Historic Coronation at Oblate Shrine

For nearly 100 years, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate have been the caretakers of a unique shrine in Poland that attracts more than 200,000 pilgrims a year. In August, the shrine hosted a special papal coronation ceremony that attracted worldwide attention.

Since 1927, the Oblates have been responsible for the Shrine of Our Lady of Koden which is the main Marian shrine in the Diocese of Siedlce in eastern Poland. The focal point of the shrine is a painting of Mary and the Christ Child that was brought to Koden in 1631.

The Mother of God represented in the Koden image became a sign of unity. The images were crowned with papal crowns in 1723. It was just the third coronation of an image in Poland at the time.

Devotion to Our Lady of Koden grew significantly thanks to Pope John Paul II. Prior to being elected Pope, he had visited the sanctuary many times and called Our Lady of Koden the “Mother of Unity.”

In 2022, a delegation of Missionary Oblates visited the Vatican to have Pope Francis bless new crowns for the image. The crowns were made by Dariusz Drapikowski, a well-known Polish artist specializing in gold smithery and in amber. In the crown of Mary there is a stone from the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and in the crown of Christ is a stone from Golgotha.

On the Feast of the Assumption, the image of Our Lady of Koden was crowned by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, a personal representative of Pope Francis. The crowning was the highlight of a three-day celebration at the shrine that attracted pilgrims from throughout Poland and Europe, including dignitaries from nearby Ukraine.

“Since Our Lady has already shown throughout history that she is the Mother of Unity, today we pray in a special way that this unity and peace will exist not only here, but also in Ukraine, Belarus, Europe and throughout the world,” said Cardinal Dziwisz.