A Győri Egyházmegye lapja
Különszám a kegykép Győrbe érkezésnek 350. évfordulójára 2005.
The story of the picture of the Virgin Mary in Győr
Heavy attacks broke out in Ireland during the 17th century upon the Catholics and especially towards the leading pastors. The English conquered the lands of the "Till Death" faithfull Catholics during the period of the Age of Renewal. The oppression grew during the un. people’s revolt. Oliver Cromwell, on the day of our Blessed Virgin Mary in 1649 landed on the Irish coast with the aim of exterminating, as in his words, "blasphemous mass going Catholics" and that "The Irish can go to hell or Connaught", (the country’s western front) was his slogan . He and his fanatic army vanquished one Irish town after another and in many cases, went against his oath given, and killed the town’s inhabitants. Even within the church’s alters he murdered people. "Our life you can take, but not our faith" shouted the defenseless Catholic women of Wexford.
When the English parliamentary troops reached Clonfert in June, 1651, Bishop Walter Lynch moved to his native town of Galway, because he could not serve in his episcopal residence now. Only the oppression did not stop, and Galway was conquered as well in 1652-1653. After the surrender of Galway, Bishop Walter Lynch accompanied by several other bishops and priests escaped to the Atlantic island of, Inisbofin. where they suffered much privation. In the end the island also surrendered in 1653. The people who were found there, were said to have been expelled to Spain. Upon some unforseen events, Bishop Lynch was taken to Flandria and then in 1655 he was found in Vienna. Here he met the bishop of Győr, János Püsky who then invited his homeless fellow-bishop to Győr and to insure him a suitable income Bishop Püsky appointed him canon then later named him as assistant bishop. The Irish bishop was planning to return to his native home in Ireland, but then in 1663 on July 14, he passed away. He was buried in the crypt of the Cathedral in Győr, but his resting place can no longer be identified. His most valued possession that he brought from Clonfert or Galway was the painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Holy Child which was then stationed at the Cathedral in Győr somewhere near a pillar of St. Anne’s alter.
On March 16, 1697 in Dublin the parliament was in session in order to introduce the strictest law against the Catholics so far. This became the Act of Banishment, which received the royal approval of William III. This act expelled all that were faithfull to the Pope, all clergical persons and monks, and if for any reason they would attempt to return, the death sentence would await them. On the next day, on March 17, St. Patrick’s day, the day of the Irish Apostle, the shedding of Bleeding Tears manifested in Győr.
With the death of the Irish bishop Walter Lynch in 1663, the devotional painting was then stationed at the Győr Cathedral. In 1697, on March 17, between the morning hours of 6 and 9, in the presence of many priests and worshipers, the devotional picture bleed tears. From its wall, the priests removed the picture and all its ornaments were also removed as they continued to witness the phenomenon. With a small linen cloth called "sudarium" they absorbed the holy Blood . This "sudarium" is to this day offered to worshipers to view Of this miraculous event, Duke Agost Keresztely, bishop of Győr, ordered the picture examined and 7 years later he allowed it to be returned to the alter. Emperor Lipot I donated his cross, which was encrusted with 43 diamonds to the devotional picture.
The devotional picture’s first station was built by count Heister Siegbert. As the royal imperial military governor of Győr, he must have observed the event, together with his wife. With the approval of the county bishop in 1708, and out of count Heister Siegbert’s own expense, he built the alter for the picture. This of course was but a Baroque wooden alter, so count Ferenc Zichy, county bishop, rebuilt a fantastic marble replacement in 1767. to express his devotion, On his tomb he had written: "Upon this site I have constructed for You, God’s mercifull Mother, an alter. For myself a tomb, so with your only Son and with Your influence, may the worshiper’s prayers serve for my soul’s salvation. Until then at this alter, which is blessed for You, in its shade I shall rest. Yours throughout all eternal truth." With these words of his, from that day forth, many thousands of devoted worshipers feel the same way towards the devotional picture.
The many foundations,personal wills, and pledges of gifts demonstrate the loyalty of priests and devoted worshipers alike. Since 1947, without interruption, the pilgrimage of priests has been conducted on March 17, an event which even the Communist regime did not dare to disallow. On the following Sunday and the 25th of the month, there are followers with their unstoppable worship, which is then accompanied, venerably by a Croatian speaking celebration on the first Sunday in May.
© Hitvallás - a Győri Egyházmegye folyóirata - 2002-2005
Web: Vaday Tamás