Polish police detained a 58-year-old man on Sunday after he threw an object at the country’s Black Madonna of Czestochowa, an ancient Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary believed to work miracles.
Guards at the monastery in the southern city of Czestochowa immediately brought the man under control and turned him over to police, local police spokeswoman Joanna Lazar told reporters.
Thanks to a protective pane, no damage was done to the icon, whose dark skin bears two scars and who many in the 90-percent Catholic country believe holds special powers.
The man’s motives were unknown, Lazar said, adding that he was being questioned and could be charged with offending religious sentiment.
Every August, thousands of Poles make a spiritual journey to the revered monastery in a tradition that goes back to 1711 when the bubonic plague decimated Warsaw’s population.
When the epidemic suddenly ended, a brotherhood of knights trekked from the capital to the monastery to offer thanks to the Virgin Mary.
The relic has since enjoyed a cult following at home, and its international reputation was boosted by the late Polish pope John Paul II who was deeply devoted to the icon.