Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń

The Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń [ˈlixɛɲ] is a Roman Catholic church located at the Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows, Queen of Poland, in the village of Licheń Stary near Konin in the Greater Poland Voivodeship in Poland. It was designed by Barbara Bielecka and built between 1994 and 2004.[1] The construction was funded by pilgrims' donations.[2] With a tower measuring 141.5 meters in height,[3] it is one of the tallest and largest churches in the world.

Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń in Licheń Stary
Bazylika Najświętszej Maryi Panny Licheńskiej w Licheniu Starym
Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Licheń, Stary Licheń, Polonia, 2016-12-21, DD 33-35 HDR.jpg
Front view of the Basilica
AffiliationRoman Catholic
DistrictDiocese of Włocławek
Year consecrated2004
LocationLicheń Stary, Poland
Geographic coordinates52°19′24.00″N 18°21′28.80″E / 52.3233333°N 18.3580000°E / 52.3233333; 18.3580000Coordinates: 52°19′24.00″N 18°21′28.80″E / 52.3233333°N 18.3580000°E / 52.3233333; 18.3580000
Architect(s)Barbara Bielecka
Direction of façadesouth
Spire height141.5 m (464 ft)
Materialsconcrete, steel, bricks


The history of the foundation of the church dates back to 1813, when Tomasz Kłossowski, a Polish soldier fighting under Napoleon near Leipzig, was seriously wounded. He invoked the Virgin Mary, begging her not to let him die in a foreign land. According to legend, she appeared to him wearing a golden crown, a dark red gown, with a golden mantle, and holding a white eagle in her right hand. She comforted the soldier and promised he would recover and return to Poland.[4] Tomasz was instructed to have an image of her made, and to place the image in a public place so that "My people will pray before this image and shall draw many graces at My hands in the hardest times of trial."[5]

With the nave 120 meters long and 77 meters wide, with a central dome 98 meters (321 feet) high, and with a tower 141.5 metres (464 feet) tall, it is Poland's largest church and one of the largest church buildings in the world. Also, it has one of the tallest domes in the world. The church is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, Queen of Poland, whose icon, perhaps dating back to the 18th century, is displayed on the basilica's main altar. It is one of Poland's principal pilgrimage sites.[6]

Between 2002 and 2007, Polish organbuilder Zych - on the base of the project made by Prof. Andrzej Chorosiński - built 157-stop pipe organ (6 manuals and pedalboard). It is the largest organ in Poland, 4th in Europe and 13th around the world.[7]

Pope John Paul II blessed the Basilica in 1999.[8] In 2007, parts of the Polish museum in Fawley Court were translocated to the shrine by the Marian Fathers.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Shrine of Our Lady of Sorrows in Lichen Old". Retrieved 24 February 2018.
  2. ^ The Guardian; June 20, 1998. Archived February 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Drawings of Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lichen".
  4. ^ "The Virgin of Lichen" Archived 2015-04-14 at the Wayback Machine. The Mary Page, University of Dayton.
  5. ^ Thomas, William. "Our Lady of Lichen, Poland". Catholic Voice, June 21, 2009 Archived December 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Moved by Mary: The Power of Pilgrimage in the Modern World by Anna-Karina Hermkens, Willy Jansen, Catrien Notermans 2009 ISBN 0-7546-6789-8 page 99
  7. ^ Szostak, Michał (2017). Licheńskie organy na tle największych instrumentów Polski, Europy i świata. Licheń Stary: Zakład Gospodarczy "Dom Pielgrzyma". pp. 154–155. ISBN 9788364126147. OCLC 1005163172.
  8. ^ Vaticanwebsite: John Paul II at Lichen

External linksEdit