Medjugorje, Exploring the Origins

The alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje have had a sordid history.  Much of it to some extent successfully Tomislav Vlasix Marian Hoax Medjugorjeglossed over or reinterpreted by the Franciscans that run the parish at Medjugorje.  A document was put out by Bishop Ratko Peric, the ordinary of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno that encompasses Medjugorje, which was translated by Richard Chonak of the Catholic Light blog, that put to record of what actually occurred in Medjugorje and how the alleged apparitions were fabricated and manipulated by dissident priests such as Tomislav Vlasic and Slavko Barbaric.

I want to briefly summarize some highlights from this translated document first, which then be followed by the translated document in full.

Highlights:

1. Tomislav Vlasic, in collusion with his superior, undermined the authority of the bishop by relocating himself to Medjugorje without asking permission.  They waited an entire year to do so.

2. Tomislav Vlasic and Slavko Barbaric, the spiritual directors of the alleged seers, did not allow the seers to report any alleged messages from the Madonna without coming to them first so they can have their stories straight.

3. A grave theological error that the alleged apparition stated that all people in Heaven have their souls and their bodies with them.  I guess Tomislav Vlasic never studied the Nicene Creed.

4. Tomislav Vlasic claimed to have visited the Pope (John Paul II) when he never did.

5. The Madonna wanted Slavko Barbaric to replace Tomislav Vlasic as the spiritual director so he could document the entire episode of the visions.  Slavko Barbaric passed away in AD 2000, and the alleged apparitions continue to this day… without Slavko Barbaric.  Another “vision” that never came true.

There are many more, but I just highlighted the big ones that I thought were prescient.  The following is the completed translation of Bishop Ratko Peric’s documentation of the many errors of the apparitions in Medjugorje:

Vlasic’s involvement in the “Medjugorje phenomenon”

Just as last year, when the Holy See sanctioned the Rev. Vlasic with interdict, warning him of more severe penalties if he would not obey, once again numerous comments have appeared in the mass media to proclaim the non-connection between the “Medjugorje phenomenon” and the “Vlasic case”. If in both the letter and in reference to the two more serious penalties there is an explicit reminder of the “Medjugorje phenomenon”,[1] in which Tomislav Vlasic in involved, why is there never any connection between the one and the other? We would like to recall just that undeniable connection, from the beginning.

Tomislav Vlasic, born at Socivi, 16 January 1942, was ordained a priest as a member of the Herzegovinian Franciscan province, 16 July 1969, at Frohleiten, Austria.[2] After ordination he worked for some time as a spiritual assistant at Humac[3] and starting in 1973 as superior of the residence at the Franciscan house in Jablanovac, Zagabria.[4] At the proposal of the provincial superiors, he was canonically named spiritual assistant in the parish of Capljina in 1977,[5] where he remained in service until 17 August 1981, when he moved to Medjugorje, on his own initiative, without any necessary warning and without the approval of the bishop.[6]

But, according to the Reverend R. Laurentin, the quasi-official historiographer of the “Medjugorje apparitions”, the Provincialate gave Fr. Vlasic permission to reside at Medjugorje, all without the knowledge of the Bishop. Fr. Laurentin writes:

“Coming to know of the arrest [of the parish priest --RC] that same day, August 17, Tomislav Vlasic, parish priest from Capljina, went to Medjugorje in order to inform himself and take account of the situation. From there he went immediately to the provincialate, at Mostar, to inform them of the serious situation and the danger that weighed on the parish left without anyone to guide them. The provincial found his observations sensible and his visit providential. He immediately named him to replace the imprisoned parish priest. – Therefore, at the end of the next day, friar Tomislav settled into the presbytery of Medjugorje. For the second time, he contacted the seers, whom he had rapidly questioned on June 29. He became their ‘spiritual director’ and this would be the title he kept later in the parish….’[7]

Therefore, by the sixth day after the “apparitions” happened at Medjugorje, and after the arrest of friar Jozo Zovko, 17 August, transferred to the parish of Medjugorje, where the Provincialate “appointed” him parochial vicar. Obviously, the Provincialate cannot appoint him as a parochial vicar, but can only propose him, because it is the Bishop who canonically appoints a parish priest or a chaplain, but again such “appointments” are part of the tragic “Herzegovina case” and the “Medjugorje phenomenon”.

The Provincialate did propose Fr. Vlasic as “spiritual assistant at Medjugorje”, only a year later, 19 July 1982, although it could and must have known about the sad “Zagabria case”, which had to be resolved in another way. Bishop Zanic, not knowing about Vlasic’s moral life and the implications of the “Zagabria affair”, sent the decree on 27 July of that year for his transfer and carrying out his activity at Medjugorje.[8]

Since the year 1981, Fr. Vlasic has been implicated in the events of Medjugorje, accompanying the “seers” and inseparably connected to the “Medjugorje phenomenon”, from its beginnings and also in what followed. Or rather, the “Medjugorje phenomenon” was created in a sense , even before its beginning. Already in May 1981, over a month before the beginning of the “apparitions”

“Fr. Vlasic went to Rome for an international congress of leaders of the Charismatic Movement. During the congress he had asked some of those present to pray with him for the healing of the Church in Yugoslavia. A religious, Sister Briege McKenna, who was united with those in prayer, had a vision: she saw Fr. Vlasic seated and surrounded by a great crowd of people facing him, and from the place where he was seated, there flowed rivers of water. Another religious there, Fr. Emile Tardiff, OP, said in prophecy, “Do not be afraid, I will send you my Mother.” After a couple of weeks, the Madonna began to appear in Medjugorje.” [9]

And above all he has been involved in the “Medjugorje phenomenon” after having been proposed by his Superiors in July 1982 and having been approved and appointed by the Bishop as chaplain of Medjugorje. Here are written proofs.

Friar Tomislav Vlasic and Friar Slavko Barbaric tell the seers what they are to say to the people. In the Chronicle of the apparitions, prepared then by friar Tomislav Vlasic, we read:

21. VIII. 1982. (Saturday). In the morning friar Tomislav and friar Slavko spoke with the seers. The conversation turned toward the direction of the edification of themselves as persons, and toward indicating their role in the context of these events, especially in regard to their authority, which they must not put at risk in responding to all the questions, but direct the people to the way of conversion and waiting for the promises of God.”

–Two Franciscans want to indicate the role of the “seers”, that they must not put their own authority at risk in responding to all the questions, but speak of “conversion” and “waiting for the promises of God”, because they won’t make any mistakes that way; at least that is compatible with the real Madonna!

“The seers must not make statements without informing us.” In the Chronicle of 12 April 1984. Vlasic wrote:

“Today I spoke with all the seers. I brought to their attention again the necessity of not releasing statements to anyone without informing us.”

– This means that he is to control, verify, approve, and announce what is true and what is false in the “messages of the Gospa”. The censor of the “messages of the Gospa”! What an interference in the “Medjugorje phenomenon”!

A grave theological error. In spite of Vlasic, who was illicitly at Medjugorje, a notorious theological heresy showed up, which he had already written down in the Chronicle, 6 May 1982, getting it sincerely from the “seers”:

“This evening the young people posed a theological question and received the answer. Are people in heaven present with their souls, or with the soul and the body? – they asked. They are present with the soul and with the body – that was their answer.”

– All of us profess the Catholic faith that the resurrection of the body (resurrectio mortuorum) will be at the Last Judgment, and Fr. Vlasic takes down the fable of the “seers” of Medjugorje: not only Jesus and the Madonna, as we believe in the Catholic Church, but also all the other saved persons in heaven “with the soul and the body“! And he leaves that in the official Chronicle, with no other observation! This means that even he is not clear about this Catholic dogma, and that after 13 years of preaching on the Nicene Creed at Humac, Jablanovac, Capljina, and Medjugorje. No wonder that last year the Congregation indicated he should take the elementary course on theology and pronounce the profession of faith, on the approval of the Holy See!

“The apparition” of Medjugorje praises the work of Vlasic. In Vicka’s diary manuscript of 28 February 1982, the alleged apparition greatly praised the work of Vlasic as a guide to the “seers”. Vicka’s literal text:

“I and Jacov were there. The Gospa came at 6, 3 minutes, she looked kindly at us. Then the Gospa spoke about Tomislav, first she looked at him, and then said: “you can thank Tomislav very much because he is guiding you so well.”[10]

– The one who is illicitly at Medjugorje, and is directing everything so well, and — directing everyone to follow him. And the “Gospa of Medjugorje” praises and approves it all!

“The apparition” recommends Vlasic as a spiritual teacher. He himself writes in the Chronicle of the apparitions, 5 March 1984, speaking of Ivan Dragicevic:

“The Gospa expressed the desire and recommended, after his request for advice, to finish his upper levels and after that she would show him what to do. She also told him to entrust himself to friar Tomislav Vlasic to guide him spiritually.”[11]

The one who, furthermore — either one of them — have acted without regard to the “message” of the “apparition” of Medjugorje! Friar Tomislav talks to the “seer” Ivan, Ivan talks to friar Tomislav, and then the whole thing is attributed to the Blessed Virgin.

Vlasic accompanies the seers according to “divine providence”. In the letter of 13.IV.1984, he presents himself to the Pope as the one who “through Divine Providence guides the seers of Medjugorje”. He reports that “the Madonna continues to recount her life to the seers” and informs the Pope:

“I will be in Rome from 19 April to 10 May for an international meeting. I know that you are very busy, but if you can receive me for a few minutes, I will be able to tell you about the main points of the apparitions.”[12]

–The Pope did not receive him.

Barbaric on Vlasic

On the role and the connection of Vlasic with the “Medjugorje phenomenon” even from the beginnings, how he “channeled” the apparitions and events, another disobedient person of Medjugorje has testified, in a better way, writing chronologically: the propagandist of the “apparitions” and myth-maker of the events, friar Slavko Barbaric.

Appointment by the bishop and then the request that friar Slavko leave Medjugorje. The Provincialate proposed Rev. Barbaric as parochial vicar of Medjugorje in the letter of 16 August 1984. Bishop Zanic approved the Tabula the same day and the transfer of Barbaric.[13] But the bishop, on 3 January 1985, writes to the Provincialate, “I ask you to transfer friar Slavko Barbaric from Medjugorje to another position. He at Medjugorje, on the very important questions regarding the alleged “apparitions” of the Madonna is making propaganda in a way completely opposed to the directions I have given many times orally and in writing.”[14]

The desire of the “Gospa” for friar Slavko to remain at Medjugorje. The apparitional “phenomenon”, however, intervenes, expresses the “desire” that friar Slavko stay at Medjugorje to guide things and collect the information so that after the visit of her “apparitions” a synoptic image may remain of what has happened. In the Chronicle of the apparitions friar Slavko personally wrote this “message” sent to himself:

“3 February 1985. (Sunday) The vision came suddenly. Shorter this evening than in some days, just 2 minutes. Marija, Ivan, and Jakov were present. The message was for friar Slavko, as promised in the vision yesterday. It was given by Ivan. It went as follows: “I would like that Slavko remain here, and attend to all the details and the notes so that at the end of my visit we will have a synoptic image of everything. I am praying especially for Slavko at this time and for all those who work in the parish.” [15]

– It is well known that such a “synoptic image” was a typical Medjugorean daydream of friar Slavko, because he died on 25 November 2000, while the apparition has not ceased to multiply, even nine years now after his death, and as things stand, the apparitions of Medjugorje will have no end! An image truly a-synoptic [a-sinottica], not synoptic.

Vlasic “channels” the “apparitions”. Here is what Barbaric wrote in the Chronicle of the apparitions of 1984,[16], which needs to be read in the light of what the Holy See decided in regard to Vlasic during 2008-2009. After the departure of Vlasic from Medugorje, friar Slavko Barbaric wrote that he remained in Medjugorje in the hope that he too would be “chosen according to divine providence” to continue to guide what had become a “tradition”.

“2.IV.1984 (Sunday) I cannot fail to mention what happened today. Friar Tomislav Vlasic has been transferred. He said his goodbyes during the high Mass. The whole church was moved to tears, and with reason. Tomislav remains a luminous figure in the history of these apparitions. He was truly prophetic and courageous to come after the imprisonment of friar Jozo Zovko and carry on his work. How much work and fatigue he invested, how much pastoral prudence and prayer, no one could count it all. The grace of God chose him and sent him. He responded and worked. With his pastoral and spiritual experience he channeled this great fountain which welled up on the day of the apparitions. Also wise, full of the Spirit of God he has guided the seers, the parish, and the pilgrims. Despite all the positive activity every day he had to combat the attacks and dangers ready to destroy what was happening at Medjugorje. He knew prophetically to foresee events, read the situation, and move ahead. I am a witness like no one else, because I was here 13 months with him together in this place. In his case, we speak of wisdom and dedication. And in the most difficult moments he remained calm.And at the more serious attacks, coming from inside and outside, he responded with dignity. He was always ready to support more difficult sacrifices, so that the things of God could advance. Just when I recall all the attacks on the part of the Curia, I have sufficient reason to say: the deportment of Tomislav, the answers and the behavior in the face of the bishop, the prayers and fasting despite denigrations, are one of the proofs that she is – the Queen of peace.

He often repeated. if anyone is disturbed, I’ll be ready to get out of the way, because that’s for the glory of God. When he knew about the transfer he reacted with calm: I am ready, in humility, to accept every decision and every decree. All of us in the house reacted with emotion. And Tomislav knew, as we all knew, that our Superiors were moving him at the request of the Bishop. It is difficult to say how unjust this request is: one thing is certain – the intention is to punish Tomislav and shut down everything that happened here.

He is already at Vitina. We hope he will be able to come and continue to work in the extraordinary plan of God and collaborate with our Gospa, who is slowly but surely revealing her plan.

I am profoundly convinced, and this is also my prayer: that the Gospa, who in so many messages has made people know to count on her, will impart the grace of love and more profound peace!

With reason Fr. Laurentin said: friar Tomislav, the diligent gardener has cultivated and guided the new people of God.

I remain here, I hope to be chosen in the providence of God to continue what has become a tradition. If I am not sure that God is guiding these events, this evening I will be without fear and trepidation before the great responsibility. I will continue to labor with the groups of pilgrims and with individuals to inform them about the message and development of the events here at Medjugorje. I know that was much more secure while Tomislav was here continually. But may God’s will be done. That’s how the Gospa’s plan will be fulfilled. That the thing will not happen without our sacrifice, prayer, and fasting, that is clear above all. I learned from my dear brother Tomislav and experienced concretely what it means to let yourself be guided and be ready to work as long as God wants. And as well, I know the other friars are ready as are the sisters.

Today friar Petar Ljubicic arrived. He loves Medjugorje, loves the Gospa, and that’s enough.

Amen. So be it!”

– From this statement and from the subsequent events some clear facts follow, in plain terms:

First, friar Tomislav Vlasic does not remain “a luminous figure in the history of these apparitions”, but a shadowy figure, “a myth-maker [mistificatore] and charismatic magus” as Bishop Zanic called him.[17] and finally the Holy See dismissed him from religious life and reduced him to the lay state warning him of excommunication if he does not obey the precepts issued up to now. The gravest sanction for a priest.

Second, he spiritually and pastorally “channeled” all these “apparitions”, as his colleague friar Slavko put it in his inspired and accurate way; he controlled it, he created myths. created fantasies, always glorified himself, and even perjured himself before the Bishop.

Third, the “attacks” of the Bishop are founded on facts and canonically justified. And the “denigrations” of which friar Slavko writes are the sad facts, easily demonstrable about T. Vlasic because of his double life.[18] All these sad truths were known also to the Superiors and to the same friar Slavko Barbaric, and yet he speaks of denigrations!

Fourth, the thought of R. Laurentin, quasi-official historian of the “phenomena” of Medjugorje from 1983 to 1997, according to whom Vlasic was a “gardener who cultivated and guided the new people of God”, is shown to be completely out of place in the light of the statement of Holy See on Vlasic, accused of “spreading dubious doctrines, manipulating consciences, suspect mysticism, disobedience to legitimate orders, and violations against the sixth commandment.” If you understand that this does not only refer to his time in Italy, since he regularly and systematically came to Medjugorje, to his big house whose construction the Franciscan fathers, through the parish priest of Medjugorje, approved in 1994, and where he directed retreats in which he not only “manipulated consciences”, but also called upon spirits! The Curia of his community have received proof.[19]

Fifth, friar Slavko wants to continue the work of friar Tomislav, to “channel” things according to his own intentions. He too, like Vlasic, will be praised by the “apparitions of Medjugorje”. He too is convinced of being chosen by the providence of God. And now: how can you prove to such fanatics that they are “false prophets”!

[NOTE: The titles in the references have been translated where possible. --R(ichard) C(honak).]

[1] The whole case has been presented in the Official Bulletin of the dioceses of Herzegovina, 2/2008, pp. 79-81.

[2] Ž. ILI?, The Church in Herzegovina, Duvno 1974, p. 82-83.

[3] General Overview of the Catholic Church in Yugoslavia, Zagreb, 1975, p. 398.

[4] The Christian people and the Franciscans in Herzegovina, Mostar, 1977, p. 202.

[5] Letter of the diocesan curia, no. 638/1977, 19 August 1977.

[6] Official Bulletin, 2/2008., p. 80.

[7] R. Laurentin, Reports and messages of the apparations of Medjugorje Brescia 1987, p. 90.

[8] Letter of the curia confirming the Tabula, no. 711/82, 27.VII.1981. In the accompanying note Bishop Zanic writes regarding the parochial vicar at parrocchiale di Me?ugorje, Fr. Vlaši?: “You need to be attentive to the further development of events in the parish of Medjugorje You have shown the hope that the new vicar in the parish of Medjugorje will make, if things are clarified, purified, and overseen. It is necessary to sustain and pursue your work in this sense.”.

[9] Official Bulletin, 2/2008, p. 80, quoting from Rooney – R. Faricy, Mary the queen of peace, Milano, 1984, p. 34. See also P. Žani?, Current (non-official) position of the episcopal curia of Mostar on the events of Me?ugorje, Mostar, 30. X. 1984, pp. 6-7.

[10] V. Ivankovi?, The third diary, handwritten manuscript, copy in the diocesan curia of Mostar.

[11] S. Barbari? (handwritten), Chronicle of the apparitions, p. 747. Copy in the curia.

[12] Letter from T. Vlasic to the Holy Father, 13 aprile 1984, in italian. Cf. Ogledalo Pravde, p. 56, with a photocopy of part of the letter.

[13] Letter of the diocesan Curia to the Provincialate, no. 857/84, 16 August 1984.

[14] Letter of the diocesan Curia to the Provincialate, nr. 1/85, 3 January 1985.

[15] S. Barbari? (handwritten), Chronicle of the apparitions, vol. III, p. 247. Laurentin changed this “message” of the apparition regarding the guide of the parish: :”I desire that Fr. Slavko remain here, he who is guiding the parish and keeping the records, so that when I am no longer coming, a more complete image of everything that has taken place. In this moment I pray especially for Fr. Slavko and for all those who are working in this parish” – R. Laurentin, Latest News, 3 (1985) in French: pp. 25-26; In Italian: pp. 29-30; Ogledalo Pravde, str. 59.

[16] S. BARBARI? (handwritten), Chronicle of the apparitions, vol. III, pp. 3-6.

[17] P. Žani?, Current (non-official) position…, 30. X. 1984, p. 22.

[18] It suffices to have a look at the “correspondence” of Vlaši?, published several times; copies are already on file in the Curia From Zagreb, 7. XII. 1976; from Zagreb, 9. I. 1977; from Me?ugorje, 15. XII. 1981; from Krapanj, 15. V. 1982; from Dubrovnik, 15. V. 1983.

[19] Official Bulletin, 2/208, p. 81.

(Biretta Tip: Catholic Culture)

23 Responses to Medjugorje, Exploring the Origins

  • Tito,

    I’m very much a critic of Medjugorje, for many reasons. I find it to be one great deception. Strange enough, when I discuss it with many people, I end up being treated as if I blasphemed God for questioning an apparition and blacklisted.

    That, I think, says something about the demonic attack going on here. If it were legitimate, as St John of the Cross points out, the questions would be welcomed.

  • Henry,

    I agree about the demonic attack.

    I’ve been on the fence ever since I learned about Medjugorje. I even bought by Wayne Weible.

    Unfortunately, I was just returning and learning my faith, but one thing from the book constantly gnawed at me at it was the seers disobeying Mary.

    In the book Mary asked a couple of the seers to enter religious life. Both of them declined and I believe one of them got married.

    That is what got me to think more about these apparitions.

    Many people search for signs for guidance from God. And here are two seers that have communication with Mary herself and they refuse to listen to her direction.

    Which brought me to today. I don’t believe they are true. Unless of course the Vatican says they are worthy of belief, but I doubt that it will occur.

  • In the early 80s a lot of my Catholic charismatic friends believed Medjugorje was genuine and I agreed with them initially, but what eventually turned me off was the way the “messages” kept going on and on, ad nauseam, and on command in front of audiences at conferences, etc. Today I am about 99 percent convinced they are NOT genuine.

    Most genuine apparitions like Lourdes and Fatima last only for a limited time, just long enough for Mary to get out whatever message she has. If Mary is indeed without sin, and possessed of perfect humility, it stands to reason that she would know when to stop talking :-)

    Some seers may have further apparitions or revelations (like Sister Lucia of Fatima) but when they do, they usually do not publicize them immediately or use them to attract attention, and they certainly don’t make a living off of them.

  • I really think there is too much “apparition hunting” by people “looking for a sign” and it really indicates the spirituality of our age (a weakened spirituality). I do believe there are some real solid encounters between Mary and the Saints with others (Zeitun is, imo, the most recent, authentic, public apparition), most of the time it is for a private grace and is not meant to be shared like this. Those who have it tend to be humble about it, shy about talking about it, even embarrassed about it — they don’t want to think of themselves as special and to be treated as such.

    Pride and prelest are indications of demons and liars.

  • I agree.

    There is so much more than searching for apparitions when you have the Eucharist available to anyone at each and every parish.

    Zeitoun is one of those sites that I find very interesting as well. To see how Muslims and Christians both flocked to this site was incredible to read! Even President Nassar was there and he believed!

  • I think it was Thomas Dubay who said something to the effect that people will spend thousands of dollars to go on pilgrimages, but won’t cross the street to give a casserole to an ailing or grieving neighbor.

  • If Mary is really what the Catholic Church believes her to be, and she genuinely wished to communicate with all of the world’s people, then she would do so in a clear and unequivocal way. i.e. via an image which could be seen and heard (and recorded) by everybody!

    Were that to happen, very few people would doubt the Catholic interpretation of the Christian Faith; and indeed very few people would fail to be converted…

    Instead we are asked to accept that for mysterious reasons beyond our understanding, Mary prefers to reveal herself in private and we then have to take it on some third party’s word that what she is alleged to have said is true.

    The inconsistencies and controversy noted above doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Medjugorje is almost certainly a hoax inflicted upon gullible Catholics.

    For reference, I have been to Medjugorje and even met one of the so called “Visionaries”. I was and remain, extremely unimpressed, but note that the local economy of Medjugorje is utterly dependent on tourism and so will do everything in its power to keep this travesty alive.

  • “If Mary is really what the Catholic Church believes her to be, and she genuinely wished to communicate with all of the world’s people, then she would do so in a clear and unequivocal way. i.e. via an image which could be seen and heard (and recorded) by everybody!”

    I think Medjugorje is hooey, but this argument is nonsence. Jesus was born in a backwater province of the Roman Empire. He died on a cross at thirty-three. His disciples were a very small group lacking any influence in Judaea, not to mention the world at large. Who could possibly have guessed that the movement he started would eventually encompass the globe with almost a third of humanity? God has His own purposes and His own methods.

  • I think it spread because a Roman emperor called Constantine attributed a military victory at Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 to the influence of a Christian God. Had this not happed, maybe Christianity would have remained “a very small group lacking any influence in Judaea, not to mention the world at large”.

  • Your knowledge of history is very faulty. By the time of the battle of the Milvian Bridge Christianity had spread throughout the Roman Empire and far beyond it. It had spread in the Roman Empire in spite of three centuries of fierce persecution.

  • Yes, there were pockets of Christians who sadly were persecuted before then, however it was under Constantine that Christianity rose to be the dominant religion of the Roman Empire and hence leveraged its influence on the world at large.

    (One reason why those Christians were so easily persecuted was that numerically, they were a minority group.)

    Without Constantine’s influence, Christianity almost certainly wouldn’t have had the impact (for better or worse) on the modern world that it subsequently did.

  • Untrue. Diocletian unleashed the last great persecution of the Christians not because there were mere pockets of Christianity, but because Christians were everywhere, even at his court and among his advisors. Constantine did not embrace a religion that was small, but a religion that was large and growing. In short, he backed the horse that was already winning the race. Gallerius, Emperor of the Eastern Roman empire, and who had instigated Diocletian to begin the great persecution, paid a left-handed tribute to the strength of Christianity in his edict of toleration which he issued on his death bed in 311 AD:

    "Among other arrangements which we are
    always accustomed to make for the prosperity and
    welfare of the republic, we had desired formerly to
    bring all things into harmony with the ancient laws
    and public order of the Romans, and to provide that
    even the Christians who had left the religion of their
    fathers should come back to reason ; since, indeed,
    the Christians themselves, for some reason, had
    followed such a caprice and had fallen into such a
    folly that they would not obey the institutes of
    antiquity, which perchance their own ancestors had
    first established; but at their own will and pleasure,
    they would thus make laws unto themselves which
    they should observe and would collect various
    peoples in diverse places in congregations. Finally
    when our law had been promulgated to the effect that
    they should conform to the institutes of antiquity,
    many were subdued by the fear of danger, many even
    suffered death. And yet since most of them
    persevered in their determination, and we saw that
    they neither paid the reverence and awe due to the
    gods nor worshipped the God of the Christians, in
    view of our most mild clemency and the constant
    habit by which we are accustomed to grant
    indulgence to all, we thought that we ought to grant
    our most prompt indulgence also to these, so that
    they may again be Christians and may hold their
    conventicles, provided they do nothing contrary to
    good order. But we shall tell the magistrates in
    another letter what they ought to do.
    Wherefore, for this our indulgence, they ought to
    pray to their God for our safety, for that of the
    republic, and for their own, that the republic may
    continue uninjured on every side, and that they may
    be able to live securely in their homes.
    This edict is published at Nicomedia on the
    day before the Kalends of May, in our eighth
    consulship and the second of Maximinus."

    Galerius recognized that the might of the Empire was helpless against the faith of the Christians.

  • Christianity was still just one cult amongst several that permeated the latter day Roman Empire, including Mithraism (derived from Zoroastrism) and Dionysusim which was allied to past Greek and Roman gods.

    The reason Christianity was not totally suppressed by the Romans lay more in the general decline and relative weakness of their Empire rather than anything else.

    It remains extremely unlikely that without Constantine’s conversion, Christianity would have made anything like the impact on world history that it did.

  • Once again untrue. The pagan religions were dying while Christianity grew from strength to strength. The attempt by Julian the Apostate in the 360s to revive the pagan cults demonstrated how futile that was. As for the Empire being weak, the Empire was at its height during the first two centuries of Christianity. Christianity endured and grew whether the Empire was strong or weak and whether they were bittlerly persecuted or grudgingly tolerated.

  • I have visited Medjugorje two times in my life. Both were blessed occurances in my life. I feel with faith anything is possble. Medjugorje was a miracle in my life and I will cherish the rest of my life. Possibly the naysayers are the work of satin.

  • Cathy,

    If you were blessed in Medjugorje, you wouldn’t be damning the naysayers.

  • Tito

    It’s the work of cotton.

  • I personaly have resieved many wounderfull graces as a direct result of our ladys apparitions and the whole wounderfull medjugorje experience, our lady has helped me forward in my faith and her messages have given me a greater understanding of Gods endless love for each one of us his children, our lady of medjugorge messages have allways been messages of, allways putting our full trust in God to never lose hope, to regularely pray and fast, we are reminded to say the rosary, and encouraged to live our faith every moment of our life. All these are weapons to defeat saton, and certainly do not promote him, our lady is titled, Queen of peace, and from the beginning of the apparitions in 1981, our lady stressed the need for peace, our lady also stated the impending dangers in that country and the need to continuously pray for lasting peace foretelling of the conflict that sadly, took place in that country. our lady of medjugorje is continually leading us her children to her son, our lord and savior Jesus Christ, regularely reminding us of Jesus in the blessed sacrament of the euchorist, stating if it is a choise for any of us her children between events to do with our lady and receiving Jesus christ her son in the euchorist in holy mass, we are to allways put Jesus first, our lady also stated when pilgrims commented to the visionarys how priverlaged they were to recieve these graces,our lady of medjugorje said through the visionarys that our lady is allways closest to every soul who received her son our lord and savior Jesus christ in the euchorist, more closer than any visionary could experience, in an apparition, because the sacred heart of Jesus and the immaculate heart of mary are perfectly united in there love for each other. I could say so much about all the wounderfull experiences that one experiences there,the constant feeling of peace and holyness from the moment one arrives there,wounderfull,powerfull benedictions, experiences, of a supernatural nature involving the sun,such as seeing the host clearly in the centre of the sun without hurting the eyes, the word peace in there own language that appeared within the clouds over St James church for all to see in the early days of the apperitions. In my honest oppinion i firmy believe the real danger is not weather or not our lady of medjugorje is truly appearing in medjugorje which i truly believe she is but that so many souls who clearly have never been there are crediting the devil with abbilitys that only God has,supernatural graces involving the sun ,similar to Fatima, only God is omnipotent and omnicient.The devil can only do what God permits him to do . These apperitions have been taking place for 29 years this month the longest period in history,as far as i know, and there is no sign as yet of there compleation,what with all the wounderfull conversions that have taken place during that time,peoples lives have been changed for the better I will end know just by saying. I am a dedicated catholic, i have given you all my testimony just as it is, i have absolutely no reason to lie or exagerate, i believe i am a perfectly rational human being,my experiences were not hallusinations vivid dreams or anything else other than what i have said they were, of corse everybody has equal right to believe or disbelieve in these said apperitions,and i sincerely promise i will fully abide by whatever desition the vatican may make. All i ask to those who dont believe the apperitions of our lady of medjugorje are true,please as a brother in faith i ask you dont attack and condemn, clearly judjment has not been made and therefore if they were declared true,as i sincerely believe they will be,those who attacked would have been declaring evil,what is holy, a sin against the holy spirit,it is better to hold your thoughts…YOURS IN CHRIST…FRED.

  • 22 of us went to medjugorje in may 2010 – we all saw the sun spin – 2 rosaries turned gold color – 4 people had healings – nothing new . the sun spins virtually every day in M( signs,wonders, and response- albert hebert). millions of rosaries turn gold in M( visions of the children- janice connell- national best seller). also staues issue human tears & blood. also the incorruptible bodies of saints GET REAL GOD IS FACT! and also dont forget fatima – this event by itself prooves GOD IS FACT. science and common sense cannot explain these events the evidence is simply overwhelming. HELLO!

  • The sun is constantly and minutely monitored by numerous astronomical observatories and yet not a single one picks anything unusual! WHAT UTTER NONSENSE THIS TALK OF SPINNING SUNS IS!
    As for the supposed healings, take away the psychological hysteria surrounding Medjugorje and the spontaneous remissions which would have happened anyway and you are left with nothing.
    If the bible is an accurate account of Jesus’ ministry on earth, then His miracles were beyond doubt and clearly evident to everybody. This is NOT the same at all.

  • Tito, right again! As you said to Cathy, if she had truly been blessed, she would not be damning those who question it. Anyone who does that is not reacting in a Christian way of love. And by the way all you folks, there is nothing wrong in shining a stringent light on Medjugorye. If it is truly of God, it will hold up. If it does not, it will fold. After all, as St. Paul warned us, the devil can appear as an angel of light, and St. John warns us not to believe every spirit, but to discern. A loving, charming, happy emotional experience at Medjugorye is nice–but you can have that on your honeymoon. It is certainly not the standard you must hold Marian apparitions to! First you have to ask yourself: is what the apparition saying in line with the faith of the Church? Are the seers in obedience to the Church? Why have two of the priests of Medjugorye been defrocked? Mary asked two of the seers to enter the convent and the priesthood–neither one did! Why are they making money by giving tours and running bed and breakfast places? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Faith in God is not primarily an emotional thing–it is an action of the will. And you judge an apparition by what it says about God, and whether it is in agreement with Church doctrine. And you know what? As the late great Malachi Martin wrote, turning rosaries a gold color is just a party trick of the devil. As for all those people who have had good experiences at Medjugorye, God can write straight with crooked lines. I imagine there is nothing that offends Him like the devil counterfeiting an apparition of His Mother. I’m sure that anyone who sincerely loves Mary and honors her receives a special protection from Christ for their sincerity. In the meantime, read up on all the lies that have been told, and the disobedience of the seers themselves. It is chilling.
    And never forget: you don’t have to go to Medjugorye to have an experience with Jesus and Mary. You can do it anywhere–they’re everywhere! God Bless! Helen

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