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The Franciscans arrived in Poznań around 1640. On 22 August
1643 king Władysław IV Waza (Ladislaus IV Vasa) issued
a special document, whereby they could settle on a hillside
near the ducal castle and build a church and a friary.
The following year the Bishop of Poznań approved the
foundation of the Franciscan convent. First, however, the friars
moved into the so-called Grobla (causeway), situated outside
the city walls. After the wooden church and the friary had
burnt down during the Swedish invasion, the construction of
a bricked temple and a priory commenced on the castle hill,
in pursuance with the royal decree. 24 May 1668 saw the
consecration of the foundation stone for the temple which
has survived to this day. The new church – dedicated to
Anthony of Padua, was built according to the Baroque style.
From the very beginning, the Franciscans were vested with a special mission to spread the glory of Virgin Mary in Poznań. There, at the time of the Swedish “Deluge”, brother Tomasz Dybowski commenced his activities. He was a charity collector raising funds in Poznań during the period of great poverty. In 1666, upon approval by his superiors, he purchased a small picture of Virgin Mary. He would then perambulate, wearing the picture on his chest, bringing all people relief from suffering, joy and hope to win the protection of Virgin Mary. After a few years, the news about the “miracles” that apparently occurred to the believers and were attributed to the picture reached the ecclesiastic authorities. Numerous committees were appointed to examine those “wonderful” events and healings. On 19 April 1669 the Bishop of Poznań issued a decree, which ascribed supernatural powers to the picture and allowed people to worship it in the Franciscan church on the royal hill in Poznań. In 1670 the ceremony was held of depositing the painting of Miraculous Virgin Mary – Our Lady of Poznań in the new church. From that time, the Franciscan church has been the most important sanctuary of the city, and Virgin Mary in the picture has been known under the name of Our Lady of Poznań.
On 29 June 1968 the painting received the papal crowns awarded by Primate Stefan Wyszyński, Cardinal Karol Wojtyła and Archbishop Antoni Baraniak.
The church building has been renovated recently. It is now one of the most important churches of Poznań as a place of worship of Miraculous Virgin Mary. Thanks to its architecture and interior – designed principally by Adam Swach – and unique acoustics of the main nave, the church hosts numerous concerts. The Franciscans organize numerous religious and cultural events. One of the most important among them is the church fair of Miraculous Virgin Mary – Our Lady of Poznań on 12 September.
Father Manswet Wardyn