Logo Polskiego Radia

Polish Catholics mark Feast of Assumption

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 15.08.2018 11:37
Poles headed to churches in droves on Wednesday as the country celebrated the Catholic Feast of the Assumption.
Jasna Góra. Photo:  PAP/Waldemar DeskaJasna Góra. Photo: PAP/Waldemar Deska

As part of the observances, pilgrims from throughout the country have descended on the Jasna Góra shrine in the southern city of Częstochowa, home to the nation’s venerated Black Madonna icon.

Some of the pilgrims ran, cycled or rollerbladed, according to public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency.

Last August, some 100,000 pilgrims flocked to the Jasna Góra shrine.

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been celebrated by Catholics for centuries. In Poland, it has a distinctive flavour and sees the culmination of a time-honoured pilgrimage season.

Centuries of tradition

The tradition of pilgrimages to the Jasna Góra shrine goes back centuries. Every year pilgrims follow dozens of trails, some of which are several hundred kilometres in length.

One trek starting in Świnoujście in the northwest of the country is over 600 km long and takes pilgrims more than three weeks to complete.

The Black Madonna is considered Poland’s most important icon. A small painting of the Virgin Mary on a wooden panel, it has hung in the Pauline monastery in Częstochowa since 1384. It is venerated by Roman Catholics and Christians from across the world.

National symbol

The Jasna Góra monastery is a site of special historical and spiritual significance for Poles. Its heroic defence during a Swedish invasion in 1655 made it a national symbol.

It was also a symbol of national identity when the country was under foreign rule from 1795 to 1918 and became so again during the communist era after World War II.

Last year, Jasna Góra attracted around 4 million visitors.

Ninety-three percent of Poles declare themselves to be Catholic, according to Roman Catholic Church officials.


Copyright © Polskie Radio S.A About Us Contact Us