The Golden Rose given to the Virgin Mary of Șumuleu Ciuc/Csíksomlyó
The Golden Rose (Rosa d'Oro) is a special gift from the popes, which is nowadays given to Mary's shrines. This honour was presented by Pope Francis in Șumuleu Ciuc/Csíksomlyó on June 1, 2019, in honour of the Virgin Mary. It is currently the only papal rose in the Carpathian Basin.
Originally the popes gave the golden roses to persons of great merit serving the Church. The custom was first mentioned in 1049, in the context that the Pope had donated the rose to an eminent official. Later the kings received the honour, then different bodies, and in the 13-14th century it was given to churches. The first woman to take over was Joanna I of Naples in 1368. From the 17th century onward, the Pope predominantly bestowed the honour on women of royal families for their virtues, and for their church service.
Since the mid-20th century, the Pope has honoured with the Golden Rose the Queen of Heaven, the Virgin Mary, at the most important shrines of Mary. Pope Paul VI awarded a church in Bethlehem in 1963, the Fatima in 1965 and the Guadalupe Shrine in 1966. Among others, John Paul II awarded the Golden Roses to the Shrine of Mary in Czestochowa, Loreto and Lourdes. Pope Benedict XVI honoured most of the Mary's shrines when he visited them (including Aparecida and Mariazell, the Immaculate Conception Church in Washington, the Nostra Signora di Bonaria in Cagliari, the Rosary of Pompeii, and the Basilica of the Rosary). Pope Francis also donated Golden Roses to the Mary's shrines in Fatima, Turin, Guadalupe and Czestochowa.
The Golden Rose is a symbol of joy and love, a symbol of Christ, according to old ceremonies, and thus its giving is not only a simple acknowledgment but also a mission: the honoured ones must bring Christ into the world.
The rose given by Pope Francis to the Virgin Mary of Șumuleu Ciuc/Csíksomlyó is made of silver with 24 karat gold plated stems. It is about 84 cm tall and weighs 1,200 grams. The Golden Rose was placed next to the statue of Virgin Mary, which having a height of 2.27 meters is the largest votive wooden statue in the world.