Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sokal
Situated on a high escarpment over the Huczwa River, the former St. Nicholas Greek Catholic Church was built in 1795-1828 in Baroque style, designed by architect Losy de Losenau. In 1875 it was converted into an Orthodox church, and in 1922 into a branch church of St. Stanislaus Kostka. In 2002 the church was renamed the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sokal due to the grace-famous image of Our Lady of Sokal brought here.
The facade of the temple is decorated with pilasters and a triangular pediment. The side walls are supported by massive buttresses, and the roof is topped by a bell with a Baroque helmet. The bell tower, added in 1780, was adapted in 1888 into a chapel, thus connecting its interior with the church’s chancel. The temple is surrounded by a delightful old-growth forest, and an 18th-century stone cross stylized as a Maltese cross can be spotted in the church surroundings.
An undoubted attraction of the sanctuary is the image of Our Lady of Sokal located in the main altar. It is worth mentioning that the painting, brought from the city of Sokal in Ukraine, with its history dates back to the 15th century.
History of the painting
According to legend, the painting by painter Jan Wężyk was created in Lithuania in the 14th century as a votive offering in thanksgiving for regained sight. The image of the Virgin Mary that the artist immortalized was the result of an angel’s revelation showing how the artist should depict Mary. In order to make Mary’s image famous, Jakub Wężyk placed it in a small chapel and then in a monastery in Sokal.
During the Khmelnytsky uprising, the monastery in Sokal was raided by Khmelnytsky’s army in order to loot the valuable votive offerings that nobles and knights, among others, had placed before the image of the Sokal Lady. According to legend, as a result of the monks’ fervent prayer for the defense of the monastery, Khmelnytsky was said to have been momentarily blinded by the radiance emanating from the image of the Sokalskaya Lady, as a result of which he humbly abandoned the siege. News of the miracle spread throughout the country, resulting in the fact that several hundred representatives of the Crown and Lithuanian nobility wished to be buried in the catacombs of the Bernardine monastery.
On September 8, 1724, the grace-famous image of Our Lady of Sokal was crowned by Archbishop of Lviv Jan Skarbek. This was the fourth image crowned under papal law in the lands of the Republic.
In 1843, the original painting burned down in a fire at the monastery. However, Lvov artist Jan Kumala soon made a copy, which since 1848 has been surrounded by the local population with the same veneration as the previous painting. On the bicentennial of the coronation of the original, the official copy of the painting was crowned by Lviv Archbishop Boleslaw Twardowski.
When Sokal found itself outside Poland in 1951, the painting was taken to St. Bernardine Church in Krakow. After the end of the period of People’s Poland, it was decided to place the image of the Sokal Lady in the city closest to Sokal. Hrubieszow, as the easternmost city of Poland, received the honor of receiving the miraculous image. During a visit to Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, the then Holy Father John Paul II blessed the new crowns that were applied to the MBS image. In 2002, the ceremonial reception of the image took place. The city authorities of the time made the solemn gesture of handing the keys to the city to the Sokal Lady. The image, along with numerous votive offerings still coming from the Sokal monastery, was carried in a solemn procession led by the bishop and the Bernardine Fathers, who were specially brought to Hrubieszow – to take care of the grace-famous Marian image.
The sanctuary is open to the public after prior telephone contact
Contact: (84) 6962393
Location: ul. St. Staszica 6