HELMET – a town in Podlasie with a sanctuary associated with the cult of the icon of Our Lady of Chełm.
An icon like Hodegetria, which, according to tradition, was to be painted by St.. Luke the Evangelist, it was made on three cypress boards pressed together. According to legends, the origins of the icon's worship date back to the 10th century. The image was to be brought from Constantinople by Princess Anne (sister of the Byzantine emperor Basil II) after her wedding with Włodzimierz Wielki, Ruthenian prince, later saint, and placed in the Church of the Holy Mother of God, founded by him, on Góra Chełmska (Danielowa). The first historical records of the existence of an icon in Ch. come from the 13th century. Her care and miraculous properties were attributed, among others, to. repulsion of the Tatar troops from the city of 1259. When the city was captured two years later, The Tatars robbed the icon of the Byzantine gold T-shirt. After the Union of Brest, the church together with the icon passed into the hands of Uniates and thanks to the efforts of the prisoners in Ch. Basilian was officially recognized as miraculous and crowned in 1765. In the era of the Polish-Cossack wars, the icon was taken from Ch. and in years 1650-1653 accompanied King Jan Kazimierz in his military expeditions. W 1654 the painting was returned to the church in Chełm. With the official recognition of it as miraculous by the Holy See, the cult of Our Lady of Chełm also spread among Catholics, who began to make pilgrimages to the sanctuary in large numbers. For the development of the veneration of the image, special brotherhoods of Uniates and Catholics were established. W 1735 the church was demolished and a late-baroque church was built in its place. Narodzenia NMP. After the dissolution of the Uniate Church, St. 1875 the temple was handed over to the Orthodox Church, a w 1919 devoted to Catholics (now the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary). W 1914 the miraculous painting was taken to Russia, where he went missing. The found original of the icon is now in the Museum of the Volyn Icon in Lutsk.
However, the cult of Our Lady of Chełm, renewed by the Catholic Church, continues to this day. A replica has replaced the miraculous icon. The image was crowned twice more 1946 and after the theft of the crowns in 1957. The main holiday of Our Lady of Chełm and the day of pilgrimages falls on 21 September. Ruthenian dukes are buried in the basement of the church on Góra Danielowa, including Prince Daniel Romanowicz, and the Orthodox and Uniate bishops of the city.
Another painting located in the side altar of the same temple was also venerated – a copy of the image of Our Lady of Pochayiv (Pochayiv) from the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. The painting was owned by King Jan III Sobieski. From the nineteenth century. he is considered miraculous by the faithful. Currently, it is in the parish of Christ the Redeemer.