Međugorje kroz sliku
Međugorje, or Medjugorje,[note 1] (Croatian pronunciation: [medʑuɡoːrje]) is a town located in the Herzegovina region of western Bosnia and Herzegovina, around 25 km (16 mi) southwest of Mostar and close to the border of Croatia. The town is part of the municipality of Čitluk. Since 1981, it has become a popular site of religious pilgrimage due to reports of apparitions of the Virgin Mary to six local Catholics.
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 over 4,000. The Roman Catholic parish (local administrative and religious area) consists of five neighbouring villages: Medjugorje, Bijakovići, Vionica, Miletina and Šurmanci.
Following reports of apparitions, successive bishops of Mostar ruled the claims groundless. In March 2010, in view of continued public interest, the Holy See announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was forming an investigative commission, composed of bishops, theologians, and other experts, under the leadership of Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's former Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome.
To the east of Medjugorje in the Neretva valley, the Serbian Orthodox Žitomislić Monastery has stood since 1566. 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
"Our Lady of Medjugorje" and "Our Lady Queen of Peace" are the titles given to the Blessed Virgin Mary by those who believe that she has been appearing since 24 June 1981 to six children in Medjugorje (then part of communist Yugoslavia).
The visionary Marija Lunetti (Pavlović) claims to receive messages from the Virgin Mary on the twenty-fifth of every month, while Mirjana Soldo (Dragičević) reports receiving messages on the second of the month.
The messages attributed to Our Lady of Medjugorje have a strong following among Catholics worldwide. Medjugorje has become one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for Catholics in the world 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 Medjugorje since the reputed apparitions began in 1981. Many have reported visual phenomena including the sun spinning in the sky or changing colors and figures such as hearts and crosses around the sun. Some visitors have suffered eye damage while seeking to experience such phenomena. Jesuit Father Robert Faricy has written about his own experience of such phenomena, saying, "Yet I have seen rosaries which have changed color, and I have looked directly at the sun in Medjugorje and have seen it seem to spin and turn different colors. It would be easier to report that it is just hysteria except that I would then have to accuse myself of being hysterical, which I was not and am not."
The phenomenon is not officially approved by the Catholic Church. Bishop Ratko Perić of the diocese of Mostar-Duvno, responsible for Medjugorje, has stated, "The numerous absurd messages, lies, falsehoods and disobedience associated from the beginning with the events and "apparitions" of Medjugorje, all refute every claim of authenticity." In response to inquiries about the apparitions in general and the comments of Bishop Perić in particular, then-Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, as Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote that the comments of Bishop Perić "should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but which is and remains his personal opinion."
Tomislav Vlašić, one of the main publicists of the apparitions, was laicized by Pope Benedict XVI in July 2009. He had been accused of sexual misconduct, "dubious doctrine, the manipulation of consciences, suspect mysticism and disobedience towards legitimately issued orders".
In March 2010, the Holy See announced that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was forming an investigative commission, composed of bishops, theologians, and other experts, under the leadership of Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope's former Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome. The Commission is expected to report any findings to the Congregation, which has responsibility for any possible judgment on the case.
On June 24, 1981, reports began of Marian apparitions on Crnica hill in the Bijakovići hamlet, and shortly thereafter confrontations with Yugoslav state authorities began. Pilgrims' donations were seized by the police and access to what was called the Apparition Hill was largely blocked.
In October 1981, Jozo Zovko, then the pastor of the town, was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment with forced labor for allegedly participating in a nationalistic plot. After Amnesty International, among others, appealed for his release and a judicial appeal was made, the sentence was reduced in the Yugoslav Federal Court in Belgrade to one and a half years, and the priest was released from prison in 1983.
In the last years before the breakup of Yugoslavia, the travel of pilgrims was no longer hindered by the state
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