Our Lady of Sorrows, Queen of Poland
Our Lady of Sorrows, Queen of Poland, Our Lady of Licheń, or Virgin of Licheń is a Roman Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary, most likely painted in 1772. The icon is housed at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lichen, in central Poland, which was built to honor it, and receives about 1.5 million pilgrims per year.
In the central image, the Virgin Mary has a gold dress, is being crowned by two angels and is surrounded by a ring of stars. Below the image a ribbon carries the inscription: "Queen of Poland, give us days of peace." The image measures 9.5 × 15.5 cm and is on larger panel of 16 × 25 cm. There is a second crown above the image, on the larger panel.
Legend and history
According to legend, a Polish soldier (called Thomas Kłossowski) was wounded in the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 and had a vision of the Virgin Mary who saved him from death and instructed him to look for the image upon his return to Poland. Kłossowski is then said to have looked for and found the image in the woods in Grąblin as instructed.
According to oral tradition, in 1850 Kłossowski and shepherd Nicholas Sikatka witnessed several apparitions of the Virgin Mary who called for repentance and prayer. In the apparitions, the Virgin reportedly predicted war and a cholera epidemic, but also gave hope. During the cholera plague of 1852, the image became famous for performing miracles.
On September 29, 1852 the image was moved to the parish church in Licheń and remained there until 2006. On August 15, 1967 the image was formally crowned by the Cardinal.
In 1994 the construction of the new basilica of Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lichen was started to house the image and accommodate the large number of pilgrims. Pope John Paul II blessed the basilica in 1999. The basilica is Poland's largest church, the seventh largest in Europe and eleventh in the world. On July 2, 2006 the image was placed in the main altar of the basilica.
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