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The Basilica of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary is also called the Basilica of Mariazell - it is a Catholic church where the Austrian national shrine is kept - a figurine of the Virgin Mary made of wood. This church has the status of a"minor basilica" and is the main place of pilgrimage for Catholics in Austria.
The history of the Basilica of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, according to one of the legends, is associated with the name of the monk of the Benedictine monastery Magnus. He was sent on a religious mission to the new lands donated to the monastery. As a talisman, the monk took a small wooden figurine of the Blessed Virgin. On the way of the traveler, a huge rock stood up, which completely blocked the passage. Magnus's prayer in front of the sculpture of the Virgin Mary was rewarded with a miracle - the rock split by itself. The surprised monk, as a token of gratitude, built a chapel on this place, in which he placed a miraculous figure and a cell for himself.
Another legend says that the monk Magnus himself left the monastery and became a hermit. In the forest, the Most Holy Theotokos appeared to him and indicated the place of his modest residence (skete). Near the dwelling, the monk erected a statue of the Virgin, for which shepherds and hunters later erected a chapel.
So in the 13th century, the Moravian Margrave Vladislav III, having visited this place, was cured of a serious illness. In gratitude for his healing, he built a Romanesque church here. The first mention of it dates back to 1243. In the XIV century, by order of King Louis of Hungary, the church was rebuilt in the Gothic style. Later there was a fire in the church after which the temple was not restored until the 17th century. Only during the reign of Ferdinand III was the temple restored by the Italian architect Domenico Chiassia. He added two side baroque towers to the church. So the Basilica of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary began to harmoniously combine the Gothic style and the Italian Baroque. We can see it like this today.
The luxurious interior of the temple and the silver altar were created by sculptor Lorenzo Mattieli and architect Fischer von Erlach the Younger.
The miraculous figurine of the Virgin Mary (48 centimeters high) is kept in the old part of the church - the Chapel of Mercy. Even representatives of the Habsburg family were parishioners of this basilica.
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Topic: Basilica of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in Austria, Graz spa.