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Le Puy Cathedral: The Black Virgin

The Black Virgin

Le Puy has possessed a revered image of the Virgin Mary since its earliest days, but unfortunately all that survives today is a replica from the late 18th century. The original was a Black Virgin statue from c.1000 AD. This was venerated by pilgrims for eight centuries until its violent destruction by Revolutionaries on June 9, 1794, when the wooden image was publicly burned on the Place du Martouret. As the statue burned away, a secret door in its back was revealed, the door opened, and a roll of parchment fell out. Tragically, no attempt was made to read the parchment before it was consumed by the flames. The replica statue is carried in procession on feast days, just as the original was throughout the Middle Ages.

Credit: Holly Hayes