The Sanctuary of Einsiedeln
The Lady Chapel of Einsiedeln is situated inside the abbey church and it houses the Black Madonna. It was erected in exactly the same place where St. Meinrad had built his hermitage. It was consecrated on September 14th in 948 by Konrad, bishop of Constance. According to the legend, Christ appeared him in his dream and consecrated the chapel himself. Konrad therefore refused to consecrate it again. Every year the Feast of the Miraculous Consecration commemorates this event on September 14th.
The original chapel was torn down in Mai 1798 by the French troops that had occupied Switzerland. It was reconstructed in the years 1815 - 1817 in the neoclassical style.
The black Madonna is a wooden statue of Our Lady situated inside the Lady Chapel. Her name derives from her black complexion, a result of the smoke of the many candles that used to burn in the chapel.
The statue dates from the middle of the 15th century and stands in front of an aureole from which rays and flashes emanate. Since the early 17th century the Madonna is clad in a festive robe which is changed according to liturgy.
The Salve Regina is the daily highlight of the religious ceremonies in Einsiedeln. Following the Gregorian Vesper celebrations in the choir, the monks march in a solemn procession to the Lady Chapel an sing there the four-part chant of the Salve Regina, a tradition dating back to the year 1547.
Feast of the Miraculous Consecration
The feast of the Miraculous Consecration commemorates the consecration of the Lady Chapel by Christ himself. This is the most important feast in Einsiedeln - particularly when it is celebrated on a Sunday: The abbey and parts of the town are illuminated by candles and the monks and pilgrims march in a candle light procession around the abbey square.