The Weeping Icon of Marijapovch On the 300th Anniversary of the First Miraculous Weeping
Among Carpatho-Rusyn Christians, the Weeping Icon of Marijapovch is revered because it stands for believers as a witness to the protection and intercession of the Most Holy Mother of God. The icon itself comes from and expresses the life of the Church in Eastern Europe. Its rich history reflects a deeply rooted faith in God and a trusting devotion to the Mother of God.
In the northeastern plains of Hungary, in the village of Povch (former Szabolcs County), stands the Monastery of the Basilian Fathers, with a magnificent church. Stefan Papp, brother of the pastor of the church in Povch, who had studied art in Italy, was engaged by Laszlo Csigri to write an icon of the Mother of God for the ikonostas. He painted the Virgin Mother on wood holding the Divine Infant with a three-petaled tulip in His hand. Unable to pay for the icon, Lorincz Hurta, a well-to-do parishioner, donated it to the church. In this church the first weeping of the icon of the Mother of God took place on November 14, 1696 according to the Julian calendar. The same miracle occurred again from December 8 to 19th of the same year. Needless to say, this miracle was a great consolation to the discouraged people of Povch. Ever since the first miraculous weeping, the village of Povch has been called Marijapovch (in Hungarian, Máriapócs).
When Leopold I, Emperor of Austria, had been informed of the miraculous icon, he immediately had it transferred to Vienna. This royal act did not please the people of Povch and they very reluctantly parted with the holy icon.
On December 1, 1697, the icon was placed above the tabernacle of the main altar in St. Stephen’s Basilica in Vienna. During the Second World War it was taken down to the grottoes of the basilica for safe-keeping. After the war it was placed above a new altar with a baldachin, close to the main entrance on the right-hand side of the basilica.
The carriage transporting the icon was delayed at each post depot on the route to Vienna by large groups of people, who had gathered to pay homage to the icon. Count Carbelli, a chamberlain of Emperor Leopold I, was so impressed by the piety and devotion of the crowds that he ordered a Jesuit Father from Košice to come to Barca, Abauj County, to make a copy of the icon for the church at Povch. When the icon was completed, the people formed a procession and carried the new icon to Marijapovch.
This second icon of Marijapovch began to shed tears on the first, second, and third of August in 1715. Devotion to the holy icon increased and the church at Marijapovch became a most renowned place of pilgrimage. Nearly two centuries passed before the third shedding of tears which took place in December 1905.
from text by +Very Rev. Msgr. Nicholas Alishofski
Our people did not forget their devotion to Our Lady of Marijapovch when they came to America.
Have we missed any? We’d like to know of other evidence in America of devotion to the “Marijapovch” icon!
In 1949, a prayerbook was published by the then-Greek Catholic Eparchy of Pittsburgh which contained private and liturgical devotions to Our Lady of Marijapovch. Sadly, these devotions are rarely, if ever, observed in parishes. However, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Byzantine Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico held a three-day prayer observance the weekend of November 2-3 in honor of the 300th anniversary of the first miraculous weeping in Marijapovch, with a procession & enthroning of the Marijapovch icon, and two days of Molebens and other devotions to the Marijapovch Mother of God. This is all the more remarkable since OLPH Church has not only Rusyns in its congregation, but Hispanics, Germans, Asians, and any other number of non-Slavic backgrounds.
Want to know more about Marijapovch and its weeping icons which have captivated the hearts and souls of our Carpatho-Rusyn people for generations? Write to C-RS for a free pamphlet, "Carpathian Miraculous Icons: Mariapovch." Please enclose $1 for postage unless ordering other items. Also, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Albuquerque is selling t-shirts featuring a color reproduction of the original Marijapovch icon. Adult sizes only: M, L, XL, $15 each + shipping (priority shipping $3, otherwise cheaper). The parish will invoice to get the shipping amount correct. Contact Our Lady of Perpetual Help Byzantine Church, 1837 Alvarado Drive NE, Albuquerque NM 87110-5113.
Prayer To Our Lady of Marijapovch
O weeping Virgin Mother, refuge of sinners, we call upon you to petition your Divine Son to obtain for us the forgiveness of our sins and an abundance of blessings for us and for those for whom we pray. Alleviate our sufferings, cure our ills, console us in our sorrows, help us to lead a virtuous life and guide us to eternal life.
O weeping Virgin, Mother of God remember us before your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen