was the Icon Of the Most Pure in Klokochovo, Then
was taken and placed In the castle of Mukachevo. In the former
Mukachevo eparchy there were several miraculously weeping icons of the Most Holy
Mother of God, venerated by our Carpathian ancestors with great devotion and love.
The Blessed Mother, seeing the many sufferings of our oppressed people, sympathized
with them in a visible manner, miraculously shedding tears in various places,
like in Klokochovo, Mariapovch, Krichevo, Mikula and Pavlovo. The oldest of them
was that in Klokochovo, presently in the Eastern Slovakia, shedding tears in 1670.
Klokochovo in the XVII century was a small Rusyn village, nestling in the
foothills of the majestic Vihorlat mountain. It belonged to the Staray noble family
of Michalovci, to whom the villagers were subject as to their feudal lords, obliged
to work on the Staray's lands.
the middle of the village was a small wooden church, dedicated to the Dormition
of the Holy Mother of God. Those were times of constant wars, when the Hungarian
Protestant nobility, supported by the Turks, conspired to free Hungary from the
Habsburg rule, backed up by the Hungarian Catholic aristocracy. The Carpathian
region became their battlefield, since at that time the lower central part of
Hungary was occupied by the Turks. Thus our Rusyn population, tied to the feudal
soil, suffered much violence and cruelty from soldiers of both sides, who pillaged
and burned down our churches, monasteries, even entire villages.
1670, the Protestant "crusaders", as they liked to
be called, during their campaign against Michalovci, were approaching Klokochovo. The people, seized by fear, ran into the church to implore protection of the
Blessed Mother, whom they venerated as the "refuge of Christians." As
they were praying, they noticed that the icon of the Blessed Mother was shedding
tears. Moved by the weeping icon to tears, the villagers continued to pray.
All of a sudden the church door flung open and the Calvinist "kurucok"
invaded the church. Yelling and shouting, the soldiers started to destroy the
crosses, the church banners, and other religious objects.
happened that one of the enraged soldiers, when he noticed that the icon of the
Blessed Mother in the iconostasis was shedding tears, pierced the icon with the
bayonet fixed to his rifle. But the tears continued to flow and more profusely. Irritated, the soldier began cursing, tore the icon out of iconostasis and threw
it on the floor, ready to trample it. But the people, unable to stand such profanation,
pushed the furious "kuruc" aside, and one of the parishioners picked
up the icon and ran with it into the woods. In their anger the soldiers burned
down the church, but the miraculous icon was saved.
the Protestant "crusaders" left the region, the parishioners took the
weeping icon of the Blessed Mother to the town hall in Prjashev and asked the
magistrate to preserve their precious icon until they could rebuild their church.
The hereditary count of the
Sharish district, which included the town of Prjashev, was the Rakoczi family,
who resided in the Mukachevo castle. Since the heir of the Rakoczi's possessions,
Prince Francis I Rakoczi, was still a minor, the administration of the Rakoczi's
fortune was in the hands of the prince's mother, Countess Sophia nee Bathory.
The countess, after the death of her Calvinist husband, Prince George II Rakoczi,
became a fervent Catholic and was very well disposed toward our people and our
According to the leading
Carpathian historian, Father Michael Luchkay (1789-1843), Countess Sophia Bathory
not only granted freedom from serville work to our clergy in accordance with the
canonical privileges, but also ordered all her officials to respect the Byzantine
rite feastdays and not to force the people to work on those days. The Countess
herself became fond of our Byzantine rite and, trying to give a good example to
the Rusyn people, she often attended Holy Liturgy in our churches. She even became
familiar with the Old-Slavonic language to be able to follow our Liturgy and left
behind the Old-Slavonic Prayer Book, printed in 1679, with her own signature.
When the countess heard about
the weeping icon of the Blessed Mother in Klokochovo, she became very excited
about the miracle. Being the hereditary countess of the Sharish district, she
simply ordered the municipality of Prjashev to hand over the icon to her. Thus
the miraculous icon was transferred to the castle of Mukachevo, where the countess
lived with her son Francis, and placed over the altar in the chapel. The Countess
Bathory became greatly attached to the miraculous icon and lavishly decorated
it with precious stones and costly drapery
the death of Countess Sophia Bathory (+1680), the miraculous icon of Klokochovo
remained in the Rakoczi's family chapel in the Mukachevo castle, since the wife
of Prince Francis I Rakoczi, Countess Helen nee Zrinyi, also became fond of it,
considering the icon was a family treasure. After the early death of her husband.
Countess Zrinyi became sole administrator of the Rakokoczis' possessions, since
her children, Julia and Francis II, were only infants.
1682, Countess Zrinyi remarried and became the wife of the leader of the Hungarian
insurrection, the famous magnate Emeric Thokoly. But in a short time he was defeated
by the imperial army and had to take refuge in Turkey. In 1688, Countess Helen
Zrinyi, after the castle of Mukachevo was seized by the imperial forces, as wife
of Thokoly, was permitted to join her husband in Nicomedia (presently Izmit),
Turkey, and to take with her all the family treasures. The inventory of items
taken by the countess to Turkey says: "Among the precious things the countess
took with her was a much venerated icon, representing the Blessed Mother of God,
which several years before Countess Sophia Bathory obtained from Klokochovo and
which was venerated in the chapel of the Mukachevo castle. The Blessed Mother
and Child Jesus sparkled with countless precious gems that adorned the icon."
After the death of Helen Zrinyi
(+1703), her son from the first marriage, Prince Francis II Rakoczi, heir of the
Mukachevo castle and estate, brought back the miraculous icon of Klokochovo from
Nicomedia and placed it back in the family chapel of the Mukachevo castle.
1703, Prince Francis II Rakoczi also started an insurrection against the Habsburgs.
After a long campaign he also was defeated and had to seek asylum in Nicomedia.
The castle of Mukachevo was recaptured by the imperial forces on August 11, 1711.
Then all the treasures of the Rakoczi family were confiscated and taken to the
imperial court in Vienna. Among the confiscated item was also the miraculous icon
of Klokochovo, which was then placed in the private chapel of the imperial palace.
The magistrate of Prjashev insisted
that the miraculous icon be returned to the city hall, from where it was taken
away by Countess Sophia Bathory. But Emperor Charles VI refused to comply. Finally,
after repeated requests, Empress Maria Theresa ordered a copy of the miraculous
icon to be made, which was then solemnly presented to the city of Prjashev in
1769. Underneath of the icon the following caption was written:
icon of the Blessed Mother of God, which in 1670 was seen to shed tears by many
people in the church of the Rusyn village of Klokochovo, Vienna county in Northern
Hungary; afterwards, when certain Protestant soldiers pierced it with a bayonet,
it burst into copious tears."
the back of icon there was a signature of the Viennese artist who made the copy:
F: Kramer, 1769.
The copy of
the Klokochovo icon hung on the wall of the city hall in Prjashev for long time,
but in 1904 it was donated to Bishop John Valyi of Prjashev. After restoration,
the icon was then solemnly enthroned in the bishop's chapel on August 12,1907.
Now the parishioners of Klokochovo
insisted that Bishop Valyi give the icon to their church, where the miracle happened
in 1670. But the bishop would not part with the icon. He rather commissioned our
famous Carpathian artist, Ignatius Roshkovics (+1915), to make another copy, which
he then donated to the church in Klokochovo. Thus, starting with 1913, Klokochovo
became one of the main pilgrimage places of the Mukachevo eparchy.
World War II, the pilgrimages in Klokochovo considerably declined, since the church
and parish house were badly damaged. Then in 1945, due to the political changes,
the parish of Klokochovo was separated from its mother- eparchy by new borders
and placed under the jurisdiction of Bishop Paul Gojdich, OSBM. of Prjashev. It
was then that Father John Chekan was appointed the pastor of the Klokochovo parish.
In a short period of time he rebuilt the church and the parish house, obtained
new indulgences from Rome, and thus the pilgrimages were resumed in 1946. During
the following year more than 40,000 pilgrims came to Klokochovo to venerate the
Blessed Mother in the place where, in 1670, she shed her bitter tears in sympathy
with the sufferings of our people.
order to enhance the public veneration of the Weeping Icon, Father Chekan had
the icon crowned in 1948. The solemn coronation of the icon was performed by the
Auxiliary Bishop of Prjashev. Basil Hopko (+1976). This was the last pilgrimage,
since the following year the pilgrimage was forbidden by the Communist authorities.
What happened to the original
icon of Klokochovo? Nobody can tell. Some research was made in the imperial palaces
in Vienna, especially in the apartments of Maria Theresa, but the icon could not
be found. Probably, after the fall of the Austrian empire, some devoted member
of the imperial family has taken it as a precious family remembrance. Will it
be found? Perhaps, the Blessed Mother will honor us with another miracle and reveal
to us the whereabouts of her weeping icon of Klokochovo.
connection with the miraculous icon of Klokochovo it should be mentioned that
in 1885, in the village of Kamionka, Spish district, an old handwritten Song Book
from 1724 was discovered. Among the spiritual songs a longer poem, entitled: Song
About the Icon of Klokochovo, has been found. The poem was composed shortly after
the miracle, in about 1683 and is a
certain proof of the miracle.