History of the Icon and Shrine of
Our Lady of Máriapócs in Hungary
The Byzantine Catholic people in the Carpathian Basin of Europe were poor, but they possessed a great spiritual treasure in their devotion to the Most Holy Mother of God, the Theotokos. And she showed her motherly concern for her poor people by her miraculous icons, the most famous of which is the Weeping Icon of Máriapócs in Hungary.
In the mid-17th century, on the northeastern plains of Hungary, which were then devastated and abandoned by the Turks, in the poor village church of Pócs, on Sunday, Nov. 4, 1696, during the celebration of the Divine Liturgy the faithful noticed that the icon of the Blessed Mother on the iconostasis was shedding tears. As days passed by, the weeping of the Blessed Mother continued until Dec. 8, 1696, when the shedding finally stopped.
Because of word of miraculous healings attributed to the weeping icon, Emperor Leopold I ordered that the icon be brought to Vienna. Thus, during the summer of 1697, the icon, escorted by a military guard, was transferred to Vienna and on Dec. 1, 1697, was solemnly enthroned on the main altar of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Since its arrival the picture was not seen weeping again, but many other miracles and answered prayers have been attributed to it, including the victory of Prince Eugene of Savoy over the Turks at Zenta (Serbia) a few weeks after the icon’s installation in the cathedral.
To appease the people of Pócs, the bishop of Eger ordered an exact copy of the miraculous icon to be made and sent to the church there, to replace the original. And the Blessed Mother, to prove her special concern for her poor people, again shed tears on the copy of the original icon, between Aug. 1-5, 1715. After an investigation, Bishop Erdody declared that the weeping of icon was found miraculous and, consequently, it could be publicly venerated in the church. Thus Pócs became a famous pilgrimage center of the Eparchy of Mukachevo.
After construction of a larger church to accommodate the growing crowds of pilgrims, the Basilian Fathers from Mukachevo were summoned to take care of the shrine. The Basilian monks became the sole curators of the Marian Shrine in Pócs, which since that time became known as Máriapócs.
The Mother of God favored her shrine in Máriapócs with many miraculous healings, which were meticulously recorded by the Basilian Fathers in their registers. The shrine, enriched by various papal indulgences, constantly attracted more and more pilgrims, both Byzantine and Roman Catholics, coming from all parts of Hungary and beyond.
In 1905 the Blessed Mother wanted to once more confirm her motherly concern toward her poor people. So, between Dec. 3-19, and again on Dec. 30 and 31, her miraculous icon shed tears for the third time. An episcopal commission ended its investigation on Jan. 12, 1906, when it issued an official statement saying that the shedding of tears was miraculous and should be ascribed to divine intervention. During World War II, St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna was very badly damaged but the miraculous icon remained untouched.
In 1948 Pope Pius XII raised the twin-spired stone church in Máriapócs to the rank of minor basilica. Pope John Paul II visited the shrine in 1991. Now designated a “National Place of Worship,” the church in Máriapócs housing the miraculous icon is visited by 600,000-800,000 pilgrims and tourists each year.
(History taken from the Shrine of Our Lady of Mariapocs in Burton, Ohio)