A Brief History of the Icon of the Virgin Mary „The Gate of Mercy”

The cult of the Icon of the Virgin Mary “The Gate of Mercy” in Jaroslaw dates back to the end of the 17th century. According to art historians, the icon was probably painted between 1630 and 1640. The information about the cult of the icon comes from 1722. In the 18th century, the icon was repainted at leats twice and decorated by thankful people. The cult of the icon increased after moving it to the new parish and decision to keep a special book describing examples of grace and healing. The fi rst known case of indulgence was the one granted by Pope Clemens XIII upon the faithful visiting the icon on the 22nd November 1760. Next indulgences were granted by Popes Clemens XIV (10th May 1774) and his successor Pius VI (22nd August 1775). The latter, in 1779, granted a ten-year indulgence for all who visited the icon and prayed to the Virgin Mary for souls suffering in Purgatory. Thanks to Rev. Canon Cyprian Chotyniecki the indulgence was restored in 1911 by Pope Pius X. On the 22nd November 1779, Pope Pius VI issued a bulla stating that the icon from Jaroslaw is miraculous and grants full indulgence. In 1879, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pius VI’s bulla, the icon was officially crowned with diadems sponsored by the Bishop of Przemysl, Most Rev. Jan Stupnicki.

The biggest event in the modern history of the parish church in Jaroslaw was crowning of the icon of the Virgin Mary. There were some attempts at this much earlier but WW II interrupted the whole process. In 1993, Most Rev. Jan Martyniak decided to apply again and he succeeded. Pope John Paul II decided to crown the icon in 1996. Celebrations started with a Pontifical Divine Liturgy on the 16th August 1996 in the church, and finished with a second Pontifical Divine Liturgy on the 18th August. The Liturgy was celebrated by Papal Legate Achille Silvestrini and Most Rev. Jan Martyniak. Some several thousand faithful attended the event.
On the 18th August 2011 Major Archbishop Most Rev. Sviatoslav Shevchuk visited Jaroslaw in order to commemorate the 15th anniversary of coronation of the Icon of the Virgin Mary.
In the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the icon, upon Pope Francis’ request, was displayed on St. Peter’s Square on the 8th December 2015. On this very day, Pope commenced the Jubilee Year of Mercy with a Mass and hence the icon from Jaroslaw became the symbol of mercy for the Church in the whole world.