Pope Francis will be visiting the beloved Marian Shrine of Sumuleu Ciuc, the most important Catholic site in the country, where Hungarian-speaking Romanians and Catholics from other countries go each year on pilgrimage.
ZENIT Senior Vatican Correspondent, Deborah Castellano Lubov, brings you an inside look at the Marian sanctuary, which is part of the Archdiocese of Alba Iulia, erected by Saint Stephen, King of Hungary in 1009.
Romania is majority Orthodox, with its Catholics making up– according to Vatican statistics–a mere 7.2 percent of the population, which is represented primarily through its Hungarian-speaking community.
During his May 31 – June 2 Apostolic Visit to Romania, Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at the site.
Sumuleu Ciuc is in the region of Transylvania. Before 1919, it was part of Hungary. Now, it is part of Romania.
Traditionally, the annual pilgrimage there is for Pentecost. Şumuleu Ciuc, a neighborhood in the city of Miercurea Ciuc, in the Romanian Harghita County, was until 1959, a separate commune.
Turning to the sanctuary itself, it is Baroque in style and was completed between 1802 and 1804, inside one finds the most precious statue of the Virgin Mary. It is found in the Pilgrimage Church in Csíksomlyó, supervised by the Franciscans.
The Statue was made between 1515 and 1520 and survived the devastating fire of 1661.
In the sanctuary, there are countless ex-votos thanking the Blessed Virgin Mary for the many miracles she performed.
ZENIT welcomes you to enjoy the follow photos, courtesy of Senior Vatican Correspondent, Deborah Castellano Lubov.