Friday, December 01, 2006

Black Virgins II

Black Madonna of Montserrat in Spain.
12th. century byzantine, although the story runs that the statue was carved by St.Luke.
Mons serrata, the mountain divided,serrated, is a magical place outside Barcelona. The monastery built on its peak shows an angel with a saw that goes back and forth.The mountain bears flowers and fruit and trees, even in Winter, as if it had been doomed or sacred for that purpose.
The Benedictines of the monastery saw in this exuberant capacity a symbol of the fertility of the Virgin herself. Her intercession is still begged by women who want children, or a blessed birth for them, as it was usual in the Middle Ages.
Montserrat retains its fame as a shrine of healing and growing, and is still much visited by newly married couples.
Black Madonnas are found and worshipped in many shrines: Chartres, Rocamadour, Loretto, Orléans,S.Maria Majore in Rome, to name just a few.
Their blackness is explained by the Song of Songs:
"I am black, but comely, o ye daughters of Jerusalem".
(Song of Salomon, 1:5 )
Some images are carved in ebony and that may be a reason for their mistery and special "earthly" esoteric devotion.
The Madonna of Montserrat is called "la Moreneta", the little dark one, showing a loving tenderness for her difference and blessing powers.


Sir G said...

the Polish equivalent of the Spanish montserrat is Czestochowa (literally "it hides frequently", on account of the fact that approach is through hilly country and it comes into view and disappears from it numerous times as one approaches it). the image enshrined there is also black. this icon came from Syria and is dated to 6th century (we dont know how it got to Czestochowa, all we know is that it has been there since 1200's). traiditon ascribes it to St Luke. you can see it here.

Yvette Centeno said...

I knew there was such a black image in Poland, but I could not write the name and I was expecting you to do it...thanks, you are an attentive friend. My mother had told me about it. But the Image, now that I see it, is of such a powerful beauty...
Also in Spain the tradition runs that the figure was carved by the hand of St. Lucas, and appeared misteriously there in the mountain after an earthquake
In the icon the fact that the Virgin and little Jesus are both black, against the golden "open" double mandorla gives us also plenty to think about. The mystic oriental way of seeing divinity is so more complex, so much deeper than ours. Of course they had their Black ISIS as an ancient root for themselves before we discovered it, through the cruzades, may be ?

Pilgrim said...

The Auvergne region of central France is the "heartland" of the Black Madonna in Europe, where it is said that many of the Black Madonnas were brought back by Knights Templar returning from the Holy Land.

There are particularly striking examples at Meymac, Besse en Chandesse, Rocamadour and Orcival, where the annual pilgrimages attest to the continued popularity of La Vierge Noire.

There is a photograph gallery of many of these at Places of Pilgrimage

AOM said...

Lamento da descoberta tardia do seu blogue que leio com tanto prazer. Mas mais vale tarde do que nunca.
Com um ano de atraso atrevo-me, pois, a comentar este seu post porque achei curioso o facto da Virgem Negra de Montserrat da Catalunha estar associada à ideia de fertilidade, quando para Portugal foi trazida uma réplica sua a que foi votada a antiga e desaparecida Capela de Monserrate, em Sintra, o Mons Sacer, Mons Lunae... Nunca me tinha apercebido deste paralelismo apesar de me dedicar ao estudo de Sintra há já sete anos. Obrigada por me ter despertado para este facto.
Por sinal, relativamente à Virgem de Czestochowa, já tive a feliz oportunidade de a admirar pessoalmente. Desconhecia, contudo, o significado literal do seu nome e acho graça recordar-me, hoje, do facto de ter tido que aguardar que a descobrissem para que os peregrinos a pudessem ver... Não é só o mosteiro que se esconde por detrás da sucessão de montes, mas também a própria imagem permanece tapada até que nos seja dada a honra de a vermos.

Ana O.M.

AOM said...

Desculpe acrescentar só mais uma coisa: entretanto fui pesquisar sobre a Virgem de Czestochowa e apercebi-me de que consta que também terá sido pintada pela mão de São Lucas Evangelista sobre o tampo de uma mesa de madeira de cipreste da Casa de Nazaré. Que engraçada, esta confluência na atribuição de autoria de ambas as Virgens...

Ana O.M.