The Story of Medjugorje

On June 24, 1981, two young girls were walking in the hamlet of Bijakovici in the parish of Medjugorje when a woman holding an infant appeared high on a hill among the boulders and brambles of Mount Podbrdo. Instinctively, they knew it was the Virgin Mary, but they did not approach her. They and four other children felt called to return the next day, and Our Blessed Mother drew them to her, effortlessly transporting them up the mountain, over boulders and thorny bushes. The Blessed Mother introduced herself as the Queen of Peace. They fell to their knees and began to pray. She prayed with them and promised to return the next day. Our Lady has regularly appeared in Medjugorje ever since, as have countless stories of conversion and miracles, making The Story of Medjugorje one of the most fascinating in modern church history.
Image
You don’t “decide” to visit Medjugorje. You are personally invited. Typically, it starts with a stirring…an ache…a longing to withdraw from your everyday routine and grow closer to Our Lord. Even those who don’t yet know her are personally invited by Our Blessed Mother to conversion and reconciliation with God and with each other in the place where she still appears today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Medjugorje

What Did Mary Tell the Visionaries?

What Did Our Lady Tell
the Visionaries?

The messages that our Blessed Mother has shared with the visionaries are messages of peace and love. Our Lady says God sent her to Medjugorje as an act of grace to remind us that God does exist, and He loves us. She comes as the Queen of Peace to bring the world back to her Son. She has given us five “stones”, or weapons, to combat evil and bring us closer to Jesus; they are prayer, fasting, scripture, Mass, the Eucharist, and the Sacrament of confession. Through her miraculous works and messages, she longs to open our hearts to God and help us to reorient our lives towards His Church and the Sacraments, which so many of us have moved away from.
Are the marian apparitions real?

Are the Marian apparitions in Medjugorje real?

Pope Benedict XVI set up a commission chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini to “collect and examine all the material” about Medjugorje and present “a detailed report” followed by a vote on the “supernatural nature” of the apparitions. From 2010 to 2014 the committee met 17 times, scouring documents from the Vatican, the parish of Medjugorje, and the Yugoslavia secret service. The commission interviewed all seers and witnesses and inspected the village of Herzegovina. The conclusions of the Ruini Report on Medjugorje support the supernatural character of the initial alleged apparitions. We currently await Pope Francis’ response to the commission.
Does Mary Still Appear in Medjugorje?

Does Our Blessed Mother Still Appear in Medjugorje?

Yes. Vicka, Ivan, and Marija continue to receive daily apparitions. Mirjana receives apparitions on the second day of each month and on March 18 each year. Our Blessed Mother appears to Ivanka every year on June 25, the anniversary of the Medjugorje apparitions, and to Jakov once a year on Christmas Day. Our Lady told the seers that one day God would place a “sign” on Mount Podbrdo (Apparition Hill) to prove to non-believers that the apparitions took place. While many look forward to climbing the mountain to see the Lasting Sign, many pilgrims fear missing out on this time of grace and want to visit Medjugorje while the apparitions are still taking place.
Where is Medjugorje?

Where is Medjugorje?

The Parish of Medjugorje is situated in the Herzegovina region of Bosnia and Herzegovina, close to the border of Croatia and just 50 miles from the Adriatic Sea. The name “Medjugorje” literally means "between mountains." At an altitude of 660 feet above sea level, it has a mild Mediterranean climate.
How Do You Get to Medjugorje?

How Do You Get to Medjugorje?

Major European airports in the regions surrounding Medjugorje allow for flexible and efficient travel throughout the year. From Dubrovnik and Split, travelers take a beautiful drive along the Adriatic Coast. From Sarajevo, the drive through the mountain ranges of Bosnia and Herzegovina is breathtaking.
Why am I just hearing about this?

Why am I just hearing about this?

Though 50 million people have flocked to Medjugorje since 1981 (including priests, bishops, and cardinals), the apparitions were all but ignored by the Catholic Church for 31 years. In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI ordered an investigation into the Medjugorje apparitions and they have been recommended for approval.
Image
Medjugorje is one of the most spiritual and peaceful places on the planet, ideal for spiritual growth and renewal. The atmosphere is abundant in grace and overflowing with stories of miracles and conversion. The visionaries tell us that no one goes to Medjugorje by accident.

Why are YOU being called?

Spiritual Sites of Significance

Apparition Hill
Apparition Hill (Mount Podbrdo)
Overlooking the village of Medjugorje is Mount Podbrdo, the site where the visionaries first saw Our Lady appear in June 1981. Pilgrims from around the world climb Apparition Hill, sharing experiences that are profound, personal, and life-changing. It is here that Our Lady first appeared to the visionaries, entrusting them with her secrets and sharing her mission to “bring the world back to her Son.” Modern pilgrims follow the same path up Apparition Hill where the young visionaries first encountered Our Lady. Many say they feel her presence as they pray in the place where she first appeared.
St. James Church
Mysteries of the Rosary
In 1989, huge bronze reliefs depicting the joyful and sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary were designed and installed by Florentine artist Carmelo Puzzolo so that pilgrims could pray as they ascended Mount Podbrdo. In June 2002, Puzzolo created additional bronze reliefs to represent the glorious mysteries of the Rosary, which were placed on the path descending the hill towards the Blue Cross. The Mysteries have been placed in the actual shape of the rosary. Each Mystery is illuminated, and at night the glow of this giant rosary can be seen from Cross Mountain or anywhere down in the village.
Queen of Peace Statue
Queen of Peace Statue
In 2006, to honor the 25th anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions, a statue of the Queen of Peace was installed near the top of Apparition Hill to mark the spot where the Blessed Mother first appeared to the visionaries on June 24, 1981. This spot is considered the "spiritual summit" that pilgrims strive to reach when ascending Apparition Hill. Funds to commission the statue were donated by a Korean family whose child was healed in Medjugorje. The statue was created by the Italian sculptor Dino Felici who also designed the marble Queen of Peace statue at the entrance to the parish grounds in 1987.
St. James Church
St. James Church
St. James is the center of sacramental life in Medjugorje. The original church was built in 1892 and placed under the protection of St. James, the patron saint of pilgrims. It was destroyed during a tremor and rebuilt in 1969. No one understood why such a huge church was built for such a small parish until the apparitions in 1981. Many pilgrims visit the church for daily Mass and the evening rosary. Just outside St. James Church is an outdoor altar (often used for evening adoration), a community prayer area that seats up to 5,000, an area for silent prayer, and confessionals.
Outdoor Altar
Outdoor Altar of St. James Church
When the apparitions began in June 1981, pilgrims began flocking to Medjugorje, and St. James Church was no longer large enough to hold the crowds that came for Mass, Adoration, and Confession. In 1989, an exterior altar and surrounding prayer area (seating about 5000) were built to provide a large gathering place. Croatian prayers (with simultaneous translation) and simple, repetitive hymns offer a reverential setting in which to encounter Our Lord in Adoration. Pilgrims are moved by this shared spiritual experience and surprised by the sacred silence amid crowds of thousands!
Confessional at Medjugorje
Confessionals
Thanks to the instructive messages of Our Lady, Medjugorje has become a place of reconciliation, experienced particularly in the sacrament of Holy Confession. In 1990, 25 confessionals were installed on each side of St. James Church. A sign outside each confessional lists the languages spoken by the priest inside. Sometimes the lines are long, but pilgrims are patient and prayerful as they wait. When the number of pilgrims is exceptionally large, priests hear confessions on folding chairs outside the church. The confessional at St. James is considered the largest confessional in the world.
Cross Mountain
Cross Mountain (Mt. Krizevac)
Climbing Cross Mountain is a moving experience. It is an introspective ascent during which pilgrims ponder their relationship with God and the need to draw closer to Him. “Krizevac” means “Mountain of the Cross” in Croatian. In 1933, villagers built a 16-ton, 29-foot cross on the mountain to commemorate the crucifixion. It contains a relic from the True Cross of Christ given to the people of Medjugorje by Pope Pius XI. The inscription on the cross reads, “To Jesus Christ, Redeemer of the human race, as a sign of their faith, love and hope, in remembrance of the 1900 years since the death of Jesus.”
Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross
Originally, 14 simple wooden crosses lined the rocky path up Mount Krizevac, so the pilgrims could reflect on the Way of the Cross as they climbed the rugged terrain to the top. But in 1988, Italian sculptor Carmelo Puzzolo created huge bronze reliefs of the Stations, which now reside in the rocks beside the 14 original crosses. A 15th bronze relief is located beneath the cross of Krizevac, which depicts the resurrection. Each station weighs more than 300 pounds and was carried up the hill and placed in position by the young people of Medjugorje. The Way of the Cross is prayed each Friday at 4 p.m. (2.p.m. in the winter).
Fr. Slavko Barbarić Memorial
Fr. Slavko Barbarić Memorial
Though Fr. Slavko Barbarić first came to Medjugorje to investigate the authenticity of the apparitions, he was eventually appointed to the parish of St James to minister to the of pilgrims who visited. Every day he rose early to climb Cross Mountain and pray the Stations of the Cross, usually with pilgrims or parishioners. On his way down, he would continue to pray as he picked up litter that had been left on the mountain. As he reached the last station on the last day of his life, he blessed the crowd and asked the Virgin Mary for a happy death. He then sat down on a rock and died. A memorial marks the place of his death.
Blue Cross
The Blue Cross
Just south of the main path pilgrims use to climb Apparition Hill is a small alcove. Inside, a Blue Cross marks the spot where Our Lady appeared to the visionaries as children when they were hiding from the Communist police. This is also the spot where the visionary Mirjana typically goes on the 2nd day of each month to receive a special message from Our Lady for “those who do not yet believe.” In addition, Our Lady sometimes appears to the visionary Ivan here in the summer months. The Blue Cross is a very special place and an easy climb for those unable to climb to the top of Apparition Hill.
Our Lady of Medjugorje Statue
Our Lady of Medjugorje Statue
At the entrance to the grounds of St. James Parish, there is a beautiful Statue of Our Lady, the Queen of Peace. It was created and installed in 1987 by the Italian sculptor Dino Felici, who later designed a similar statue to be placed on Apparition Hill. This statue is often referred to as Our Lady of Medjugorje, because it is here that she welcomes all of Her children, desiring to take each by the hand and lead them to her heart and her Son. Day and night, pilgrims can be seen praying to their Mother and thanking them for calling them to Medjugorje.
Risen Christ Statue
Risen Christ Statue
In 1998, Slovenian sculptor Andrija Ajdič created this stunning 30-foot sculpture depicting the resurrected Christ stepping from the cross with His arms raised in triumph. Since 2000, the statue has miraculously dripped a liquid substance from its right knee, with a chemical makeup similar to human tears. Many pilgrims bring towels or handkerchiefs to absorb the “liquid,” believing it to be a miraculous substance. Though claims of healing have been made, the Church has not ruled on the nature of this occurrence. Physicists who have visited the site to investigate have no scientific explanation for its manifestation.
Via Domini
Via Domini (The Way of the Lord)
Just behind the parish of St. James is a beautiful tree-lined path lined with five stunning mosaics that depict the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary. Pilgrims often walk the Via Domini, contemplating the public life and ministry of Jesus as they pray.
Candle Park
Candle Park
If you’re looking for a quiet place for prayer and meditation, this is it. Here pilgrims light votive candles for their loved ones who have passed away and for the numerous intentions they bring with them to Medjugorje, laying their troubles, hopes, and prayers at the foot of the cross.
Via Domi
ni
Hall of St. John Paul II
If you travel to Medjugorje with a group, chances are you will attend a lecture or prayer meeting at the Hall of St. John Paul II. The Hall, which seats 800, was built in 1998 and features a painting by Carmelo Puzzolo based on the visionaries’ description of Our Lady.
Tihalina
Tihaljina
Fr. Jozo Zovko was the pastor of St. James Church in Medjugorje when the apparitions began in 1981. He was arrested six weeks after the first apparition, and, although innocent, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison by a communist court. After Fr. Jozo was released from prison, he was assigned to Immaculate Conception parish in Tihaljina, (a 30-minute drive from Medjugorje) where he served until 1991.
Our Lady of Grace Statue
Our Lady of Grace
When pilgrims came to visit Fr. Jozo in Tihaljina, he often presented them with a prayer card featuring a photo of this statue on the front and the five stones and Our Lady’s words, “If you only knew how much I love you, you would cry with joy” on the back. Although many refer to the statue as Our Lady of Medjugorje, it is actually Our Lady of Grace and is located in Immaculate Conception Church in Tihaljina.
Siroki Brijeg
Siroki Brijeg
Though not located in the parish of Medjugorje, many pilgrims choose to make the 45-minute drive to Široki Brijeg. The monastery at Široki Brijeg is the site where 30 Franciscans were martyred. They were killed by Communist soldiers in 1945 after refusing to remove their Franciscan habits. The cave where their bodies were burned is close by. This is also where Fr. Jozo went to live when he left Tihaljina.
Image
“You come home a different person, and it impacts the people around you. You have no idea how your witness of saying yes to God will then cause others to grow in their faith.”
-Maria, Medjugorje 2018

Medjugorje Visionaries

At first, Mary appeared to all of the visionaries every day, sometimes together and sometimes separately. She told the visionaries they will each be entrusted with ‘secrets’ about events that will be revealed to the world three days before each one occurs. When the Blessed Mother shares her final secret with each visionary, she stops appearing daily to them.
Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic
Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic
Receives Apparitions: Every Day
Prayer Mission: Pray for the Sick
Vicka is the oldest of the visionaries. She was 16 years old when the apparitions began and continues to receive daily apparitions from the Blessed Mother, who has entrusted her with nine of the ten secrets. Our Lady has recounted her entire life story to Vicka in great detail, which Vicka has recorded in notebooks and will publish when Our Lady gives her permission to do so. Our Lady has given Vicka a specific prayer mission – to pray for the sick. Vicka is married to Mario Mijatovic. They have two children and live in a town a few miles from Medjugorje.
Ivan Dragicevic
Ivan Dragicevic
Receives Apparitions: Every Day
Prayer Mission: Pray for Priests, Families, Youth
Ivan was 16 years old when the apparitions began. He has been entrusted with nine secrets and continues to receive apparitions from the Blessed Mother every day. Our Lady has entrusted Ivan with the specific prayer mission to pray for priests, families, and the youth of the world. Ivan is married to an American woman from Boston named Laureen. They have four children and divide their time between Boston and Medjugorje.
Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo
Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti
Receives Apparitions: Every Day
Prayer Mission: Pray for Souls in Purgatory
Marija was 16 years old when the apparitions began. Thus far, Marija has been entrusted with nine secrets, and she continues to receive daily apparitions of the Blessed Mother. In addition, on the 25th of each month, Our Lady delivers a message for the world through Marija, which is translated and released by the Parish Information Office. Marija has been given the prayer mission to pray for souls in purgatory. She is married to an Italian man named Paulo Lunetti, and they have four children. The family splits their time between Italy and Medjugorje.
Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti
Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo
Receives Apparitions: Once a Month, Plus Once a Year on March 18
Prayer Mission: Pray for Unbelievers
Mirjana was 16 years old when the apparitions began. Unlike the rest of the visionaries, she lived in Sarajevo, but spent summer vacations in Medjugorje. Our Lady entrusted Mirjana with the tenth secret on December 25, 1982 saying she would appear to her every year on March 18 for the rest of her life. Five years later, Our Lady gave Mirjana the mission to pray for unbelievers and began appearing to her on the 2nd of each month with a special message for those who do not yet believe. Mirjana lives in Medjugorje with her husband Marko Soldo and their two children.
Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez
Ivanka Ivankovic-Elez
Receives Apparitions: Once a Year on June 25 (anniversary of the first apparition)
Prayer Mission: Pray for Families
Ivanka was born on July 21, 1966. She was 14 years old when the apparitions began, making her the youngest of the four female visionaries. Ivanka was the first of the visionaries to see Our Lady. Ivanka continued to have daily apparitions until May 7, 1985, when Our Lady entrusted Ivanka with the tenth secret and then told her that she would no longer be appearing to her daily. She promised Ivanka that she would appear to her once a year, on June 25 (the anniversary of the Medjugorje apparitions) for the rest of her life. Her prayer mission is to pray for families. She lives in Medjugorje with her husband Rajko Elez and their three children.
Jakov Colo
Jakov Colo
Receives Apparitions: Once a Year on Christmas Day
Prayer Mission: Pray for the Sick
Jakov was just ten years old when the apparitions began, making him the youngest of the visionaries. Jakov was traveling in the United States when Our Lady entrusted him with the tenth secret and told him his daily apparitions would come to an end. Our Lady told Jakov she would appear to him every year on Christmas Day, for the rest of his life. Jakov struggled tremendously with this change. His prayer mission is to pray for the sick. Jakov is married to an Italian woman named Annalisa, and they have three children. They live in Medjugorje.

More Interesting Facts About the Visionaries

The Memoirs of Mirjana

Mirjana is the first visionary to write a book, which is called “My Heart Will Triumph.” People generally assume Our Lady chose to appear to Mirjana on March 18 every year because that is her birthday, but Mirjana has said that it has nothing to do with her birthday. This date is significant for other reasons, which will be revealed in the future.

Mother and Daughter Reunite

Ivanka’s mother died a month before the apparitions began, and during one of the early apparitions, Our Lady confirmed that her mother was in heaven. Suddenly, Ivanka’s mother was standing beside Our Lady, and Ivanka was able to talk with her briefly. Over the years, Ivanka has been able to see her mother and speak with her five times.

The Loss of Two Mothers

Jakov’s mother died two years after the apparitions began, essentially leaving Jakov an orphan. After her death, the Blessed Mother became Jakov’s mother in the truest sense of the word, so this loss of the daily apparitions was very painful for him when he received the tenth secret on September 12, 1998 while traveling in the United States.