Prayers in front of the miraculous image of Our Lady of Częstochowa are the principal aim of pilgrims arriving at Jasna Góra. The image is one of the best recognised symbols of Christianity in Poland.
The image of the Virgin Mary and Child venerated in the jasna Góra Shrine is one of the icons of the “Hodegetria”, or “Indicating the Way” type. The icon is also known as the Black Madonna since
Mary’s face under the many layers of varnish is brown in colour. Legend has it that the image was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist on boards of the table used for meals by the Holy Family. Today scientists are inclined to accept one of two theories of the origin of the image.
According to one of them, it was made in the 6th or 7th century in Byzantium or in the 9th c. in Rus’. The other theory has it that it was painted in the 13th or 14th c. in Italy. The size of the painting
is 122.2×82.2×3.5 cm. Two parallel lines on the Virgin’s cheek at the height of the nose are a characteristic feature of the image. The scars are a remnant of the pillage of Jasna Góra in 1430, exposed
during the 1434 restoration of the image. The icon of Our Lady of Jasna Góra was first crowned with papal crowns in 1717 and since the 18th c. it has also been adorned with so-called dresses,
or decorative plates with gold, silver and gems.