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Church and Shrine of Mariapoch
It is said that those who believe in miracles need no explanation. And to those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.
This is true story of a centuries-old miracle that occurred in Europe and had ramification right here in Burton, OH.
In the year 1696 Hungary was a chaotic, despairing nation. Overrun by the rough heel of the Turks, her people were dying of starvation and epidemics. One day in the tiny village of Povch ( pronounced - "poach" ) incredible news brought people running to the church. An Icon - a Greek painting of the Most Holy Mother of God - appeared to be shedding tears.
For eighteen days this phenomenon continued. Crowds streamed from neighboring villages to see and pray before the Miraculous Icon of the Blessed Mother. Many miracles of healing occurred among the devout worshipers and finally the ecclesiastical authorities came and put the entire matter under close investigation. After some argument and cross examination of witnesses they could only conclude that there was no natural explanation for the tears.
Eventually the Turks were routed from Hungary and the obscure little village became a center of Catholic culture. To honor the Weeping Icon of the Most Holy Mother of God the town's name was changed to Mariapoch. An even greater honor later took place in 1948 when Pope Pius XII raised the twin-spired stone church to the rank of minor Basilica.
No matter how far from home they traveled, the Hungarian people revered this place of worship. And those who came to this country and settled in the Cleveland area dreamed of someday honoring the Weeping Icon of the Blessed Mother with their own shrine.
An American counterpart of Our Lady of Mariapoch does exist. Located off Route 422 in Troy township among the rolling hills of Geauga County, it is very similar to the one in Hungary.
This is a beautiful (serene, peaceful, or quiet) wooded area on the East Side of Cleveland south of Burton in Welchfield, Ohio. It was purchased in 1955 through anonymous donors wanting to give honor to Our Lady of Mariapoch. It was dedicated in August 1956 by Rev. Bishop Nicholas T. Elko, D.D. The Byzantine Catholic Diocese dedicated the grounds and pursued the intentions of the donors. Through the dedicated services and resources provided by faithful contributors and the Social Mission Sisters the grounds have been developed for pilgrimage.
Prayer, contemplation, and thanksgiving to Almighty God and Our Most Holy Mother of God are always needed. World, local and personal ungodliness of turmoil, conflict, power struggles, unnecessary premature death of the unborn, abuse of children and women with the general destruction of Christian standards and society are continually and increasingly taking place. These dedicated grounds serve as a refuge of safety (security) being surrounded by nature and visual reminders of sacred acts and people. They are examples of devoted serve and dedication of living life with the faith, love, hope, and endurance to reach the final goal - Eternal Life with God. These are things we are to focus onů
"Dismiss all anxiety from your minds. Present your needs to God in every form of prayer and in petitions full of gratitude. Then God's own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus.
Finally, my brothers, your thoughts should be wholly directed to all that is true, all that deserves respect, all that is honest, pure, admirable, decent, virtuous, or worthy of praise." Philippians 4:6-8.
And then there are the quiet hours on the grounds where rare and timeless mood prevails.
Shrine web site
Basilica and Shrine of Mariapoch - Hungary
The present Marian Shrine in Mariapovch was built between 1731-1756, in baroque style, under the auspices of Count Francis Karoliy. It was dedicated by Bishop M. Olshanvskij of Mukachevo in honor of St. Michael. He was buried in the crypt of the church in 1767. Unfortunately, during 1945 remodeling of the church, the Ruthenian inscription of his grave was replaced with one in Hungarian, just to erase any trace of the shrine's Ruthenian origin.
The iconostasis was made by two Basilian monks, Michael Spalynskyj and his brother Thaddeus in 1785-1788. In 1896, the miraculous Icon was palced over the Royal Doors, when four new main icons for the iconostasis were painted bu the artist Julius Spishak. In 1945, our famous artist Joseph Bokshay designed a magnificent baroque side altar, where the miraculous Icon was then enthroned.
In 1948, Pope Pius XII decorated the Mariapovch shrine with the 'Honors and privileges of a Minor Basilica", conferred only on very important churches.
Shrine web site