The Black Madonna
Czestochowa, Poland
The Black Madonna is the holiest icon for Poland's Catholics.  
The painting came to Poland in 1384, probably from the east,
perhaps even Jerusalem.  The Jasna Gora Monastery is home
to the Black Madonna.  Pilgrims come here in large numbers,
as shown in my video.
A dark painting in a poorly lit location does not make for the
best possible picture, especially since the crowd of pilgrims
kept me from getting very close.  As with other images all
over the world, the Black Madonna presents Mary and Jesus.
For Polish catholics, it is a symbol of their faith.
In Poland the Catholic Church and Communism long battled
for loyalty of the Polish people.  The Church emerged
victorious, with help from the late Pope John Paul II.  He
provided spiritual and political support to Polish movements
such as Solidarity that opposed the Communist system.
With Communism and Soviet domination gone now, most
Poles remain devout Catholics.  I noticed how the churches
were full to overflowing on Sunday.
With a high speed internet connection, watch the Intrepid
Berkeley Explorer's free streaming video of this trip, the second
half of "Gondola With the Wind", (after Italy), by clicking on:
http://www.adventurepics.com/IBE/video1.aspx?
VF=gondola2.wmv