The greatest treasure of the Jasna Góra Sanctuary in Częstochowa is the Miraculous Image of Our Lady thanks to which Jasna Góra became one of the largest Marian sanctuaries in Poland already in the 15th century. This painting is one of the most famous images of Our Lady in the world, clearly associated with Poland and Częstochowa.
There is no certain historical information about its origins. According to tradition, the author of the icon is considered to be St. Luke the Evangelist, who was supposed to paint a picture on the table used by the Holy Family in Nazareth. Historians, however, believe that the history of the painting dates back to the 14th century and its author is an unknown Italian painter.
In 1382, the icon was given to the Częstochowa monks by the Prince of Opole, Władysław, who brought it to Poland and offered it to the Pauline monks at Jasna Góra to protect the icon against desecration by pagans.
The work depicts Mary with Baby Jesus, showing Mary as the Mother of God, but also of every human being. The dark colors of the painting caused by the darkening of the varnish layer mean that Our Lady of Częstochowa is often called the Black Madonna.
Since the 18th century, the painting has been decorated with rich dresses. Currently, there are 10 of them, including: diamond, ruby, coral or gold robe. Since 1656, the Black Madonna and Child have had crowns on their heads in reference to the title of Our Lady Queen of Poland. An additional decoration of the painting is a silver curtain with an allegorical composition referring to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In the 15th century, the monastery at Jasna Góra was attacked by representatives of the Hussite religious movement, who profaned and destroyed the icon. To this day, a characteristic feature of the painting are the cut scars on her face - remnants of the attack. There are a total of ten cuts located on the icon, although only three of them are clearly visible. The presence of wounds in the painting strengthens the bond of the faithful with the figure of Our Lady of Częstochowa, making her more human, feeling suffering like "ordinary" people.
Marian apparitions have never been recorded at Jasna Góra, but the power and mystery of this place, to which numerous pilgrims from all over the world have been going for centuries, is the Miraculous Image because while praying before the image of Our Lady of Częstochowa, the faithful experienced numerous miracles and healings.