Csíksomlyó, hidden among the towering mountains of Transylvania, is a sacred place, perhaps the most important place of worship for the faith of our God-fearing people. During its half-thousand-year history, it became the first farewell place of the Hungarian nation, and its patron saint, Mary, clothed in the sun, guarded and protected the Hungarian people from the Church of the Franciscans for more than that. of five hundred years. Every year, hundreds of thousands make pilgrimages to the statue of the Mother of Jesus Christ in Sicklefold to take part in the traditional Pentecostal mass on the adjacent hillside, Nerig.
The first written mention of Csíksomlyó dates back to 1335, and its church was first mentioned in 1352. The Gothic church was built a century later, between 1442 and 1448, by Franciscan monks, in honor of Our Lady of Sarlos.
The construction was also supported by Janos Hunyadi, and the donations were covered by the booty obtained during the victory of Maruszentmri over the Turks in 1442. The great hero who struck the Turks won a legendary victory in this battle, precisely because he exchanged armor with Simon Kamunai before The battle, and the Turks believed that the main Hungarian force under the false Hunyadi would attack head-on. The real Hunyadi bypassed the real main force, which launched an attack against and from the rear. The trick worked, the Hungarians defeated the Turkish army, and even their main commander Mazid Bey died on the battlefield.
In addition to the glorious past, the history of the church is also associated with ruin and destruction, as Transylvania was subjected to countless attacks during the Turkish era. However, the Franciscan Church in Csíksomlyó escaped all this.
However, it is not famous for this, but behind the main altar is preserved a statue of Mary, which was carved from a piece of limewood around 1510. It is 2.27 meters high, and its origin is unknown. It depicts a woman dressed in the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a wreath of twelve stars around her head. As queen, she has a crown on her head, a scepter in her right hand, and the baby Jesus also wears a crown on her left arm.
Art historians consider the painted wooden statue a masterpiece of medieval Székelyföld sculpture.
Over the centuries, countless miracles and miraculous events have been attributed to this statue of grace.
Balázs Orbán wrote in his monumental work “Description of Székelyföld” published in 1868:The main attraction of Somlyó, the statue of Mary the Worker of Miracles, located on the main altar, is an ancient wooden statue rich in gold made in the Byzantine style, which wept and performed great miracles. According to Losteiner, this statue descended directly from the sky to protect Csiko after the disaster of Mohage (…) Losteiner is interesting in many places and full of real historical value, at least a third of his work mentioned above is full of narratives of the amazing miracles of this statue. He was in fact fond of this statue which, he says, was not entertained by the artist’s chisel, but by God, and he claims to be a judge of so much charm that no one can look at this statue without feeling sacred love for it in their hearts (… ) If Csík was threatened with disaster, the sacred statue would put on a pained face and weep.“
The statue originally stood on one of the four side altars, and the abbot of the house Cozmir Damocos placed it on the main altar in 1664. According to the records of the Franciscans, this all happened after Csíksomlyo’s raid against it in 1661, as one of the ongoing Tatar invasions that devastated Transylvania. The leader of the Tartars wanted to knock down the statue of the Madonna with his spear, but when he was about to strike, his arm was paralyzed. The preservation of the statue also seems a miracle, because the statue of the Virgin Mary remained intact despite the church being set on fire and everything around it was burned.
Over the centuries, the statue’s face has not lost any of its original beauty, although cuts and scrapes caused by the Turkish and Tatar invasion in the 17th century are still visible today. Tradition has it that altar builder and sculptor Miklós Papp attempted to paint the wound on Mary’s right cheek, possibly caused by a sword cut, in 1848, but failed.
Farewell this year in Csíksomyló, whose motto is “Peace be upon you, who became a temple, as a virgin! “ (St. Francis of Assisi) begins with the inaugural Mass on May 26 at 6 p.m.
From Friday to Saturday, a vigil will be held in Grace Church.
Saturday 27 May *
- 6.30 Mass in the church.
- 9.00: Ceremonial rosary at Harmashalom altar.
- 9:30 a.m.: The cordon starts from the square in front of the church to Nerig.
- 11.30: Solemn Mass at Harmashalom altar.
- 4:00 p.m.: Mass for Csángó in Szent Péter és Pál Parish Church, given by Mariut Felix, parish priest from Forrófalv.
- 5:00 pm: Pentecostal Mass at Grace Church.
From Saturday to Sunday, a vigil will be held in Grace Church.
May 28, the day of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit
Order of Mass in the church: 6.00, 7.00, 9.30 and 17.00.
Massimo Fusarelli OFM, Minister General of the Franciscan Order, will be the official speaker for the Mass starting at 9:30. Franciscan Father Zabolcs Urban will translate his solemn message from Italian.
May 29, Pentecost
Order of Mass in the church: 7:00 am, 9:30 am, and 5:00 pm.
* Dates are in Hungary time
Featured image: Participants in the Csíksomlyó Farewell Mass in the saddle between the Kis- and Nagysomlyó mountains in Csíksomlyó on June 4, 2022. (Photo: MTI/Nándor Veres)
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