On this day, the presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary we are looking at an old Czech prayer to the Virgin Mary Mariazell from 1860. But before we do, a little bit of history…
Each of the countries of Central Europe had its “Sacrosanctum” in the Baroque era – a pilgrimage site that embodied its history and religious tradition, but also had a wider cultural and political significance. In Bohemia, the whole long and complex religious history of the kingdom was connected with the legendary history of Palladia of Bohemia, worshiped in Old Boleslav. Emperor Ferdinand III’s family officially dedicated the Virgin Mary Mariazell to the Austrian Habsburgs.
The history of the pilgrimage site in Mariazell is connected with the Czech kingdom. According to the legendary narrative given by Jan Tanner in Trophy sancti Wenceslai (Prague 1661), the heavily ill Margrave of Moravian Jindrich appeared in the dream of St. Wenceslas and commanded him to establish a Marian pilgrimage site in Mariazell. It is the merger of the main patron saint of St. Wenceslas, whose Habsburgs were very honored, and a pilgrimage site in Mariazell – the new Sacrosanct of the Habsburgs, had a great religious-dynastic significance. This was another confirmation of the validity of the Habsburg rule in Bohemia. Mariazell was also tied to Hungary by King Ludwig of Hungary, who, in 1344, led the Battle of Mary Mariazell in a victorious battle with raiders from the east.
From the second half of the 17th century and virtually until the demise of the monarchy in 1918, a number of noble and ordinary pilgrims from Bohemia travel to Mariazell. For them, relatively rich pilgrimage literature is published in the Czech language throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.
The great honorary of the Virgin Mary Mariazell was Count Bernard Ignac of Martinique. He made a copy of the Virgin Mary Mariazellské chapel in 1676 in the center of the church of Virgin Mary and Charles the Great in Karlovy Vary in Prague (later it was demolished). The copy was also publicly respected in the church of St. Karel Boromejsky in the New Town of Prague.
The Church of Our Lady in Chlum near Trebon, also called “Little Mariazell”, is actually a copy of the Styrian sanctuary. He built it as a gift for the miraculous rescue of Count Jan František of Fünfkirch in 1738-1745. Little Mariazell also called the chapel “Na louce” in Komárova in Moravia, which was built by Valentin Weiss, a peasant from Heršpice, in memory of the annual pilgrimage of the inhabitants of Brno. In her interior the people worshiped the picture of Madonna Mariazell. In 1784, however, the chapel was canceled and the painting was transferred to the parish church in Komárova.
Another pilgrimage site associated with the cult of the Virgin Mary Mariazell lies in eastern Bohemia – the church in Böhmisch-Rothwasser, standing on the “Pin” or “Mariánské hory”. Since 1790, people traveling to Mariazell have been gathering there.
But the actual Mariazell Basilica, which translates as the Basilica of the Virgin Mary, is located in Mariazell, Austria. The Marian basilica is one of the most is one of the most important temples located in Europe and tourists (and pilgrims) come from all over the world to visit the Basilica. More so, pilgrimages are organized mainly because it is said that the Virgin Mary Mariazell located inside the basilica is miraculous.
Pilgrims used to come to the basilica as early as the 12th century, but the tradition ceased in the 18thcentury, more accurately in 1783, when Emperor Joseph II of Austria dissolved the monastery. By 1787, he had completely forbidden pilgrims from setting foot in the basilica.
But when this limitation was lifted, pilgrims returned to this sanctuary. At present, it is estimated that close to 1 million pilgrims come to the Marian basilica on an annual basis.
As a testimony of respect for Virgin Mary Mariazell in the Czech lands, many copies of her statue have been preserved, such as in the Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in Polna, Petra and Pavla in Slapy-Rovinka or in “Little Mariazell” in Rychnov in Moravia.
The number of small prints with prayers to Our Lady of Mariazell are also impressive, printed for Czech pilgrims by various printers across Bohemia. In the ethnographic and art collections of museums in Bohemia and Moravia (eg the National Museum in Prague, the Museum of the Šumava Mountains in Sušice and Kašperské Hory, the Krkonoše Museum in Vrchlabí), we can find numerous small statuettes, engravings or glasses on the glass showing the love of the statue of the Virgin Mary Mariazell, or a picture from the Mariazell treasury.
Today we are looking at the Nábožná modlitba k Panně Marii or Religious prayer to the Virgin Mary. It comes from Prague from 1860 and is as the title described, a religious prayer to the Virgin Mary.
(Inscription: W Prague by B. Stýbl, publisher of many idols. priests. On sw. W. Wenceslas Square No. 786 and 787 by Karel Bellmann, 1860.)
This is a lovely example of an antique Gothic style. On the front page, Madonna (Our Lady of Mariazell) in a semi-rigid mantle, on a pedestal. Above Madonna the garland of roses. – Under the pic. data. – For the 2nd prayer ending, offering new titles and printing. This was acquired in 1958 at auction and is kept at the Intritute of Ethnology in the Czech Republic.