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Klokochovo is a small village in present-day Slovakia known for its weeping icon. The town is traditionally a home to Carpatho-Rusyns, Eastern Rite Roman Catholics who at one point had converted from Eastern Orthodoxy. While Roman in belief, they retained their Eastern liturgy and practices, including the use of icons (specially prepared pictures) rather than statues as objects of veneration. In 1670, as conflict between Protestants and Catholics in the region was at a boiling point, and a Protestant army approached the village, residents fled to the parish church to seek the intervention of the Virgin on their behalf. As they were praying, the army entered the town and soldiers found their way to the church.

They were about to ransack the sanctuary when one of them noticed that the icon was weeping. He drove his bayonet into the icon. It continued to weep. He ripped it from the iconostasis (which separated the altar area from the rest of the sanctuary) and was about to destroy it when the villagers intervened. A person grabbed the icon and fled with it into the woods. The soldiers torched the church.

When peace returned to the area, the icon was placed in the town hall at Prjashev. However, the Countess Sophia Bathory, who ruled the region, became excited about the icon and had it transferred to her chapel at her castle at Mukachevo. The wealthy countess lavishly decorated the icon with jewels and drapes. It eventually became the possession of Countess Helen nee Zrinyi. In 1688, the area having come under the control of the Hungarians, the countess went into exile in Turkey and took the icon with her. It was returned to Mukachevo in 1703. However, in 1711 the Hungarians overran the castle and carried the icon (along with other valuables in the castle) to the Hapsburg family capital in Vienna. It was placed in the private chapel in the imperial palace.

The villagers requested the return of their icon. They were refused, but during the reign of Empress Maria Theresa, a copy was made, and in 1769 it was presented to the city of Prjashev. In 1907, the copy of the icon in Prjashev was presented to Bishop John Valyi, whose seat was in Prjashev. At this time, the village of Klokochovo requested its return to their parish church. The bishop refused, but he had a second copy made and presented it to the church in 1913. Subsequently, Klokochovo became a place of pilgrimage. Though interrupted when Slovakia came under Communist control, pilgrimages began again in 1989. In the meantime, the original icon had disappeared from the place in Vienna. Its present location is unknown.


Weeping Icon of Klokochovo. http://www.carpathorusyn.org/. April 15, 2000.