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Tradition of pilgrimage is present from the very beginnings of Christianity. The first Christians travelled to places where Christ resided in various periods of time. In the early Middle Ages, the tombs of martyrs had become very popular and millions of pilgrims visited places such as the cemetery in Vatican. After the Constantine's edict in 313, the martyrs were buried in churches, close to the altar. From then, pilgrims went to the cities where the relics were stored. Quite often, destinations of pilgrimages were remote desert no-man's lands, the places of residence of many devoted hermits. In the Middle Ages, pilgrimages to places where blessed figures and paintings were stored have also become popular. Next to these places monasteries and special camps were built to spiritually and materially support pilgrims.
Polish pilgrims movement gained momentum during baroque period and in the times of occupation, in which it helped to preserve Poles' national identity. Cult of the Virgin Mary, since the Lviv Oaths pleaded by Jan Kazimierz, has become polish national cult. It had special importance during the Partitions of Poland and in the more recent history, during the communists rule.
Organising the sanctuaries and setting up pilgrim routes became the expression of religiousness which, together with everyday religious routine, sets a path to follow by all worshippers. Pilgrims entering the space of religious voyages become a part of a very intense religious experience, differing greatly from what they experience on a daily basis. Visiting the sacred place is not yet a pilgrimage, rather a religious tourism. A pilgrimage requires a pilgrim to make a conscious decision, withstand the hardships of a journey but also to fulfil several other pilgrim's duties.
Modern pilgrim tracks and places are still marked by the size of the sanctuary, their attractiveness and their tradition. The most important pilgrimage centres in Poland are the sanctuaries of an international renown. To name a few: Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, Krakow; Sanctuary of Our Lady of Jasna Gora in Czestochowa; Sanctuary of Our Lady the Queen of Poland in Lichen.
Apart from all that, there is still one more reason for a pilgrimage, a need of social unity, preserving the bonds with other humans, interaction with the society which, in today's Global Village, are priceless things on their own.
Every year, between 5 and 7 milion Poles travels across Poland and Europe as pilgrims. 50 pilgrim routes lead to Czestochowa alone.
|Serwis dla grup pielgrzymkowych. A w nim: o Sanktuarium Bożego Miłosierdzia w Łagiewnikach, o Krakowie oraz nasza oferta turystyczna: noclegi, posiłki i przewodnicy. Tu znajdziesz informacje niezbędne do organizacji pielgrzymki.|
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