Some 30 Catholic bishops to attend coronation ceremony for Braslaw Mother of God Icon


Around 30 Roman Catholic bishops from 11 countries will gather in Braslaw, a city in northern Belarus, on August 22 to attend the coronation of the Braslaw Mother of God Icon.

Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne will lead a special solemn mass and the coronation of the icon, which is also known as Mistress of Lakes Icon.

Catholic priests from Belarus, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States are expected to flock to Braslaw. A large number of pilgrims are also expected.

The coronation will be a symbol of the recognition that the icon can work miracles, Leszek Witwicki, dean of the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Braslaw, said.

The ceremony is expected to take place near the church.

On the day of the coronation, local young people will sail to the island in Lake Nespish where the icon was found in 1832, according to Msgr. Witwicki. The program will also feature events celebrating Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Ukrainian cultures.

This past March, Pope Benedict XVI gave his blessing for crowns that were made in Poland’s Krakow specially for the coronation ceremony. The icon is currently in Minsk, undergoing restoration. Its last restoration was in 1970. In the Soviet era, the icon was kept in the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Braslaw. It was open to view only during worship services.

The Braslaw Mother of God Icon will become the first crowned icon in the Vitsyebsk region and the seventh such icon in Belarus. //BelaPAN