By Neenah Payne
Pope Francis prays at the Black Madonna of Czestochowa shows Pope Francis worshipping the Black Madonna in a Mass celebrating the 1,050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland. The Black Madonna is the most revered icon across Europe from Russia to France. Why do Europeans worship a Black Mary and Jesus when they are always shown in America as White? Jesus is often depicted in the US with blond hair and blue eyes which would be highly unlikely for anyone from the Middle East.
“The Catholic Church played a vital role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade…. In fact, the Church was the backbone of the slave trade. In other words, most of the slave traders and slave ship captains were very ‘good’ Christians….The five major countries that dominated slavery and the slave trade in the New World were either Catholic, or still retained strong Catholic influences including: Spain, Portugal, France, and England, and the Netherlands.”
So, how is the worship of a Black Madonna and Jesus across Europe reconciled with over 400 years of European enslavement and brutality against Blacks in the Americas and Africa?
Holy Icon of Black Madonna of Czestochowa
In The Holy Icon of Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Lech Kowalewski explains that most Poles consider the Black Madonna of Czestochowa (pronounced “Ches-ta-hova”) the Queen of Poland and the icon is closely linked to the Polish nation. Poles believe the icon protected them on many occasions. The hymn “Invisible Victory” is sung only when the icon is present.
Kowalewski calls the Black Madonna “a very powerful woman” and explains that people have respected her power for centuries. There are many testimonies of people giving thanks for the icon’s help. The Black Madonna is venerated by people of many nations.
Pope Francis and Pope Benedict are very open about their devotion to the Black Madonna.
Why Is Our Lady of Czestochowa Black?
In Mother Angelica Live Classics – Our Lady of Czestochowa , Mother Angelica and Father Simon discuss Our Lady of Czestochowa, also known as “The Black Madonna”. Father Simon is from the Order of St. Paul which is entrusted with the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochova.
Father Simon explains that the icon is black because it was painted to look like the people of Jerusalem! Father Simon says during WWII, Hitler (a Catholic) and Heinrich Himmler visited Our Lady of Czestochova. He discussed the many miraculous healings attributed to The Black Madonna. Each year, 600,000 pilgrims (including teachers, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals) walk 15-21 days to visit the icon! There is also a pilgrimage for the workers of the Solidarity Movement.
Mother Angelica said only the Eucharist and Our Lady of Czestochova can provide world peace. Father Simon said people of Polish descent all over the world have shared that feeling for generations. However, Mother Angelica explained that devotion to Our Lady of Czestochova is widespread. They discuss the book The Shrine Of The Black Madonna At Czestochowa.
Miracles Attributed to the Black Madonna
The video Our Lady of Czestochowa (Feast Day 26-Aug) & The Rosary explains that the apostle Saint Luke painted the icon. The painting remained in Jerusalem until St. Helen found it around 326 AD and took it to Constantinople where her son, Emperor Constantine, built a church to house it.
Centuries later, the image alone defended the city from the Saracens. When the Muslims were about to attack, the image was taken in a procession around the city walls. That – and that alone – caused the Muslims to flee! The image remained in Constantinople until 1,000 AD when it was taken to the part of Russia that later became Poland. While it was there, the painting came under attack and was struck by an enemy’s arrow.
Since the painting was in danger, the decision was made to move it to a safer location. On the way, the wagon carrying the icon stopped in the city of Czestochowa for the night and the painting was placed in the Church of the Assumption. On the morning of August 26, 1382, when it was time to continue the journey with the painting, the horses hitched to the wagon refused to move. So, the painting has remained in Czestochowa for over 600 years.
The first five minutes of the video describe subsequent national miracles associated with the icon.
In 1430, a band of heretics was pillaging the monastery. They loaded the icon onto the cart to take it away. However, their horses also would not move! So, the heretics smashed the picture. One of the soldiers who smashed the painting fell to the ground with a pain that took his life.
In 1655, a Protestant army of 12,000 men attacked the monastery which was manned with only 300 monks and some guards. The Protestants were totally and disgracefully defeated with odds of 40 to 1.
A year later, King Casimir named the icon the “Queen of Poland”!
In 1920, the Russian army approached the city of Warsaw. The people of Poland fled to Mary for protection and her image appeared in the sky over the city. The Russians withdrew without attacking!
Europeans Reserve Their Highest Regard For The Black Madonna
Amazon said of The Black Madonna, Christ, and the Black God and Goddess of the Bible by Gert Muller (no longer on Amazon):
“This is a powerful presentation of the astonishing fact that amongst White European nations their most sacred icons of the Madonna and Christ are black in colour. This book shows you the images in glorious technicolour. It is the only place where the profound national historical significance of these black images is discussed. They are so little known in comparison to their great importance.
A must buy for those interested in a historically correct image of not just Jesus Christ, but the whole concept of deity in ancient times. The God of the Bible is based on a Black God and Goddess! The Black Goddess of the Bible is actually named! Pictures of the Black God and Goddess are shown here! This knowledge led the author along a voyage of discovery involving the Hebrew and Canaanite role in the African fight for Western Asia. A must read for those interested in a Black Egypt and the African role in the Bible! This book is illustrated throughout with beautiful colour pictures!”
The Black Madonna and Christ: What The Da Vinci Code Did Not Say is by the same author.
China Galland wrote Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna.
Muller references The Cult of the Black Virgin by Ean Begg about which Amazon asks:
“Why are over 500 of the world’s images of the Madonna “black” or “dark”? And why are they so little known? A resurfacing of the powerful pagan goddesses of sexuality, the underworld and earth-wisdom, the Black Virgins are symbols of power and majesty, the other aspect of the traditional Madonna’s maidenhood or tender maternity. They personify the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant in a quest for lost feminine wisdom and the search for soul.
There are many icons of Mary that show black faces and hands. In France, these are called Vierge Noires-Black Virgins. Elsewhere, may be called Black Madonnas or the “other Mary.” Jung called her Isis, while others claim she is the symbolic remains of a prehistoric worship of the Earth Mother. She is generally connected with Cybele, Diana, Isis, and Venus, as well as with Kali, Inanna, and Lilith. Historically she is connected with the Crusades, the Islamic occupation of Spain, the Conquistadors, as well as the Merovingians and Knights Templars, who viewed her as Mary Magdalene. Ean Begg’s fascinating book investigates the pagan origins of the phenomenon as well as the heretical Gnostic-Christian underground stream that flowed west with the cult of Mary Magdalene and resurfaced in Catharism at the time of the Crusades, especially with the Templars.”
The Global Worship of the Black Madonna
The Black Madonna in Latin America and Europe: Tradition and Transformation by Malgorzata Oleszkiewicz-Peralba, The Black Madonna: Mysterious Soul Companion by Stephanie Giorgieff and Meetings With The Madonna by Jan Dobraczynski explore this surprising global reality.
“A cultural icon, the Black Madonna is a blend of the Virgin Mary and ancient mother-goddesses from Eurasian, Native American, and African cultures. She is worshipped and adored by millions of people around the world. In this examination of the dark mother archetype, Oleszkiewicz-Peralba explores the Black Madonna’s functions in the varied cultures of Poland, Mexico and the American Southwest, Brazil, and Cuba. In these four geographic settings, the Black Madonna has become a symbol of national identity, resistance against oppression, and empowerment for the female population.
The opening chapter considers the Black Madonna in early East-Central European popular spirituality, folklore, and symbolism. Chapter two discusses the Virgin of Guadalupe and the creation of national mestizo identity in Mexico. The third chapter follows up with a study of Afro-Indo-European syncretism involving the Black Madonna in Brazil and the Caribbean. The fourth and final chapter discusses the Madonna in the form of the Virgin of Guadalupe in greater Mexico and the Latino United States.
As shown in The Black Madonna in Latin America and Europe, this revered image has been a symbol of motherhood, protection, and identity in public ceremonies and private devotions, while subtly becoming a visible manifestation of the blending of cultures and religious beliefs over time and place.”
The African Unconscious: Roots of Ancient Mysticism and Modern Psychology says about the Black Madonna:
“Numerous shrines throughout this century have been erected to her, most notably the Black Madonnas of Montserrat in Catalan Spain, Czestochowa in Poland, and Guadalupe in Mexico. These Black mother figures are spiritually embedded in the deeper regions of the shared unconscious. They are all derived from the cult of Isis of ancient Egypt, and were taken from that migration of civilization up into Europe and Greece. The city of Paris is named for her, that is, the par, or temple, of Isis.”
The Black Madonna’s Tour of Europe, Asia, Canada, and America
The 2014 video The Black Madonna of Częstochowa w/ Fr. Peter West explains that Human Life International, a Catholic educational pro-life organization, took a copy of The Black Madonna of Czestochowa on a tour across Europe and the United States to promote its support for life.
This replica was given to the Russian Orthodox Pro-Life Movement which decided to have the icon go an international pro-life tour called “From Ocean to Ocean”. At the time of the interview, the icon had visited 24 countries in Europe and Asia and 22 states in the US and two provinces in Canada. When the icon arrives at a parish, attendance usually doubles.
Black Madonna: Most Revered Icon in Europe
The Black Madonna is still the most revered religious icon across Europe from Russia to France. Black Madonnas in Various Countries says:
“Black Madonnas: Still Black and Still Venerated. Many images of the Black Madonna still exist today. Ean Begg reports the existence at one time or another of 450, mostly in Europe, and Marie Durand-LeFebvre reported on 272, mostly in France. Following are listed those images of the Black Madonna which according to reports still exist, are still black and can still be seen.”
Two Branches of Christianity: Patriarchal and Matriarchal
The Cult of the Black Virgin by Ean Begg is a sweeping investigation of the Black Madonna in Europe. It explains that there have always been two strands of Christianity. The patriarchial branch established by Peter and Paul used in the brutal Inquisition to crush the feminine branch represented by the Knights Templar, the Cathars, and the Gnostics.
Anyone who challenged the orthodoxy risked being labeled a “witch” and burned at the stake. Begg says there has always been “the unacceptable paradox at the heart of Christianity – a religion of love imposed by force”. Begg points out that in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Jesus advised his disciples to follow Thomas after Jesus’ death. Begg explains that James likely “represented the original Judaeo-Christian Gnostic teaching, which was also associated with Mary Magdalene, and which saw itself as betrayed by the later orthodox Catholcism that claimed to be the Church of Peter and Paul.”
Begg asks: “Is the Black Virgin a symbol of the hidden Church and the undergrouond stream?” He points out that: “The Everyman Dictionary of Non-Classical Mythology sees in the Black Virgins the continuation of the cult of Isis, as Christianity took over her chapels and her images”. He adds that “The Black Virgin reminds us that we have an alternative, and that not all roads lead to Rome. Isis, the alchemist, in whose myth are contained all the elements of the art, is still with us”.
The book advises:
“It is not only Christianity that is divided into two Churches…. Mary may stand for ….heretical Judaism. It is here that the origins of Gnosticism as a historical phenomenon are to be found, and it is here that the Jew and the Christian are at one. Always in the background of our story is the hidden history of Judaism, with its backsliding tendencies in the direction of the Goddess.”
The book explains that the growing worship of the Black Virgin represents the return of the power of the feminine as well as the worship of Isis and Maat, the Egyptian Goddess of Truth and Justice, whose principles kept Egypt enlightened for thousands of years.
“Our acient, battered, much-loved, little-understood Black Virgins are a still-living archetypal image that lies at the heart of our civilizaiton and has a message for us. The feminie principle is not a theory but real and it has a will of its own which we ignore at our peril….If she brings forth from her treasury things both old and new, we need to be wise to what possibilities are now on offer, before it is too late….There are signs that the goddess now requires to be worshipped in spirit and in truth through the law written in our hearts, rather than in temples built with hands.”
Black Madonna and Egyptian Goddess Maat
“The Return of the Black Madonna: A Sign of Our Times or How the Black Madonna Is Shaking Us Up for the Twenty-First Century” describes the 10th gift of the Black Madonna:
“The Black Madonna calls us to our Divinity which is Compassion. Compassion is the best of which our species is capable. It is also the secret name for Divinity. There is no spiritual tradition East or West, North or South that does not exist to instruct its people in how to be compassionate. “Maat” is the name for justice, harmony, balance and compassion among the African peoples. The Black Madonna calls us to Maat.”
Neenah Payne writes for Activist Post and Natural Blaze
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