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Our Lady of Mariapócs

Our Lady of Mariapócs

– Father Johann G. Roten, S.M.

Pócs, now Mariapócs (2800 inhabitants), Szabolcs—Szatmár County in the North-Eastern region of Hungary.

St. Michael the Archangel Church (Byzantine Catholic Rite). Pius XII raised the Church to the status of basilica in 1946.

The original of this icon is in the St. Stephen Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. The icon from the latter part of the seventeenth century is a typical Hodegetria, the Mother pointing with her right hand to the child sitting on her left arm.

The Mariapócs icon is considered a weeping Madonna, and thus a miraculous image to which many cures and miracles are attributed. The first such event of weeping occurred in 1696 and led to the removal of the image from Pócs, and its installation over the main altar at St. Stephen’s in Vienna. Today, the icon is venerated at its own altar near the front right entrance of the basilica.

A copy of the original promised by the Austrian emperor replaced the weeping Madonna. Two events of weeping are recorded for this icon, one in 1715, the other in 1905. In 1756 the wooden church of Mariapócs gave way to a large stone church whose two towers were completed a century later, in 1856. Mariapócs became a site of frequent pilgrimages, and more miraculous happenings. The 1946 erection to basilica was a highpoint in the history of the shrine, and coincided with the 250th anniversary of the original icon’s weeping, and the 300th anniversary of the Union of Ungvar celebrating the union of Hungary’s orthodox Christians with the Church of Rome. Dormant during the Communist regime (1948–1989) Mariapócs draws again over half a million pilgrims annually. It has the reputation of being the largest pilgrimage shrine of the entire Byzantine Catholic Church.

Our Lady of Mariapócs is venerated in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland under the name of Maria Pőtsch. There are shrines in honor of Our Lady of Mariapócs in Matawan, New Jersey and Burton, Ohio.

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