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Gostyn (Poznan) - The Basilica on the Holy Mountain

Gostyn is located in the Province of Wielkopolska in the Archdiocese of Poznan, in Poland. The town was built in the second half of the 18th century.

The most important historical monuments in Gostyn are: the Basilica on the Holy Mountain, the Church of St. Margaret dating from the 18th century, and a museum in which you can see relics from the town's past.

The Sanctuary on the Holy Mountain does not belong- to the most famous in Poland, yet it plays an important role in the spiritual life of the citizens of the whole region.

Mother of God the Divine Rose is honored as a Patron and Queen of Wielkcpolska. The Sanctuary is a place of spiritual retreats, pilgrimages, and days of reflection attended by the faithful from the whole Archdiocese of Poznan.

The place on which the Sanctuary is built has always been known as the Holy Mountain. It is hard to establish the beginnings of the devotion to Mary. The documents dating from 1676 show that this devotion had already lasted for 300 years. It is known for sure that in the l6th century the owner of Gostyn, Peter Borek Gostynski, built a chapel in this place. It is unknown why it was built without permission from the Church authorities. It is possible that at that time Church officials refused to believe in the retold instances of miraculous healings that took place on the Holy Mountain. Since the chapel was built without the permission of a bishop, as a punishment it was forbidden to say mass in this place, but later this punishment was changed to a fine payable to the Archbishop of Poznan. In spite of all this trouble, the devotion to Mary was still progressing.

In 1512 Peter's son, Maciej Borek Gostynski brought over a special Bishop Committee which, on the basis of all collected documents and reports from witnesses, confirmed the supernatural character of the phenomena taking place in Gostyn. One year later a church of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary was built on the hill.

In the first half of the 16th century, Gostyn became one of the more important centers of reformation in Poland. In addition, the owners of the Holy Mountain became followers of the new religion. The church at that time was changed into a brick-yard. It is unknown what happened to the icon of Mary. Most probably local citizens who remained faithful to their Catholic religion simply hid it somewhere. Kept in inadequate conditions, the icon became damaged and was lost. In 1540, a copy of the icon was made. It combines the Gothic style with the style of the Renaissance. The date of the original is not known. It is also unknown who created it and where. It might have been brought by one of the Benedictines who came from Liege in Belgium to nearby Lublin around 1075.

Some dramatic events took place during the Swedish movements. In 1655, both the painting and the Pieta were taken from Gostyn. They were hidden in Silesia. After the end of the war activities both sacred objects were returned to the Holy Mountain.

In 1688, the owner of Gostyn, Adam Konarzewski, was the initiator of organizing the Congregation of St. Philip Neri, popularly called Oratorians. This Congregation has been taking care of the Sanctuary up till now (except the years 1876-1919 and during the Second World War). Adam Konarzewski was seriously sick during his childhood. According to the story, he got his health back thanks to his prayers to Our Mother of God. To say thank you for his miraculous healing, Konarzewski started building a new baroque church imitating the Church of St. Peter and Paul in Krakow. After his death, Konarzewski's wife Zofia Opalinski went on a trip to Italy. When she visited Venice, she was so fascinated by the Church of Santa della Salute (built according to the project of Baltazar Longhen) that she quickly sent a messenger to Poland with the order to stop worJdng on building the church. The new church was to be built in the fashion of the masterpiece in Venice.

The work began in 1675. At the end of that century the church was ready. In the 1720's the architect Pompeo Ferrari added a dome. In the 18th century the pulpit, the dome with a lantern and the sacristy were also built. The interior of the church is in the Baroque and Rococo style, and something that really catches your eye is the polychromy (wall-painting) by J.W. Neunhertz done in 1746. In the years 1732-1736, a Monastery was built near the church. The Monastery was done according to the project of P. Ferrari and A. Stier. The Church of Gostyn of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary and of St. Philip Neri, together with the Monastery buildings, constitutes one of the most wonderful and magnificent Polish sacral buildinas from the late Baroque.

In 1876, the Prussian government annulled the Convent of St. Phillip Neri. The church was closed for 12 years. Only in 1888 did the priests from the Diocese start taking care of it. In 1919, after Gostyn became a part of Poland, the St. Philip Congregation returned to the Sanctuary. At the time between the two World Wars the most important event in the Sanctuary in Gostyn was the Crowning of the miraculous painting with crowns from the Pope. It was the first celebration of that kind in the history of Wielkopolska. Polish Primate Cardinal August Hlond was the celebrant in the name of Pope Pius II. The celebration took place on June 24, 1928. Since the whole congregation would not have fit in the church, an outside altar was built on the hill in Gostyn. Since then the place is called the Place of Coronation.

The war activities in the years 1939-1945 did not bring much damage to the Sanctuary, yet still for the priests working there it was an especially tragic time. Some of the priests were taken to concentration camps and the Monastery building was changed into a school for firefighters and into a registration office.

In the 1950's, renovation of the church began. As a matter of fact, the work is still in progress.

In 1965 the Vatican officially approved of the title "Maria Rosa Mystica," (Mary Divine Rose) and from that moment on the Mother of God of the Holy Mountain (Matka Boza Swietogorska) is worshiped with that title. Her holy day is celebrated June 25 in remembrance of the anniversary of the Crowning of the miraculous painting. This holy day is observed in the whole Archdiocese of Poznan. In 1970, Pope Paul VI gave the church the title of "smaller basilica."

Gostyn basilica, in other words the church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is located on the Holy Mountain, in the suburbs of Glogowko, about 3 kilometers from the center of Gostyn.


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