The above picture is from the Wikimedia Commons
When we left Warsaw on the way to Krakow, we went to Czestochowa, a place of worship visited by millions of tourists and worshipers every year. The reason why it attracted so many visitors is because of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa (Polish: Czarna Madonna or Matka Boska Częstochowska, also known as Our Lady of Częstochowa, is a revered icon of the Virgin Mary housed at the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland.
“The origins of the icon and the date of its composition are still hotly contested among scholars. The difficulty in dating the icon stems from the fact that the original image was painted over, after being badly damaged by Hussite raiders in 1430″
The tourist guide is a priest: Father Simon. He is the most entertaining guide I ever met. He led us into a chapel where many fervent Catholics were worshipping. But he signalled to us to walk very fast behind him, and to be quiet of course. We passed by the Black Madonna at the altar, but it was too fast to take any decent pictures.
In it the Virgin directs attention away from herself, gesturing with her right hand toward Jesus as the source of salvation. In turn, the child extends his right hand toward the viewer in blessing while holding a book of gospels in his left hand. The icon shows the Madonna in fleur de lys robes.