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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
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.