Virgin of the Recollects", Notre-Dame des Récollets Church,
- Walcourt: (Notre-Dames de Walcourt)
- Marija Bistrica: Our Lady of Bistrica, Queen of Croatia
- Brno: Assumption of Virgin Mary Minor Basilica, St Thomas's Abbey, Brno
- Prague: The Madonna of Breznice ; The Black Madonna in the Church Our Lady Under the Chain; The Black Madonna on the House of the Black Madonna.
- Aix-en-Provence, (Bouches-du-Rhône): Notre-Dame des Graces, Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur d'Aix
- Arconsat: (Notre-Dame des Champs)
- Aurillac, (Cantal): Notre-Dame des Neiges
- Beaune: Our Lady of Beaune
- Besse-et-Saint-Anastaise,(Puy-de-Dôme): Saint-André Church, Notre-Dame de Vassivière
- Bourg-en-Bresse,(Ain): 13th century
- Chartres,(Eure-et-Loir): crypt of the Cathedral of Chartres, Notre-Dame-de-Sous-Terre
- Clermont-Ferrand, (Puy-de-Dôme) 
- Cusset: the Black Virgin of Cusset
- Dijon, (Côte-d'Or)
- Douvres-la-Délivrande, Basilique Notre-Dame de la Délivrande, "Notre-Dame de la Délivrande"
- Dunkerque, (Nord) : Chapelle des Dunes
- Guingamp, (Côtes-d'Armor): Basilica of Notre Dame de Bon Secours.
- La Chapelle-Geneste, (Haute-Loire: Notre Dame de La Chapelle Geneste
- Laon,(Aisne): Notre-Dame Cathedral, statue of 1848
- Le Havre,(Seine-Maritime): statue near the Graville Abbey (Abbaye de Graville)
- Le Puy-en-Velay: In 1254 when passing through on his return from the Holy Land Saint Louis IX of France gave the cathedral an ebony image of the Blessed Virgin clothed in gold brocade (Notre-Dame du Puy). It was destroyed during the Revolution, but replaced at the Restoration with a copy that continues to be venerated.
- Liesse-Notre-Dame, (Aisne): Notre-Dame de Liesse, statue destroyed in 1793, copy of 1857
- Marseille,(Bouches-du-Rhône): Notre-Dame-de-Confession, Abbey of St. Victor ; Notre-Dame d'Huveaune, Saint-Giniez Church
- Mauriac, Cantal: Notre Dame des Miracles
- Mende, (Lozère) : Cathedral (Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Privat de Mende)
- Menton, (Alpes-Maritimes): St. Michel Church
- Meymac Abbey, (Corrèze)
- Molompize: Notre-Dame de Vauclair
- Mont-Saint-Michel: Notre-Dame du Mont-Tombe
- Myans, (Savoie)
- Quimper,(Finistère): Eglise de Guéodet, nommée encore Notre-Dame-de-la-Cité
- Riom,(Puy-de-Dôme): Notre-Dame du Marthuret
- Rocamadour, (Lot): Our Lady of Rocamadour 
- Soissons (Aisne): statue of the 12th century
- Tarascon, (Bouches-du-Rhône): Notre-Dame du Château
- Toulouse: The basilica Notre-Dame de la Daurade in Toulouse, France had housed the shrine of a Black Madonna. The original icon was stolen in the fifteenth century, and its first replacement was burned by Revolutionaries in 1799 on the Place du Capitole. The icon presented today is an 1807 copy of the fifteenth century Madonna. Blackened by the hosts of candles, the second Madonna was known from the sixteenth century as Our Lady La Noire.
- Tournemire, Château d'Anjony, Our Lady of Anjony
- Vaison-la-Romaine, (Vaucluse): statue on a hill
- Vichy, (Allier): Saint-Blaise Church
- Altötting (Bavaria): Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of the Miraculous Image)
- Beilstein (Rhineland-Palatinate): Karmeliterkirche St. Joseph
- Bielefeld (North Rhine-Westphalia)
- Düsseldorf-Benrath (North Rhine-Westphalia): Pfarrkirche St. Cäcilia
- Hirschberg an der Bergstraße (Baden-Württemberg): Wallfahrtskirche St. Johannes Baptist
- Schloss Hohenstein, Upper Franconia (Bavaria)
- Köln (Nord Rhein Westfalen): St. Maria in der Kupfergasse
- Ludwigshafen-Oggersheim (Rhineland-Palatinate): Schloss- und Wallfahrtskirche Mariä Himmelfahrt (Ludwigshafen)
- Mainau (Baden-Württemberg): Schlosskirche St. Marien
- Munich (Bavaria): Theatine Church; St. Boniface's Abbey
- Rastatt (Baden-Württemberg): Einsiedelner Kapelle
- Regensburg (Bavaria): Regensburg Cathedral
- Remagen (Rhineland-Palatinate): Kapelle Schwarze Madonna
- Spabrücken (Rhineland-Palatinate)
- Stetten ob Lontal, Niederstotzingen (Baden-Württemberg)
- Windhausen in Boppard-Herschwiesen (Rhineland-Palatinate)
- Wipperfürth (North Rhine-Westphalia): St. Johannes, Kreuzberg
- Wuppertal-Beyenburg (North Rhine-Westphalia)
- Biella (Piedmont): Black Virgin of Oropa, sanctuary of Oropa
- Canneto Valley near Settefrati (Lazio): Madonna di Canneto
- Casale Monferrato (Piedmont): Our Lady of Crea. In the hillside Sanctuary at Crea (Santuario di Crea), a cedar-wood figure, said to be one of three Black Virgins brought to Italy from the Holy Land c. 345 by St. Eusebius.
- Castelmonte, Prepotto (Friuli-Venezia Giulia)
- Loreto (Marche): Basilica della Santa Casa
- Naples (Campania): Santuario-Basilica SS Carmine Maggiore
- Positano (Campania): Located in the church of Santa Maria Assunta, the story of how it got there—sailors shouting "Posa, posa!" ("Put it down, put it down!")—gave the town its name.
- San Severo (Apulia): "La Madonna del Soccorso" (The Madonna of Succor), St. Severinus Abbot and Saint Severus Bishop Faeto. Statue in gold garments, object of a major 3 day festival that attracts over 350,000 people to this small town. The infant Jesus is white.
- Seminara (Calabria): Madonna near di seminara, Maria SS.Dei poveri
- Tindari (Sicily): Our Lady of Tindari
- Venice (Veneto): Madonna della Salute, Santa Maria della Salute
- Viggiano (Basilicata)
- Vitina-Letnica: Church of the Black Madonna, where Mother Teresa is believed to have heard her calling.
- Vilnius: Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn
- Kališta, Monastery: Madonna icon in the Nativity of Our Most Holy Mother of God church
- Ħamrun: a medieval painting of a Black Madonna rests in a small church, with the church being possibly the oldest one in the area, originally built in honor of St. Nicholas. Brought to Malta by a merchant in the year 1630, the painting is of a statue found in Atocha, a parish in Madrid, Spain, and is widely known as Il-Madonna tas-Samra. (This can mean 'tanned Madonna', 'brown Madonna', or 'Madonna of Samaria'). She may also be called Madonna ta' Atoċja, corresponding to the Spanish Nuestra Señora de Atocha. There were celebrations in 2005, the painting's 375th year in Malta.
- Częstochowa: Our Lady of Czestochowa
- Kostroma (Kostroma Oblast): Theotokos of St. Theodore also known as Our Lady of St. Theodore (Федоровская Богоматерь), in Theophany Monastery
- Andújar (Jaén): Our Lady of Cabeza
- Chipiona (Cádiz): The Virgin of Regla
- Coria, Cáceres (Cáceres): Our Lady of Argeme
- El Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz): The Virgin of the Miracles (Virgen de los milagros)
- Guadalupe, Cáceres: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Extremadura
- Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz): Nuestra Señora de la Merced (Our Lady Of Mercy)
- Madrid (Madrid): Our Lady of Atocha
- Majorca (Balearic Islands): Virgen de Lluc, Lluc Monastery
- Monistrol de Montserrat (Catalonia): Virgin of Montserrat in the Benedictine abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat
- Ponferrada (León): Virgin of la Encina
- Salamanca (Salamanca): Virgen de la Peña de Francia (The Virgin of France's Rock)
- Tenerife (Canary Islands): Virgin of Candelaria
- Toledo (Toledo): Virgen Morena (Dark Virgin), statue of La Esclavitud de Nuestra Señora del Sagrario in Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary (Catedral Primada Santa María) (The Enslavement of Our Lady of the Tabernacle)
- Torreciudad (Huesca): Our Lady of Torreciudad
- Einsiedeln (Canton of Schwyz): Our Lady of the Hermits
- Sonogno, Valle Verzasca (Canton of Ticino): Santa Maria Loretana
- Uetikon upon Lake (Canton of Zürich): Catholic Church Saint Francis of Assisi
- Metzerlen-Mariastein (Canton of Solothurn): Mariastein Abbey
- Ascona (Canton of Ticino): Black Chapel
- Lugano(Canton of Ticino): Chiesa di Santa Maria di Loreto
Three icons portraying the Theotokos with black skin survived in Turkey to the present-day, one of which is housed in the church of Halki theological seminary.
- Aparecida,(São Paulo): Our Lady of Aparecida (Nossa Senhora Aparecida or Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida) in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
- Andacollo,(Elqui Province): La Virgen Morena (Spanish for The Brunette Virgin)
- Cartago,(Cartago Province): Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles (Our Lady of the Angels Basilica)
Trinidad and Tobago
- Siparia : La Divina Pastora
The Madonna as reflecting ancient cults
According to Stephen Benko, "the Black Madonna is the ancient earth-goddess converted to Christianity." His argument begins by noting that many goddesses were pictured as black, among them Artemis of Ephesus, Isis, Ceres, and others. Ceres, the Roman goddess of agricultural fertility, is particularly important. Her Greek equivalent is Demeter, Earth Mother. The best fertile soil is black in color and the blacker it is, the more suited it is for agriculture.
- Duricy, Michael P., "Black Madonnas", Marian Library, Univ of Dayton
- "Fourviere", the Marist Places
- Rozett, Ella. "Our Lady of Africa", Algiers
- Rozett, Ella. "Notre-Dame de la Délivrance", Popenguine, Senegal
- Rozett, Ella., "The Black Madonna", Soweto, South Africa
- Baybay, Felicito S., "Patron Ng Kapayapaan At Mga Manlalakbay"
- "The Fiesta Celebration of the Virgen de la Regla"
- Darang, Josephine. "Special Mass for Our Lady of Piat held July 9 at Sto. Domingo Church", Philippine Daily Enquirer, June 26, 2011
- "Our Lady of Regla", The Marian Library, Univerity of Dayton
- Brno - The Black Madonna
- "Church of Our Lady Below the Chain in Prague", Prague.cz
- Channell, J., "Notre-Dame des Graces", Aix-en-Provence
- Channell, J., "Notre-Dame des Neiges", Aurillac
- "Notre Dame de Clermont". Web.archive.org. 2007-12-19. Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- Rozett, Ella. "Notre-Dame de la Délivrande", Douvres-la-Délivrande
- Channell, J., "Notre Dame de La Chapelle Geneste", Haute-Loire
- "Notre Dame du Puy, Cathedrale...: Photo by Photographer Dennis Aubrey". photo.net. 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- Channell, J., "Notre-Dame-de-Confession"
- Channell, J., "Notre-Dame des Miracles", Mauriac
- Rozett, Ella. "The Black Virgin of Meymac
- Channell, J., "Notre-Dame du Marthuret", Riom
- "Rocamadour", Vallee de la Dordogne
- Channell, J., "Notre-Dame du Château", Tarascon
- "Vierge des Croisades". Web.archive.org. 2007-12-19. Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
- Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe, Norman Davies
- Dhalai, Richard, "La Divina Pastora", Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, March 19, 2007
- Channell, J., "Black Virgin Sites in France"
- Rozett, Ella. "Index of Black Madonnas Worldwide", InterfaithMary.net
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Black Madonna.|
- List of Black Madonnas
- The Black Virgin - Karen Ralls
- Black Madonna gallery by Canon Jim Irvine, New Brunswick, Canada
- The Black Madonna "The work of God"
- Nuestra Señora de Atocha
- Black Madonna Pilgrimage to Central France
- Black Madonna photo collection on Flickr
- Black Madonnas and other Mysteries of Mary - Ella Rozett
- Sciorra, Joseph. "The Black Madonna of Thirteenth Street", Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore, Vol. 30, Spring-Summer 2004