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Austria, Kötschach:

Black Madonna, Our Dear Lady in Kötschach

(schwarze Madonna, Unsere Liebe Frau in Kötschach):

In the parish church Our dear Lady in Kötschach, Kärnten, also known as the "Gailtaler Cathedral", in Kärnten.

Our Dear Lady of Kötschach seems to be the only original Black Madonna in Austria. All the others are copies of the Black Madonnas the Austrians hold most dear: 16 are copies of the Madonna of Loreto, Italy, at least 3 are copies of Our Lady of Einsiedeln, Switzerland, one is a copy of the Black Madonna of Altötting, Germany, and one of Chenstochowa, Poland (the Black Madonna of Unterfrauenhaid).

The church of Our Dear Lady of Kötschach was erected as a Marian pilgrimage site in 1399. It was damaged during the Turkish invasion in 1478 but repaired and rededicated in 1485, then expanded in 1518 – 1527.*1 The resulting church is of such rare beauty that it is called a Dom, i.e. cathedral, even though it is not the seat of a bishop. The Black Madonna is referred to as the central “image of grace” (Gnadenbild) that makes this shrine a place of pilgrimage. In the course of the 18th century alone, more than 100 miraculous cures were attributed to pilgrimages to this Dark Mother.*2 Nonetheless I am unable to find any information about her.
In front of the church is an ancient linden tree that was declared a natural monument. For more on Black Madonnas and linden trees see “Altötting” in this index.

Loretto chapels

Many of the copies below are considered miraculous “images of grace” with their own legends. They are certainly worth a visit, but all I can do here is give you a little taste of them and a piece of general history. I don’t usually include copies in this index.

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.*3 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.

Glandorf in Kärnten:

a chapel in the forest on Muraunberg (Mt. Muraun), middle of the 19th century


Chapel form 1659 became a basilica, a pilgrimage site, and its own little village called Loretto, Austria.

The statue is on the bottom left in the picture.


Pfarrkirchen im Mühlkreis:

Upper Austria, diocese Linz, chapel built in 1694


in the Loretokirche,
Paris-Lodron-Straße 6
5020 Salzburg; it includes chapels to all 3 of the most famous Black Madonnas revered in Austria: the Dark Mothers of Einsiedeln, Altötting, and Loreto.

St. Andrä in Kärnten:

In the pilgrimage church Maria Loreto, Wölzing-Sankt Andrä 19, 9433 Wölzing-St. Andrä, phone#: +43 4358 21010, built 1683 to 1686.


Paulaner Church, Paulanergasse 6, 1040 Vienna, last 3rd of the 17th century, copy brought from Loreto, Italy




Kaisergruft in the Augustinerkirche in the royal palace, Augustinerstraße 3, 1010 Vienna. Original Loreto chapel was built in 1627. Present version from 1784.

Einsiedel chapels:


Copy made in Einsiedeln around 1650. For much information in German, including the local legends, visit the website of the diocese of Linz.



photo taken from: www.sagen.at

Altötting chapel:

Kaltenleutgeben near Vienna:

This statue was brought here in 1710.

photo taken from: www.sagen.at

*1: http://www.marienpilgerweg.at/etappen/etappe09.htm A beautiful website in German describing a Marian pilgrimage route that takes 10 days if you walk about 7 hours each day.
*2: http://www.irene-kohlberger.at/pages/reisen/wanderungen-durch-oesterreich/karnischer-hoehenweg.php
*3: http://pfarre-pfarrkirchen.dioezese-linz.at/kapelle/kap-deutung.htm