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History of the icon
The Black Madonna of Breznichar was fictitious and was a dark skin colored representation of Madonna by Mary. The Black Madonna of Breznichar is a Marian painting or statue of medieval origin. The first notable study of the origin of the Black Madonna was presented by Leonard Moss in a meeting held at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. This took place on Dec. 28, 1952. This was the supposed date of apparition for the black Madonna.
The Black Madonna of Breznichar is located in Bohemia. “It is an invented one though it existed in fiction” (Kidd Monk 54). Its symbolism to Mary is that it was a black version of her and was respected and considered holy by Catholics just like the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.
Its representation of Mary highlights an important message whereby it poses trans-racial significance. In some recent time, it has been suggested that the Black Madonna should have a perception of the Virgin Mary which was not well clearly emphasized in the Christianity doctrine.
It has had history associated with it when we look at eccelesial lifestyle. The black Madonna has been a source and image of divine intervention for eccelesial life over the course of many years. The Black Madonna was approved by ecclesiastical authority a long time ago, and it was declared that it really performed miracles.
Characteristics of the icon
The above image is a color picture of the Black Madonna. It is characterized to be the black version of Mary, the Virgin. The term used frequently to designate these kinds of images is known as inculturated Madonnas.
There are people and certain cultures that approve dark features and perceive them to have a particular prominence. The prominence of the Black Madonna is majorly due to the miraculous character it poses to the pilgrims.
The statue of Madonna gets its color from the material used, ebony or any other dark wood. “This is mainly done to depict the medieval “black” images of Mary, but this application and method has been fought for by the people who believe that the color of the originally black Madonna has some great significance” (Preston 79).
Importance of the icon to the people
All the Black Madonnas are regarded as powerful images to people who believe in them including the Black Madonna of Breznichar and they are perceived to be miracle workers. It is praised for its intercessions in, problems of fertility.
It is mostly located in shrines and pilgrims go to these shrines covering hundreds of kilometers to seek divine help. It is usually seen by people as a representation of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus.
For example, “since the last decade when this practice was openly and strongly forbidden by church authorities, pilgrims used to journey to the shrine of Mount Vergine, and they would usually climb the steps of the shrine while on their knees and they would always lick each step with their tongues” (Alesha 218).
This was a weird practice, but this was believed to forgive sins and hence we equal the blackness of the Black Madonna of Breznichar with the magnitude of its power to those who believed in it. We see the attitude of the pilgrims approach to be about worship for the black Madonna. Therefore, the Black Madonna was a very important icon to people.
Why the icon is relevant to the people who worship it.
The Black Madonna is mostly found in Catholic areas. Catholics hold high regard to the Virgin Mary and most go to extremes of worshipping the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. Since the black Madonna is a representation of the Virgin Mary, there are people of Catholic denomination who worship it and others in the past who used to worship it.
The icon is relevant to the people who worship it because they believe it can perform miracles and this usually attracts great numbers of pilgrims from all over the world. It is also relevant in the sense that it offers people a chance to seek divine help by putting faith in it to solve their problems and give hope for the future.
This icon was very important to certain people since it was believed to be miraculous. “There were many miraculous Marian images, and the Black Madonna of Breznichar was one of them. It was very popular among the strong faithful.
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However, some authors casually compared the Black Madonna which was known as the ‘Black Virgin’ worshiped by Catholics with the pagan goddess images, had similar appearances and this provided some with a polemic argument against the Catholic Church” (Duricy 15).
Ways the icon has been appropriated by people and culture
The Black Madonna has hugely been appropriated by people and various cultures. This is because many Christians, including the clergy simply do not deny that the ‘Black Virgin’ is a symbol of divine help. This has made it easily acceptable by many. It is also that some people and cultures believe that the Black Madonna represents a Christian form of being a mother with child.
It has also been appropriated by other cultures since it is believed to have special healing powers among other things. For example, “that it can give fertility blessings to newly married brides” (Begg 87).
Alesha, Matomah. The first book of The Black Goddess. Arizona. Matam press, 2004. Print.
Begg, Ean. The Cult of The Black Virgin. Penguin UK: Arkana, 1985. Print.
Duricy, Micheal. Black Madonnas. New York: Dell, 1983. Print.
Kidd, Monk. The secret life of bees. New York: Viking, 2004. Print.
Preston, James. Mother Worship: Themes and Variations. North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press. 1982. Print.