GIETRZWAŁD – a village situated 41 18 km to the south. west of Olsztyn, in the Archdiocese of Warmia. Guardians sanctuary of Our Lady of Gietrzwałd from 1945 there are regular Lateran canons.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Gietrzwałd is the only center of Marian devotion in Poland, in which, apart from the veneration of Mary in her image, they happened, approved by church authorities, apparitions of Our Lady.
The cult of Our Lady in Gietrzwałd was known even before the apparitions and was associated with the painting of Our Lady of Gietrzwałd. The painting of Madonna with Child was painted by an unknown artist in 2. half. XVI w. in Greater Poland. In terms of iconography, it belongs to the Hodegetria type. It shows the Mother of God holding the Baby Jesus in her left hand. Jesus is holding a book in his left hand, and he raises his right hand in a gesture of blessing. In the upper part of the picture, the angels hold a ribbon with an inscription in Latin: "Hello, Queen of Heaven, hello Queen of Angels ". W 1583 he was mentioned by Bishop Marcin Kromer and next to Pieta, it was adorned with a white veil. The image of Mother of God Gietrzwałdzka was crowned 10 September 1967 by the Primate of Poland, Fr.. Stefana kard. Wyszyński. The crowns were stolen shortly after the coronation. Reconciliation took place 2 February 1969.
From 27 June to 16 September 1877 The Mother of God appears to two girls: thirteen-year-old Augustyna Szafryńska and twelve-year-old Barbara Samulowska. During the apparitions, she spoke Polish to the children. Our Lady called herself the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception and asked for daily rosary prayers and sobriety. She made promises of the imminent release of the Church from persecution, appointing priests to orphaned parishes of the Warmia diocese and caring for its worshipers in this earthly and eternal life. Mary also recommended, that a chapel with a statue of the Immaculate One would be built in the place of the apparitions. That's why the custom has taken hold, that during the pilgrimage the pilgrims pray at this chapel, then in front of the painting of Mrs. Warmia and walking towards the spring, which Mary has blessed 8 September 1877, they say the rosary at the chapels. After the apparitions of G.. began to be called "Polish Lourdes".
On the first day of the apparitions, one could notice a bright cloud in the sky stretching from Częstochowa to Warmia. In this event you can find the genesis of the name "Warmińska Częstochowa", that G. This name emphasizes the role and importance of G.. during the persecution of Poles in Warmia during the Kulturkampf period. In some years, when the Prussian authorities forbade organizing pilgrimages to Jasna Góra, G. was a "substitute Częstochowa". Do G. mainly the people of the Roman Catholic faith made the pilgrimage, but it happened, that evangelicals also made pilgrimages, and these pilgrimages were often organized against the recommendations of the evangelical consistory in Królewiec. Zatem G. became a place of deepening national ties between the Polish population of these two religions.
Even before the apparitions to the sanctuary in G.. the people of Warmia came with a "salier". Łosiery were votive pilgrimages, their purpose was not only to visit a place famous for miracles to obtain the necessary favors, but also the fulfillment of the wedding – pledges made by members of a given local community.
The confirmation of the truthfulness of the apparitions occurred on the centenary of these events, 11 September 1977.
This fact contributed to the development of the cult of Our Lady of Gietrzwałd outside the diocese. The church of. Our Lady of Gietrzwałd in Zelki (diec. Ełk) and a chapel in Kiry near. Zakopane and the Oratory in Kałków near. Starachowice.
Pilgrimages to G.. have been known since the 17th century.
The last days of the apparitions coincided with the feast of the Nativity of the Mother of God. For these celebrations, taking place from 7 do 9 September 1877, do G. Approx 50 thousand. pilgrims. The post-war pilgrimage movement reached its maximum in the century of the apparitions, w 1977, when is it to G.. arrived 150 thousand. pilgrims from all over Poland. Pilgrims stay in the sanctuary from several hours to three days. There are also pilgrimages from Janów and Olsztyn. From mid-years 80. there was an increase in the number of foreign pilgrims, predominantly groups from Germany.
Major religious ceremonies: Saints Peter and Paul (29 June), Our Lady of the Angels (2 of August), Wniebowzięcie NMP (15 of August), MB Gietrzwałdzka (8 November).