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Friday, August 1st, 2014

The Black Madonnas Of Europe: Miracle Workers and Holy Icons

La Moreneta.  Black Madonna and Child statue at Montserrat, Spain.  Date unknown.  Photo courtesy of Runoko Rashidi

La Moreneta. Black Madonna and Child statue at Montserrat, Spain

Of all the varied aspects of African womanhood, none are more fascinating than the hundreds of representations of Black Madonnas. Indeed, the Black Madonnas of Europe are perhaps the most venerated icons in all of European Christendom. Their shrines have attracted millions of devotees. They are thought to be miracle workers, and their miracle-working powers are derived from their blackness.

In Russia during the nineteenth century, the celebrated Russian General Kutuzov had his army pray before the Black Madonna of Kazan before the historic battle with the Napoleonic army at Borodino. The same Madonna is said to have inspired Rasputin and may now be in the United States. At least two major paintings of Black Madonnas are on display in the Kremlin, in Moscow.

In reference to La Moreneta (the Little Black Lady), the Black Madonna of Montserrat, Spain – more than 1,000 years old and the patroness of the Catalonian region, it is said “He is not well wed who has not taken his wife to Montserrat.” She is in charge of sexuality and fertility, and presides over weddings and childbirth. In the mountains north of Barcelona, La Moreneta’s shrine has attracted millions of visitors, including pope John Paul II. Both Goethe and Schiller attached great importance to Montserrat.

Our Lady of the Pillar. Gothic Cathedral. Chartes, France.

Our Lady of the Pillar. Gothic Cathedral. Chartes, France

France probably has more representations of Black Madonnas than any other country. France has more than 300 representations of Black Madonnas, a chief center of which is Chartres – a small quiet town about 85 kilometers southwest of Paris. The most notable of the Black Madonna images in Chartres is called Notre-Dame du Pilier (Our Lady of the Pillar). This representation, about a meter high, of a Black Madonna statue made of natural wood placed on a pillar holding the infant Jesus. Both the Madonna and Child are colored a very dark brown and are dressed in white robes embroidered with gold. The images are highly venerated, especially among Catholics, and I confess that even I, out of respect, got down on both knees during my two visits to the cathedral and whispered a prayer.

The cathedral at Chartres is a large and magnificent edifice more than 800 years old and possessing marvelous original blue stained glass windows, at least two of which have Black Madonna figures right in the center. A copy of an original Black Madonna statue stands in a crypt underneath the main cathedral.

Many believe that the Black Madonnas of Europe represent vestiges of the adoration of the African goddess Ast, better known as Isis. Notre Dame Cathedral, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris, considered a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and at the very center of Paris, was built directly over an ancient temple of this supreme African deity. Indeed, it has been noted the name of Paris itself is derived from Park of Isis.

The Black Virgin of Paris. Date unknown.  Photo by Runoko Rashidi

The Black Virgin of Paris

In the quiet Chapel of the Congregation of S. Thomas of Villeneuve in a serene setting in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, stands one of the most important of the Black Madonna statues. She is La Vierge Noire de Paris (the Black Virgin of Paris) and consists of a two meter-high standing statue, carved of a single block of hard limestone, of a smiling Black Madonna holding the Christ child (the infant wears closely cropped nappy blond hair) and wielding a kind of wand or scepter capped by the flour de lys – symbol of the French monarchy. Atop her head sits a gold crown embedded with precious stones. The statue is dressed in a gown of rich red, blue, and white colors, the colors of the French flag. The Christ child himself is holding a golden cross and the entire image is believed to be more than 500 years old, and probably replaced a much earlier one.

One of the most important Black Madonnas in France is Our Lady of Le Puy. Located in the southern part of France, the statue may have originally been that of Ast/Isis. At Le Puy pope Urban II held council to prepare for the First Crusade. Joan of Arc sent the knights that accompanied her from Vaucouleurs to Chinon, along with her mother and two brothers, to Le Puy to pray there.

Our Lady of Rocamadour, a Black Madonna carved of walnut wood, is believed to be more than 1,000 years old. She is said to resuscitate babies, protect sailors, free captives, and promote fertility. To reach her shrine in southwest France one must climb 216 steps. Among her more notable visitors have been St. Louis of France and Henry II of England.

Die Schwarze Madonna at Einsiedeln, Switzerland.

Die Schwarze Madonna at Einsiedeln, Switzerland

La Negre, the Black Madonna of Montpellier, is one of the most notable of the Black Madonnas of France. She is said to have been performing miracles since 878 and is believed to have saved Montpellier from drought and plague.

Other famous Black Madonnas are found scattered throughout Europe, with some of the most notable examples in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and Poland. Of the hundreds of Black Madonnas which presently exist at assorted shrines in Europe, some are especially significant.

Our Lady of Hal, in the Church of St. Martin, just outside of Brussels, Belgium, dating from the early thirteenth century, is made of walnut, is believed to have defended the town on numerous occasions. Her visitors have included Henry VIII of England and Louis XII of France. The Black Madonna is believed to have saved Brussels from attackers in 1580, when she intercepted numerous cannon balls in her lap. The cannon balls can still be seen on display in the church. She is believed to heal sickness and restore the dead and buried to life. Her pilgrimage and procession are on the first Sunday in September.

Our Lady of the Hermits in Einsiedeln, Switzerland ranks as one of the most venerated of all Madonnas. Located in a Benedictine abbey, her titles include Die Schwarze Madonna, Madonna in the Dark Wood, and Our Dear Lady of Einsiedeln. She is a standing statue four feet tall. The Black Saint Maurice is one of the patrons of the Church.

Our Lady of Jasna Gora. Czestochowa, Poland.

Our Lady of Jasna Gora. Czestochowa, Poland.

And probably the most famous Black Madonna image in the world is Our Lady of Jasna Gora (dubbed the Queen of Poland by King John Casimir in 1656) in the Jasna Gora monastery at Czestochowa, Poland. Painted on three pieces of wood (either lime or cypress or cedar), the Black Madonna at Czestochowa, supposedly discovered in Jerusalem, arrived at the Jasna Gora monastery in the fourteenth century. Since her arrival her offerings have included thousands of diamonds and rubies, hundreds of pearls, and dozens of emeralds and sapphires.

Bruised, slashed, and battered, paraded before victorious armies, the Queen of Poland has gone through many restorations and has always kept her dark complexion. More than 800 copies of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa exist. Millions of visitors a year come to see her.

 

*Runoko Rashidi is an historian, lecturer and world traveler. He is the author of Black Star over Europe and African Star over Asia. To get information about Runoko, his tours, lectures and books, go to www.travelwithrunoko.com. send request to Runoko@yahoo.com

Comments

  1. GIVE UP BLACK MAN AND GIVE INTO YOUR MASTERS PAGAN DIET,LIFESTYLE,EDUCATION,RELIGION…ETC LOL GIVE UP AND GIVE IN…

  2. I cannot believe there is only one comment at this minute, on the Black Madonna and child, on a black site, and mostly christians. I read somewhere, one of the most recent popes, every year on one of his vacations he would visit the Black Madonna and child.

  3. Daniel Gaskins says:

    No comments because it challenges what people THINK they know about Christianity.

  4. Daniel Gaskins says:

    No comments because it challenges what people THINK they know about Christianity.

  5. Willie Porter Jr. says:

    There are many people out there that won't accept the truth

  6. Mohammed Shakur says:

    Lol this is rich. Many of my people go hard for thwat white effeminate looking christ yet here's the proof that whites adore us. Whites adore you, Black Woman. They pray to you, Black Woman. Wake up.

  7. GIVE UP BLACK MAN AND GIVE INTO YOUR MASTERS PAGAN DIET,LIFESTYLE,EDUCATION,RELIGION…ETC LOL GIVE UP AND GIVE IN..
    THIS MELANIN SATURATED BREED ARE TRYING TO FIND THEM SELF WHILE ADAPTING TO THE ENVIRONMENT ENGINEERED BY THERE MASTERS..SLAVE DESCENDENTS THINK THEY HAVE FREEDOM YOU JUST HAVE YOUR LEASH LENGTHENED LOL.. LOL..HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAAAA

  8. Shanell Davis says:

    This is really cool. I never knew there were Black Madonnas.

  9. my sister, the pictures of a white madonna are just recent development. Grew up in Africa andEurope. If only young black women realized how respected they once were.

  10. The Black Madonna or just the Madonna, was removed from Rome in either the 1st or 5th century–I'm not sure, and replaced with a more Eurocentric one. though Europe is mentioned here, the Black Madonna exists in Mexico and in the Americas!!!

  11. É um lugar qque já visitei e do qual guardo gratas recordações e muita fé na virgem

  12. Nia Nefertiti says:

    Amen… can i share a documentary with you my brother? called Hidden colors Parts 1 and 2 by tariq Nasheed. talks about alot of our hidden history

  13. Nia Nefertiti says:

    Aman Da Boss amen to that!

  14. Lolita Powell says:

    Yes, they have these images in Europe because the Europeans know the Israelites including Jesus are black ppl. It is black ppl who do not know their identity. The bible proves this to us in several ways, but ppl are so blinded by the lies that the truth cannot shine through even when it's right there for everyone to read. Deuteronomy 28 describes black ppl to a T. It says all of the things which have happened to us throughout history. Let me list them. 1.We were sold away on slave ships, never to see our home land again 2.taken captive by a nation whose customs and ways are not our own 3.we were sold away with no one to save us 4.our children were taken from us and we longed for them all the day long, but they never returned 5. we planted fields of food, but weren't allowed to eat of it's fruit 6. we built houses (the white house included) but were not allowed to live in them 7.our men married us only for another man to take us, rape us, and impregnate us 8. WE GO TO OUR ENEMY IN NEED OF ALL THINGS, food, shelter, clothing, water, and medicine. 9. we are an "astonishment, a byword to everyone" we are the most hated race among all races seen as animals we have no respect among other groups of ppl. >>Lastly, the Bible also says we will be "asleep" as a people we will suffer from confusion, not knowing our history…who we are..where we came from. The bible says that the ppl claiming to be children of Judah (Jews) are imposters and that their is no truth in their land and that when God comes back he will punish them for impersonating the children of Israel. I don't give a darn about Ann Frank they try so hard in public school to make us believe the lie. It's time to wake up and know who we are.

  15. Mohammed Shakur says:

    Nia Nefertiti I've seen them, Queen. Thanks. They were on point.

  16. In Trinidad we have a Black Madonna ,La Divina Pastora the patron Saint of the catholic Church in Siparia

  17. they worship us behind closed doors!!!

  18. yes…even in the vatican too!!!

  19. While I feel enlightened by your comment. I looked for it in Deuteronomy 28 KJV but could not find it. It did not relate to this topic. Did you by chance misquoted. Can you look it up again and give me the proper book as I would like to use it in my discussions. Thank you.

  20. Lolita Powell says:

    Patricia Walcott NKJV I summed it up. I gave you the correct info you just may perceive it differently or not relate as you said, which is fine. You're welcome.

  21. These catholic idols are actually not Mary and baby Jesus. They are idols of babylonian gods Sermiramis and Nimrod. http://1phil4everyill.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/z158541693.jpg

    Yes, Jesus was dark skinned. But more importantly, remember that whenever you see images of "Mary and Jesus" it's in reality NOT them at all.

  22. Patricia Walcott it was told to the hebrews that they be brought back into egypt(slavery) det.28 describes this there are many white, african scholars and historical documents confirming blacks as the hebrews and there being major hebrew cities in africa that fell to the muslims who then sold us to europeans. The jews there now are converts from a Slavic peoples. It is well know in the middle east that the original jews were black in the middle east as stated by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser . I can point you to plenty of proof including journals of royalty of that time that back this up

  23. Lolita Powell says:

    Fuquan Maleeck Thankx for adding to what I was trying to explain,maybe you've helped to clear it up for her now

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