lunedì 8 ottobre 2012

The Battle of Lepanto: Santa Maria della Vittoria (Our Lady of the Rosary)

On October 7 the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, but the feast has its origin in an event, the battle of Lepanto, that took place on Oct. 7, 1571, when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of southern European Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman Empire on the northern edge of the Gulf of Corinth, off western Greece.

According to some historical accounts, such as those recorded in the Vatican Archives, on Oct. 7, 1571 Pope Pius V entered the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to pray the Rosary and ask Our Lady to intercede for a Catholic victory. Later on that day, the Pope was granted a miraculous vision of the Holy League’s stunning victory. He is saidto have suddenly interrupted his business with some Cardinals, and looking up, cried out,
“A truce to business! Our great task at present is to thank God for the victory which He has just given the Catholic army.”

As military historian John F. Guilmartin, Jr. put it, “Turkish victory at Lepanto would have been a catastrophe of the first magnitude for Christendom and Europe would have followed a historical trajectory strikingly different from that which obtained.”

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