The Black Madonna of Częstochowa is an icon of the Madonna and Child from the Jasna Góra Monastery in Poland. Originally from Jerusalem, the icon travelled to Constantinople and the Ukraine until it reached Częstochowa in 1382. It is also thought to have been brought there by Pauline monks from Turkey.
The icon is classed as a Hodegetria, which means that the Theotokos (Mary) points to Jesus. Hodegetria literally means “She who shows the Way.” In the Icon you can see Mary gesturing with her hand toward her Son.
What I think is so interesting about this particular icon, apart from some of the miracles attributed to it, which include saving Poland from invasion by the Red Army, are its battle scars. Most obvious are the marks on the cheek of Mary which were the result of an iconoclastic Swedish invader in 1430. The story is that while looting the monastery he struck the icon two times with his sword and then fell down dead. Another scar which is harder to see was the result of an arrow that was shot into the throat of Mary. This occurred before the icon arrived in Częstochowa and according to the legends, happened when Tartars attacked the fortress of Prince Ladislaus of Opole.
There are a few different thoughts on the icon’s origin, one of which is the traditional story that it was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist on a table board from the Holy Family’ss house while Mary told him of Jesus. Another is that it was from the 9th century Byzantine. It may be that both are true in their own way. The icon is said to have been restored at some point in it’s history from damages and because they couldn’t restore the image, they re-painted a new one on the original.