Vienna Black Madonna Augustiner Kirche.jpg

Copy of the Black Madonna of Loreto. In the emperor’s crypt in the Augustiner Church in the royal palace, Augustinerstraße 3, 1010 Vienna. The original Loreto chapel was built in 1627. Present version from 1784.

The House of Habsburg, which held the throne of the Holy Roman Empire from 1438 – 1740 and ruled Austria till 1918, spread the Loreto cult all over its empire. This was part of the efforts to stem the tide of Protestantism with a Counter-reformation. Loreto, with its Holy House of Mary, where the annunciation of Christ’s birth is said to have taken place, became a central piece of the Counter-reformation. The Marian litany of Loreto and more or less exact copies of the Holy House with its Black Madonna spread all over Europe. The German Wikipedia article on “Loretokapelle” lists 16 Loreto chapels in Austria, 40 in Germany, etc. There used to be many more in Austria, but as times changed, quite a few of the Black Madonna chapels were transformed into different kinds of chapels.