The Black Madonna of Sovereto

Thu, 04/23/2009 - 12:04
Sovereto
Every 23 April, the citizens of Terlizzi in the province of Bari honour their patron, the Black Madonna of Sovereto, by transporting her sacred statue from the Duomo of Terlizzi back to where it was found, three kilometres from Terlizzi.
 
The small Puglian town shuts down for the day as its population transfers itself to the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna of Sovereto, which was built in the early 12th century above the small grotto where, as legend goes, a shepherd searching for a lost sheep discovered the Byzantine statue of the Black Madonna and child.
 
Black Madonnas are some of the most sacred icons in the Catholic Church, particularly throughout Europe; the one in Sovereto represents just one of over 450 found throughout the world.
 
There is also much speculation that the Knights of the Templar used the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna of Sovereto—a theory supported by the various Templar symbols in and around the mystical area such as those found underneath the plaster in the nearby hospital, on the Holy Water fountain in the church, and on two knights' tombs inside the church.
 

Have you seen any Black Madonnas?