Krakow, Poland

Krakow, Poland

Slovak National Chapel of
the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Seven Sorrows,
Sanctuary of God’s Mercy
2007

painting, graphic on glass, typographical reliefs

Patroness of Slovakia, intercede on our behalf!

The iconographical program of the chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary of the Seven Sorrows is composed as a journey of the Blessed Virgin Mary through sorrow, which culminates and finds its meaning in the Resurrected Jesus Christ. The stories of the seven sorrows are interwoven with threads of God’s Word, which they depict and help meditating.

The images occurring on a strip of the colour of dried blood are portrayed with thorns. The whole series is portrayed in three colours – blue representing the Blessed Virgin Mary, red representing sorrow, and white representing the Holy Spirit; it is supplemented with gold of God’s glory.

A polychromatic painting of the holy apostles of Old Slavs, and a sandblasted graphic on glass enrich this concept of two additional graphical motifs – along with a plastic typographical relief of the Song of Mary, Magnificat.

The prophecy of Simeon

The prophecy of Simeon

Sacrifice of the baby Jesus

The introductory figural composition iconographically as well as formally opens the whole cycle of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s sorrows. Simeon clearly and irrevocably announces Mary her own inner and outer future of a Mother: “a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also.” The Blessed Virgin Mary’s purple path of sorrow has begun…

Herod’s persecutionEscape to Egypt

Herod’s persecution – escape to Egypt

“…and for a sign which shall be contradicted,” – this prophecy has begun to fulfill very quickly: Herod feels threatened. And the soldiers carry out the command in the obedience of sin. They kill innocent children. Abortionists of the Antiquity. And all mothers are suffering, hurt from seeing their own children being killed.

God protects His only begotten Son. Joseph fulfills the will of the Lord immediately – just as He commanded Joseph arose in the night, took the young child and his mother, and fled to Egypt. The Blessed Virgin Mary suffers (not through subordination to her husband who subordinates to God); she suffers because in sorrow she abandons her home and secured life. Nevertheless, little Jesus feels good – he is carried in the security of his mother’s arms. The Mother protects him; his Mother’s blue wool protects him. He shows us that we can fully trust the Mother. Joseph hastily fulfills the Father’s will – in the Spirit he accepted it for his own; he continues to accompany Mary and Jesus on their Way.


12-year-old Jesus in the temple

Sorrowful search for the lost one – 12-year-old Jesus in the temple

The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph come back from their journey, and search for Jesus for three days. Full of pain they are looking for their son. Mother and father. Meanwhile, the Son is with the Father. Among the wise and educated. Full of sorrow, the earthly parents are searching for the child. The only begotten Son of God.

“How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be about my father’s business?” Twelve-year-old Jesus – Jesus Christ. The same yesterday, today and forever.

In the sorrow of the Mother, salvation of the world has its birth. She kept all the words in the heart pierced with a sword. And the son returns home to Nazareth with the parents. Along with the Mother, he resumes the Way of sorrow.


Meeting the Son – the way of the cross

Meeting the Son – the way of the cross

“Ecce homo! Behold the man!” proclaimed Pilate thinking (John 19:4f) that one cannot see a man in this beaten and pitiful human body, that there is no God therein. And yet God, the most beautiful, the best, the all-powerful (cf. Augustine, Conf. I, 4), sacrificed Himself because He wanted so, and He did not open His mouth.

And the Mother suffers together with the Son quietly. It is a sorrow so quiet, inner and calm that even the gospel does not mention it. Salvific suffering of the Son. Mother’s suffering with a hope. The Mother’s Way of sorrow crosses with the Way of the Cross of her Son.

Our sins, we ourselves as soldiers of the Roman garrison lead him as a lamb to be slaughtered. The hour of salvation is about to come, the hour of God’s Mercy is coming near.


The crucifixion

The Mother under the cross – the crucifixion

The son completes the act of salvation. Lifted up to the cross, set for the fall and rising again, and for a sign which shall be contradicted. The cross is a sign of salvation. It is a place of sacrifice.

The son, as the only Redeemer, remains alone – even though his mother stands at his cross, and next to her a disciple whom he has loved – he gives the Mother a new Son, and in him the whole humanity; and he gives us the Mother. Almost in that very moment as he commends his spirit to the Father: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46) The family becomes complete. Children are reconciled with the Father.

Reconciled with the Father through the sacrifice of the Son, abandoned in a moment of the greatest void of this world. The Redeemer remains alone – the only one. Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews, remains alone: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (Mt 27:46) Spirit and sorrow meet in Jesus’ heart, and come out of it washed by His blood and full of grace. The way of the cross goes on. And so does the Mother’s way of sorrow.


Farewell to the Son

Farewell to the Son – laying the body of Jesus to the grave

“…was buried, He descended into hell…” (The Apostles’ Creed) The Virgin Mary sees her son for the last time. She brought him into this world in the sorrow of the body, and in the sorrow of her heart she surrenders him to hell. She brought him into this world in hope, and in a hope of the promised resurrection she commends him to the Father. Just as He has commended his spirit to the Father, to the Father she commends his body. (Mt 27:57-61)

Similarly, the Church keeps God’s Body in a tabernacle. Here the two visually unite: the Grave and the Tabernacle. A place we meet God’s Body. We revere it. We adore it in quiet. The Mother’s way of sorrow has ended.


Resurrection

I am the resurrection and the life

The grave is empty. He is not here; he has risen from the dead. The joyful news, evangelion, has been fulfilled. Our faith is not in vain. And he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end (The Nicene Creed). In Divine confidence He confirms what Simeon announced to Mary at the beginning: “He is set for rising of many…” – “I am the resurrection and the life!” (John 11:25)

Therefore, every Slovak who, as a pilgrim, visits the Slovak chapel, as well as a Pole, Italian, German, Hungarian or Ukrainian who visit their national chapels and all pilgrims who understand English, Spanish and Russian, or Latin and Greek may read the joyful news “He is not here. He has risen from the dead!” and the message of God’s Son – I am the Resurrection and the Life.


Saints Cyril and Methodius

Iskoni be slovo

St. Cyril writes his “Proglas”, the foreword to the Gospel according to St. John who writes his foreword to the gospel of Jesus Christ: “In the beginning was the Word…” (John 1:1a). “Iskoni be Slovo,” he writes in the ancient language of Slavonic people.

Together with the brother bishop, appointed for us by a wise successor of Peter, they show us the Way, the Truth, and the Life – Christ – and, at the same time, they show us the first example how to walk this Way, how to trust and confess this Truth, and how to live this Life – that is to say, the example of the Virgin Mary.

They gave us the Word, Faith, and writing. They devoted us to the Mother of the Word, the God-bearer, full of sorrow.

God’s Glory comes to us in the Word; Spirit comes in the Word and the actions of the apostles who were the first to dig the double cross at the peak of our triple mountain. They left a mark on the ground of our nation.


Magnificat

Veličit dša moja ga

In the beginning of the third millennium we receive that very same message that we have received in the beginning of our era, in the signs and symbols of our age, in writing: the Magnificat of Mary.

In the Magnificat we hear the joyful news, the evangelion of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our patroness saint. The joyful news of the one who is Full of sorrow. The joyful news which, in our Mother, becomes our joyful news.

Together with the Mother we may therefore shout in a golden voice on the waves of colors of our nation: “He hath holpen our nation, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to our fathers…”


I would like to express my sincere thanks to you and to all of your fellow workers…
I appreciate professionalism, expertise and therewith related high quality of the performance and works.

Mons. Stanislav Stolarik – bishop, chair of the Liturgical committee of the Bishops’ Conference of Slovakia (LK KBS), authorized to lead the realization of the Slovak chapel in Lagiewniki, Poland