Povch was a village in northeastern Hungary and the place
of origin of one of the more notable weeping icons of the Virgin
Mary revered among Eastern Rite Roman Catholic Christians.
The icon was prepared by Stefan Papp, the brother of the pastor
of the local parish church. Originally, the icon was intended
for display in the local parish church. The picture of the Virgin
was shown holding the infant Jesus, who in turn held a threepetaled
lotus in His hand.
The icon was seen to weep for the first time on November
14, 1696. It again was seen to weep on December 8, and on this
second occasion the tears continued to flow for eleven days.
The event had such impact that the town became known as
Mariapovch. Word of the weeping icon reached the royal court
of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Vienna. The emperor ordered
the icon to be brought to Vienna. By the time that the
emperor’s representatives arrived to pick up the icon for transport
back to Vienna, it had become famous and large crowds
gathered at every village on the way back to the capital, and
they arrived only after many days’ delay. On December 1, 1698,
the icon was finally placed in St. Steven’s Basilica.
The emperor was so impressed by the devotion shown the
icon that he hired another artist to make a duplicate of the
original icon, which was then given to the village of Mariapovch.
It was carried there in a formal procession. On August 1–3,
1715, this second icon also began to weep, and as a result the
parish church became a place of pilgrimage. It again shed tears
two centuries later, in December 1905.
The original icon remained in the basilica until World War
II (1939–45). As the fighting started, it was hidden away until
after the war, when it was returned to a new prominent place
in the basilica near its entrance. Carpatho-Rusyn immigrants
to the United States have continued the veneration that had developed
around the icon, and several churches have constructed
shrines to house copies of it.
Eastern Roman Catholics are similar to Eastern Orthodox
churches and have icons instead of statues. Weeping icons serve
the same function in those churches that weeping statues serve
in Western or Latin Rite churches.
Weeping Icon of Mariapovch.
April 14, 2000.

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