Our Lady of MedjugorjeADDPMP654
Our Lady of Medjugorje, also called Queen of Peace and Mother of the Redeemer, is the title given to the “visions” of the Blessed Virgin Mary which allegedly began in June 1981 to six Croatian teenagers, ranged in age from ten to sixteen years old at the time of the first “apparition”, in Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina. There have also been continued reports of the “visionaries” seeing and receiving messages from the apparition of Our Lady during the years since. The seers often refer to the apparition as the “Gospa”, which is a Croatian archaism for lady. They described her as “A young woman about twenty years old with blue eyes, black hair, and a crown of stars around Her head,” that “wore a white veil and bluish-grey robe” and “hovered just above the ground on a white cloud.”
At the time of the apparitions, the village of Medjugorje was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, a federation of various Slavic nations. There were tensions among the nations, exacerbated by religious difference: most Croats are Catholic, most Serbs are Eastern Orthodox, while the Bosnians and Herzegovinians are a mix of the two and included in the third group, the Bosnian Muslims. The death of President Josip Broz Tito in early May 1980 had led to anti-communist backlash and the build up of ethnic tensions, destabililizing the country. The security apparatus enhanced its activities against the perceived “enemies of the state”, especially the Catholic Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the apparatus was most loyal to Tito. This political, social, economic, religious and national crisis in Yugoslavia could have led to the apparition of the Lady to the teenagers. Indeed, according to the seers, “the Medjugorje visions began only days after an Orthodox commemoration of mass killings of Serbs.”
In the 1980s, Medjugorje was visited by a million pilgrimages on average, even if officially organised pilgrimages were prohibited. The ban was lifted by the Pope only in May 2019. However, this was not to be interpreted as an authentication of known events; clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such ‘apparitions’ would be taken for granted.