Medjugorje[note 1] (Croatian: Međugorje, pronounced [mêdʑuɡoːrje]) is a village in the municipality of Čitluk, Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since 1981, it has become a popular site of Catholic pilgrimage due to Our Lady of Medjugorje, a purported series of apparitions of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, to six local children that are supposedly still happening to this day.
|Country||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|Entity||Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|• Total||11.83 km2 (4.57 sq mi)|
|• Density||190/km2 (500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
The name Međugorje literally means "between mountains". At an altitude of 200 m (660 ft) above sea level it has a mild Mediterranean climate. The town consists of an ethnically homogeneous Croat population of 2,306. The Roman Catholic parish includes four neighbouring villages: Bijakovići, Vionica, Miletina and Šurmanci. Since 2019, pilgrimages to Medjugorje have been authorized by the Vatican as long as there is no assumption the events are confirmed to have a supernatural origin.
Early history Edit
To the east of Međugorje in the Neretva valley. Gravestones erected in the Middle Ages have remained to this day in the Catholic cemetery Groblje Srebrenica in the hamlet of Miletina as well as in the hamlet of Vionica. In the area of the cemetery in Miletina, structures from the Roman era stood, whose ruins have not yet been fully excavated.
19th and early 20th centuries Edit
Part of the Ottoman Empire until 1878, it became part of Austria-Hungary (War of 1878, Annexion 1908). In 1882 the railway line between Mostar and the Adriatic coast of Dalmatia was built, with a station in the hamlet of Šurmanci, through which the village gained access to the railway network.
The Catholic parish of Sveti Jakov ("Saint James") was erected in 1892 by the Bishop of Mostar Paškal Buconjić. The twelve-metre tall crucifix on the mountain called Križevac (Cross Mountain), completing the parish's Stations of the Cross (križni put), was completed in 1934.
The Medjugorje pilgrimage site Edit
Our Lady of Medjugorje is the title given to the apparition by those who believe that the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, has been appearing from 24 June 1981 until today to six children, now adults, in Medjugorje (then part of communist Yugoslavia). The Marian shrine of Medjugorje has become a popular pilgrimages site for Catholics. and has turned into Europe's third most important apparition site, where each year more than 1 million people visit. It has been estimated that 30 million pilgrims have come to Međugorje since the reputed apparitions began in 1981.
In 1981 as soon as reports began of the Marian apparitions on Crnica hill in the Bijakovići hamlet, confrontations with Yugoslav state authorities began. Pilgrims were forbidden from coming, the pilgrim's donations were seized by the police and access to what was called the Apparition Hill was largely blocked. The parish priest of Medjugorje at that time, Father Jozo Zovko, was arrested and convicted of sedition. He refused to follow the orders from the Communist Party headquarters in Mostar: to stop the people from meeting on Podrodo and to stop the evening Mass.
Međugorje during the Bosnian War Edit
During the Bosnian War, Medjugorje remained in the hands of the Croatian Defence Council and in 1993 became part of the Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia. By the Dayton Agreement in 1995, Medjugorje was incorporated into the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, populated mostly by Bosniaks and Croats. It lies within the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, one of ten autonomous regions established so that no ethnic group could dominate the Federation.
On 2 April 1995, at the high point of conflict within the local diocese, Bishop Ratko Perić was kidnapped by Croat militiamen, beaten, and taken to a chapel run by one of the Franciscans associated with Međugorje, where he was held hostage for ten hours. At the initiative of the mayor of Mostar, he was freed without bloodshed, with the help of the United Nations Protection Force.
Development after the war Edit
The town and its environs boomed economically after the war. Over a thousand hotel and hostel beds are available for pilgrims to the town. With approximately one million visitors annually, Medjugorje has the most overnight stays in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 2017, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Praga (Warsaw) as a special envoy of the Holy See to Medjugorje, tasked with assessing its pastoral needs. By the end of 2017, Hoser had announced that the Vatican's position was in favor of organizing pilgrimages. In 2018, the Pope named Hoser as an apostolic visitor to Medjugorje, for "an undefined period and at nutum Sanctae Sedis" (at the disposal of the Holy See). The aim of this mission is "ensuring a stable and continuous accompaniment to the parish community of Medjugorje and to the faithful who go there as pilgrims, and whose needs require particular attention." In 2019, the Vatican officially authorized pilgrimages to Medjugorje as long as there is no assumption the events are confirmed to have a supernatural origin. The first Vatican-sanctioned pilgrimage then took place for five days from 2-6 August 2019. During the pilgrimage, approximately 60,000 young Catholics from 97 countries took part in the Medjugorje International Youth Festival. Fourteen archbishops and bishops and about 700 Catholic priests joined the festivities as well.
According to the 2013 census, its population was 2,265.
Notable people Edit
Panoramic of Medjugorje
Cross at Križevac hill
Blue cross at Podbrdo hill
Saint James church
Outdoor altar of Saint James church
Stations of the Cross at Križevac hill
Jesus leaving The Cross, located behind the St. James Church
Our Lady statue at Podbrdo
- "dj" was replaced by "đ" in Gaj's Latin alphabet, but continues to be used in the majority of English-language sources, either by choice or out of typographic limitation.
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