Press Release from the Diocese of Shrewsbury

 Press Release from the Diocese of Shrewsbury

Friday 9th November 2012

For immediate release:

Icon of the Black Madonna to visit Manchester

The Diocese of Shrewsbury is to host a replica icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary as it travels from Vladivostock in Russia to Fatima in Portugal.

The icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa will be welcomed at St Anthony’s Church, Wythenshawe, by the Rt Rev. Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, at 4.30pm on Saturday November 10 and will remain in the church until early on the morning of Monday November 12 when it will be taken to Scotland.

It will be present in the church – the largest in the diocese – during 6.30pm Mass on Saturday and during 10am Mass on Sunday November 11.

The Diocese of Shrewsbury is just one of five dioceses in England to host the icon – also known as of Our Lady of Jasna Gora, or the Black Madonna of Czestochowa - during an “Ocean to Ocean” pilgrimage of prayer for the defence of human life and the family.

The icon will cover 23 countries and pass through Siberia, Kazakhstan, European Russia, the Baltic, and Central and Western Europe before it finally arrives in Fatima.

It is in the care of Catholic and Orthodox pro-life movements, who are inviting the faithful to offer prayers of intercession for the protection of human life.

Bishop Mark Davies said: “I am delighted to welcome the replica Icon of Our Lady of Jasna Gora to the Shrewsbury diocese with the invitation of the Ocean to Ocean pilgrimage to pray for the protection of God’s gifts of life and of the family.

“I hope that many will be drawn together in prayer around this revered image of the Mother of Christ and our Mother too.

“May this Icon which has held such a significant place in the struggles of Christ’s faithful people in Europe become for us a sign and promise of victory in the struggle with all that threatens the precious value of human life and the sanctity of the family today.”

The Most Rev. Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster said: “I hope and pray that as many families and individuals as possible will take the opportunity to gather before this image of Our Heavenly Mother to implore her favour and special protection upon our homes and our nation at this time.”

Before it arrives in the Diocese of Shrewsbury, the icon would have visited churches in Canterbury and Ramsgate in the Archdiocese of Southwark; the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Chiswick, West London, and Westminster Cathedral, London; St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham, and to the Slipper Chapel at the Marian shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, Norfolk.

From Manchester it will be shown in the cathedrals of Edinburgh and Glasgow and at the Marian shrines of Carfin. It will be taken to Ireland from November 16.

The Westminster Office for Marriage and Family Life and National Association of Catholic Families are collaborating in the Ocean to Ocean project.


 For further information

Please contact Simon Caldwell, communications officer for the Diocese of Shrewsbury, on either 07730 526847 or at

Or Catherine MacGillivray on either 020 7931 6064 or at


Twitter: @ShrewsRCnews

Read more about the pilgrimage at

Notes to editors:

The Black Madonna of Czestochowa has been intimately associated with Poland for the past 600 years, and there is a legend that St Luke who painted the image on a cedar table taken from the house of the Holy Family

One of the oldest documents from Jasna Gora dates the image from the 14th century and states it was brought from Jerusalem, via Constantinople, reaching Poland in August 1382.

Hussites who stormed the Pauline monastery in 1430 are blamed for the two scars on the cheek of the icon.

The Black Madonna is credited with miraculously saving the monastery of Jasna Gora from a 17th century Swedish invasion of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth when a small band of monks, led by their prior, and fortified by volunteers, defeated a superior force of Germans mercenaries in a battle that turned the course of the war.

The event led King John II Casimir Vasa to crown Our Lady of Czestochowa  as Queen and Protector of Poland in the cathedral of Lvov on April 1, 1656. The shrine in Czestochowa is the most popular pilgrimage destination in Poland.

The Diocese of Shrewsbury covers the parts of Merseyside south of the River Mersey, the southern parts of Greater Manchester, parts of Derbyshire, almost all of the county of Cheshire and all of Shropshire.


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