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Pilgrimage Church and Monastery - Márianosztra, Hungary

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The Pauline Monastery and Church was founded in 1352 - Márianosztra, Hungary The Pauline Monastery and Church was founded in 1352

The Pauline monastery of Márianosztra is a well-known place of pilgrimage long ago, it was founded by Louis I (the Great) King of Hungary in 1352. By the way, the Pauline Order (Order of Saint Paul the First Hermit) is the only one male order that was founded in Hungary. The town was organized around the monastery and probably named after the church that was dedicated to Our Lady of Hungary (Virgin Mary). The name of the town is derived from the latin term Maria Nostra which means "Our Mary".

The sanctuary and the main altar of the church - Márianosztra, Hungary The sanctuary and the main altar of the church

The former church of Márianosztra was ruined during the Turkish occupation of Hungary, so a new baroque church was built (designed by Máté Vépi Pauline monk), which was then consecrated in 1729 and this can be seen today. Except for some shorter periods the church and the monastery was owned by the Paulines until 1786, when Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Hungary dissolved this religious order by a decree. Although the church continued to function, the monastery was empty right until 1858. Then by the order of the emperor it was converted to a women's prison and its management was passed to the Vincentian Sisters. By 1950 during the Communist era it became a penitentiary and prison for men. Between 1989-1991 those premises and buildings which were not used by the correctional facility were passed back to the Pauline monks to take care.

The main altarpiece is a replica of the Miraculous Black Madonna of Częstochowa devotional picture (icon), it was a gift of Polish monks - Márianosztra, Hungary The main altarpiece is a replica of the Miraculous Black Madonna of Częstochowa devotional picture (icon), it was a gift of Polish monks

At the time of the Ottoman rule in Hungary the Pauline monastery and church were ravaged and plundered, the building complex was begun to be ruined. The reconstruction of the building and the recovery of the monastic life could have begun again in 1712, thanks to the foundation of György Széchenyi and the monks who arrived here from Częstochowa town, Poland. These monks also brought a replica of the famous miraculous Black Madonna of Częstochowa with themselves and gave it to the Paulines as a gift. The rapidly growing popularity and respect of the picture was also expressed by crowns, which were painted on the head of Mary and the child Jesus in 1749. However, the current "crowns" on the figures of the picture were created later, these headgears imitate the Hungarian Holy Crown and were placed on the devotional picture just in 1983 by the request of Cardinal Archbishop László Lékai.

Częstochowa is a city and famous place of pilgrimage in Poland. The famous Black Madonna or Our Lady of Częstochowa icon (sacred picture) is kept here in the Pauline monastery of the 293-meter-high Jasna Góra ("Luminous Hill"). Allegedly the devotional picture has miraculous power, but it is also one of the symbols of the Polish Catholicism and independence. The icon picture was arrived into Poland into the Jasna Góra Monastery in 1382, from Jerusalem through Constantinople and Belz. The monastery was established by King Louis the Great (Louis I of Hungary) also in 1832, then in the same year he gave it to the Hungarian Pauline Order (Order of Saint Paul). According to a legend the icon was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist himself on a cedarwood board.

There are at least two authentical copies of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa icon in the present-day Hungary. One was a gift of the Polish people in 1994, for the 60th anniversary of the event when the Pauline Order came back to Hungary. This one was placed in the Gellért Hill Cave Church in Budapest, and in 2011 another replica was placed into the St. Stephen's Basilica also in Budapest city.

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