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Marian Mount was attracting people of Levoca and the inhabitants of the surrounding area from the beginning of the 14th century. There was a chapel here in 1311 that was repaired on orders of the Levoča's priest in 1322. Number of pilgrims was increasing every year and therefore the chapel was enlarged in 1470 and soon after it received also today's statute of Merciful Virgin Mary. That time there was a guard house standing next to the chapel. Even through the reformation period the pilgrimages to Marian Mount were not interrupted. Even the local Lutherans kept the day of Visitation of Virgin Mary. Revival of pilgrimages began after re-catholization, when the first act was big procession and pilgrimage to Marian Mount July 2nd 1671. In 1673 Marian Mount received privileges to issue forgivingness receipts to the pilgrims, from the Holy Father. The Chapel was rebuilt numerous times and enlarged in 1698, 1766 and 1819-1820. Levoca's priest ordered chapel for Greek Catholics in 1841 and soon after famous Levoča's painter Jozef Czauczik repainted the statute of Virgin Mary to today's likeness. In 1901 they built a Chapel above the spring.


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Since the original chapel wasn't large enough for long time to accommodate the masses of pilgrims, today's church was built in Neo-Gothic style from collections and gifts of believes between years 1906-1914. It was blessed by the Most Reverend Spiš Bishop Jan Vojtaššák on July 2nd 1922. Very important day for the church and pilgrimages is January 26th 1984, the day Holy Father John Paul II elevated it to Basilica Minor. Levoča belongs to the oldest and most important pilgrimage places in Slovakia. She isn't tied to legends. There is a talk about miracles, but could one calculate the amount of people in history that found satisfaction in pain and sorrow, how many got strength for continuance of their lives, how many lives were changed for better? That's where the miracle and strength is. Devotion of Slovak Nation to Virgin Mary is presented here to the whole world.



Published in the Slovak Heritage Live newsletter Volume 6, No. 3, Fall 1998
Copyright © Vladimir Linder 1998
3804 Yale Street, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5C 1P6
The above article and photographs may not be copied, reproduced, republished, or redistributed by any means including electronic, without the express written permission of
Vladimir Linder. All rights reserved.