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Mariapocs Monastery

Mariapocs Monastery — a Basilian monastery and major pilgrimage site in northeastern Hungary (historic Sobolch/Szabolcs county) for Greek Catholic believers from Hungary, Subcarpathian Rus’, and Romania. The purpose of the pilgrimage, held annually on the Feast of the Dormition (August 15/28), is to kneel before the wonder-working weeping icon of the Virgin Mary. The original icon, housed in a wooden church in the village of Pocs/Mariapocs, was considered miraculous following reports in 1696 that the image of the Virgin was weeping. On orders from Emperor Leopold I, the icon was transported to Vienna at the outset of the eighteenth century and placed in the city’s main cathedral church of St. Stephen. Before its transfer, however, three copies of the icon were made, one of which remained in Pocs. The one in Pocs was reported on two occasions (1715 and 1905) to be miraculously weeping and pilgrims who came into the icon’s presence attributed their healing to its powers. In 1714 the Greek Catholic bishop of Mukachevo, Iosyf Hodermars’kyi, requested permission from the Austrian emperor to build a Basilian monastery in Pocs; opposition from the Roman Catholic bishop of *Eger delayed construction until 1749, by which time Manuil *Ol’shavs’kyi was bishop of Mukachevo.

The monastery Church of St. Michael was constructed (1749-1756) according to plans by Demeter Racz/Dymytrii Rats’, the architect of the church and new monastic cells of the *Mukachevo Monastery of St. Nicholas. The Mariapocs Monastery also had a large library that was particularly rich in *Church Slavonic books and manuscripts. During the Communist era in Subcarpathian Rus’ Rusyns from that region were forbidden to take part in the annual pilgrimage to Mariapocs; but in the late 1980s the tradition was revived. In 1991 one of the largest ever pilgrimages to Mariapocs took place; among the pilgrims was Pope John Paul II, who, in the course of his homily, addressed the faithful in Rusyn.

Bibliography: T.L., “Chomu nam tak doroha Mariiapovch?,” Kalendar’ Blahovistnyka na rok 1943 (Uzhhorod, 1943), pp. 40-49; Eszter Ojtozi, A mariapocsi bazilitak cirillbetus konyvei (Debrecen, 1982); Mariapocs 1696—Nyiregyhaza 1996: tortenelmi konferencia a Mariapocsi Istenszulo-ikon elso konnyezesenek 300. evfordulojara (Nyiregyhaza, 1996).

Ivan Pop

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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