14 August 2015

Licheń Sanctuary

Licheń Sanctuary Licheń Stary is a small village located near Konin, one of many on the map of Poland. However, thanks to one little picture it has gained international fame. Currently, it is one of the most popular pilgrimage sites.

Approaching Licheń already from the distance of a few kilometres, it is possible to notice the dome of the basilica, towering over fields and villages. Indeed, its enormity is fascinating. As far as its size its concerned, it’s one of the biggest temples in Europe, in the world and the biggest in Poland. One of the bells from the basilica’s belfry and the pipe organ inside are also the biggest in the country.

The temple was built from pilgrim’s offerings to create a cult site of Virgin Mary’s picture and at the same time a jubilee votive offering of the Catholic Church in Poland. It was consecrated and made available for public use in 2004.

Located in the main altar of the temple, the image of Virgin of Licheń is a small picture of the size of 15,5 x 9,5 cm. Allegedly, it was found by a soldier, who miraculously survived a battle. Virgin Mary revealed herself to him and ordered to find her image. The miraculous picture subsequently became famous for many God’s graces it provided.

The basilica itself, despite its monumentality, is an example of beautiful contemporary architecture, every element of which has been carefully considered and arranged. Built on a cross plan, the temple is covered by a dome. It has 365 windows and 52 door openings, that is how many days and weeks there are in a year, respectively. 33 stairs leading to the temple represent years Christ spent on earth and 12 columns inside correspond to the number of the apostles. Apart from paintings which refer to the history of Poland, national symbols can also be seen, which is manifested, for instance, in the ornamentations in the shape of ears of grain, hussar wings or swords.

A tower, made available for the visitors, stands adjacent to the temple. To get to its top, it is possible to climb the stairs or take the elevator. It overlooks a beautiful view of the neighbourhood. You can also admire the well-groomed premises of the sanctuary.