Inauguration of the Divine Mercy Stone Sanctuary, the official pilgrimage place of Knights of Malta (KMFAP) in Slovakia

A special and – in the life of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta, Federation of the Autonomous Priories (KMFAP) – a unique event took place on the 5th November 2016. The Slovakian Grand Priory – in the excellent organisation of Sir Alexander Czellárik, Grand Prior, and Lady Mária Czellárikova – held a pilgrimage to the Divine Mercy Stone Sanctuary – located in Ladce, on the Slovakian Butkov Hill – which place includes Christ’s Stations of the Cross, the intimate atmosphere small chapel and the giant-sized white cross with interior lights seen from afar. Which also counts as a relic, since a small piece of tree from the Holy Cross of Jerusalem is integrated in the white cross-shelf.

The newest Roman Catholic pilgrimage of Slovakia – its official Slovak name: Kamenné Sanktuárium Božieho milosrdenstva (Divine Mercy Stone Sanctuary) – is open from 2013 to pilgrims and visitors, who come in increasing numbers to this breathtaking beauty place.

The idea, plan, funding for the implementation and very demanding design in every details (the more kilometres long asphalt road to get there, the stations of the cross in the forest, the beautiful chapel and the impressive cross) of this pilgrimage place is due to Sir Ing. Anton Barcík – Knight of Malta, respected member of the Slovak Grand Priory of KMFAP, CEO of the Považské Cement Factory. His Holiness Pope Francis sent his blessings from Rome to this pilgrimage place.

The intention of Sir Anton Barcík is that this place in Ladce becomes the pilgrimage place of Europe and even of the world’s Christians.

The Slovakian knights and dames of KMFAP participated in large numbers on the knight’s pilgrimage, which was preceded by a solemn knightly Mass in the Roman Catholic Church of Divine Mercy in Ladce – consecrated on the 8th October 2016. Building the church and the parish office is also the generous gift of Sir Anton Barcík, because he financed the establishment costs of this modern style, clean lined, elegant church, in favour of the proponents of the village.

The knightly Holy Mass was celebrated by Sir Dr. Martin Klement, member of the Magisterial Religious Council and co-celebrated by Sir Doc. Pavol Zemko, King of Arms, Magisterial Chaplain, and Mgr. František Galvánek, chaplain of the Považská Bystrica Hospital. The liturgy was read in Hungarian and Slovakian languages by the knights and dames of the Slovak Grand Priory of KMFAP in the presence of the believers and residents of the village, who brought home-made cakes to the priests.

On behalf of the Grand Master of Knights of Malta (KMFAP) H.G. Prof. George Popper, lieutenant general, Lady Anna Popper and Sir Miklós Tulipán, Knight Commander of the Sovereign Order of Cyprus were present at the event.

After the ceremony H.G. Prof. George Popper proclaimed the Magisterial Decree 14/2016 of HMEH Prince José, Grand Master of KMFAP, which document entered into force on the 24th October 2016. According to the decree the Grand Master declared the Ladce-Butkov pilgrimage place as the respective official pilgrimage site of KMFAP.

At the end of the Mass H.G. Prof. George Popper handed over to Sir Anton Barcík the wooden painted trypticon of Sir Štefan Popa, our Romanian knight. And presented also the Magisterial chaplains artistic paintings of saints.

The newly established pilgrimage site has already been visited by Stanislaw Dziwisz, cardinal of Krakow, Viliam Judák, bishop of Nitra, and Mons. Tomáš Galis, diocesan bishop of the pilgrimage place furthermore Elias Vella, Maltese priest.

After the festive ceremony upon the invitation of Sir Anton Barcík the participants were hosted an Agape.


18th November 2016