From the end of the
17th century Máriapócs in eastern Hungary arose as a place of pilgrimage,
central to which was a (blood) weeping icon of the Virgin Mary. The place of
pilgrimage still enjoys great popularity today and is especially visited by
members of the Greek Catholic (Uniate) Church, originally Rusyns. A replica of
the religious painting from Máriapócs can be found in the chapel of Siebeneich
(Kerns, Obwalden, Switzerland) built in the first half of the 18th century.
Since the early 1950s, when the original religious painting, which over time
had been relegated to the background, was „rediscovered“, Hungarians living in
Switzerland have made the yearly pilgrimage to Siebeneich. As in Máriapócs,
where the pilgrimage of the Uniate minority (and respectively the Rusyn
minority) raises the consciousness of their own specific religious identity, so
does a pilgrimage to Siebeneich satisfy not only the religious needs of the
Hungarian-Swiss, but also confirms and reproduces their particular identity as
an ethnic minority living in Switzerland. The article shows how a religious
painting, a pilgrimage and even the resulting social function is „copied“ and
how this „copy“ becomes again an „original“.
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Acta Ethnographica Hungarica
2020 Volume 65
Magyar Tudományos Akadémia
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.