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NAZARETH – On February 11, 2017, a new icon of the Virgin Mary was installed in the exterior cloister of the Shrine of Nazareth. The icon, in the form of stained glass, is a gift from the Austrian dioceses. It has joined the many representations that honor The Holy Virgin Mary on the walls of the esplanade.

Magna Mater Austriae: it is under this title that Austrian Catholics from Styria and the entire country pray to the Mary of Mariazell. It is the most important pilgrimage destination in Austria. It brings together, since the thirteenth century, very many faithful from the whole of Central Europe to seek the help of the Virgin Mary who facilitated the evangelization of the region by the Benedictine monk Magne, St. Lambrecht.

The Virgin, originally represented by a simple linden wood statue, is crowned and clothed in royal apparel.

The window gifted to the Nazareth Sanctuary is the work of a Salzburg artist, Johann Weyringer. It includes the Virgin and Child of Mariazell engraved and painted on glass in the Baroque style of the Austrian Mariazell Basilica.

To mark its installation, the young Catholics of Styria (Diocese of Graz-Seckau) and the Salzburg Archdiocese, accompanied by their respective bishops, participated in a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Franz Lackner OFM and concelebrated by Bishop Wilhelm Krautwalsch, Bishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio in Israel, Archbishop George Bacouni, Greek Catholic Archbishop of Haifa, Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel and the Reverend Father Dobromir Jasztal, OFM, Vicar of the Custody of the Holy Land.

The Archbishop of Salzburg recalled during the celebration that for all Christians around the world Nazareth is “the place of the source of our faith, and Mary, by her will and desire of obedience to God’s demand, is an example for all of us”.

The stained glass window had joined the many representations of the Virgin on the walls of the sanctuary. Delegations from around the world like Austria have wanted to thank the Virgin Mary for her FIAT and have provided a representation recalling a sanctuary of their country or the special link of the Blessed Virgin with their nation. The faithful from around the world who come to pray at the Basilica like to seek a work or works from their country and give thanks, in this way, to the Queen of all peoples.

Cécile Klos

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