Medjugorje Pilgrimage – Everything You Need To Know

In the realm of religious journeys, the Medjugorje pilgrimage beckons believers, drawing them into a sacred quest for profound encounters through the apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Pilgrims from all over the world are drawn to Medjugorje seeking spiritual experiences, divine connection, and the serene atmosphere, fostering a sense of peace and renewal. In fact, over the last forty-two years, Medjugorje has drawn tens of millions of visitors, attracted by the reported occurrences of daily healings, miracles, and wondrous signs.

Medjugorje (meh-jew-gore-e-yeh), meaning between the mountains, lies in present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). This was a quiet Yugoslav town until 1981 when the Virgin Mary appeared to six local children.

Rolling hills and mountains surround Medjugorje, offering a serene landscape for pilgrims and visitors to explore.

The sudden influx of pilgrims raised concerns among Yugoslav authorities, skeptical of potential instability in their Socialist stronghold. Despite the initial skepticism and historical wariness of Catholicism by the atheist Communist ruling party, the town eventually evolved into a tourist hub during Yugoslavia’s mid-80s economic crisis.

Communist authorities in Yugoslavia, threatened by the Medjugorje apparitions, took concrete actions against supporters. As a result, the State Security Service was used to physically attack visitors, intercept communications, issue threats, and fabricate false dossiers.

A beautiful statue of Our Lady.

Those aligned with the visionaries, including the Franciscan monk Jozo Zovko, the priest and observer of the Medjugorje events, faced persecution. These physical measures exemplify the regime’s attempts to suppress what they considered a counter-revolutionary threat to their political control.

Nevertheless, the reported apparitions have continued for many years, making a Medjugorje pilgrimage an important calling for believers seeking spiritual experiences and guidance. Even during the Bosnian war in the 1990s, the continuous flow of Catholic pilgrims aided the area’s rapid post-war recovery.

How to Visit Medjugorje

For those planning a Medjugorje pilgrimage, the most convenient options include day trips from nearby cities. In other words, you don’t have to go on an overpriced trip with your church or a vacation package with a travel agent to experience this magical place. Having spent two years in Split, Croatia, we strongly suggest turning your Medjugorje pilgrimage into a memorable vacation.

Authors Audrey and Harry, (right) met Davor and Ivana (left) in Croatia and together they took a road trip from Split, Croatia to Medjugorje, stopping at wonderful sites along the way.

Split stands as one of the world’s most beautiful and secure destinations, echoing the safety found throughout Croatia. Also, with nearly 80% of the population being Catholic it’s an extremely religious country.

Traveling from Croatia to Medjugorje poses no concerns, ensuring a worry-free experience. For example, Croatia is one of the few safe places left in the world to hitchhike, even as a single woman. Feel assured in booking this budget-friendly journey independently; even if you’re unsure how we’re here to guide you!

Medjugorje is a tranquil town known for its spiritual significance, attracting pilgrims seeking religious experiences and peace.

We’ll cover all aspects of a Medjugorje pilgrimage, delving into its history and the profound spiritual experiences of many pilgrims. First, let’s explore the best ways to get there, or click here to skip the travel tips.

Planning Your Pilgrimage > Day-Trip vs Overnight

Options for day trips include day-tripping or overnighting from Split, Croatia, which takes approximately 1.5 hours by car, or from Dubrovnik, Croatia, with a two-hour drive. Another option is traveling from Sarajevo, Bosnia, a 2.5-hour drive away.

Medjugorje often holds nighttime or sunset Masses, especially during the pilgrimage season.

In general, a guided tour is suitable for those seeking a brief Medjugorje pilgrimage. For most people, two hours is enough time to capture photos, learn some history, and share a meaningful moment. For a more profound experience, consider a self-guided tour staying at least one night; however, two nights are preferable for devout followers seeking an in-depth encounter.

Apparition Hill at sunset.

Ideally, staying at least two nights in Medjugorje is recommended for visitors to maximize the depth of their pilgrimage experience. This extended duration allows visitors to immerse themselves in the spiritual atmosphere, attend multiple events such as Holy Mass and prayer gatherings, explore the pilgrimage sites more thoroughly, and engage in personal reflection. Additionally, an extended stay provides the opportunity to connect with the local community, fostering a deeper understanding of the cultural and religious significance of a Medjugorje pilgrimage.

Guided Tours

Now, let’s explore the finest guided tours. If you opt for a guided day trip tour, here are our recommended options from the following cities.

From Split, Croatia
We’re observing bridge jumpers from a café overlooking the Old Mostar Bridge, serving traditional Turkish coffee in Halebija Tower.

Discover Mostar’s history, stroll through the old Bazaar, and cross the famous Turkish bridge on this full-day tour from Split. Proceed to Medjugorje for a spiritual experience, attending a holy mass and visiting Apparition Hill. Enjoy free time and return to Trogir or Split.

🚐⛪ Full-Day Tour From Split > Check Availability

From Dubrovnik, Croatia
Wooden crucifixion cross on Apparition Hill.

Embark on a full-day group tour similar to the one mentioned above (but departing from Dubrovnik) or opt for a private tour that is solely dedicated to Medjugorje. This allows ample time to concentrate on the pilgrimage site without any rush. Visit Apparition Hill, St. James the Greater Church, and taste Bosnian cuisine. Experience the indescribable warmth and serenity of a Medjugorje pilgrimage. Enjoy a delightful journey through charming landscapes.

🚐⛪ Private Tour From Dubrovnik > Check Availability

From Sarajevo, BiH
Audrey and Harry with the Mostar Old Bridge in the background.

Embarking from Sarajevo, this fascinating tour goes through the scenic Herzegovina region. En route to Mostar and Medjugorje, the tour stops in Konjic, renowned for its Ottoman-era bridge and medieval architecture—offering a picturesque spot for Bosnian coffee. Next up, guests explore Mostar, a city steeped in history, politics, and culture, featuring the UNESCO Old Bridge. Finally, you’re Medjugorje pilgrimage will visit Apparition Hill, and St. James the Greater Church.

🚐⛪ Private Tour From Sarajevo > Check Availability

Perfect Self-Guided Tour From Split

Whether you prefer the freedom of self-driving, desire flexibility in exploring various attractions, or plan to stay overnight in Medjugorje, renting an affordable car offers a fantastic means to explore Croatia and BiH and experience the surrounding hinterland. Using Discover Cars we’ve paid as little as USD 5 per day from Split International Airport (SPU) for a compact car. Of course, it’s a manual transmission, though.

Kravica Waterfall makes for a fantastic pitstop along the way!

For those opting to drive, you’ll have the bonus of exploring various attractions and sites along the route. For instance, consider exploring Kravica Waterfall before your Medjugorje pilgrimage, then visit the historic village of Počitelj and Mostar for its bazaar and famous bridge jumping. On the way back to Croatia, stop at Blue Lake in Imotski or Crljivica Archaeological Site.

Main Attractions
Regardless of your originating major city, there are charming stops along the route, such as Počitelj, a historic village in BiH.
  • Kravica Waterfall, BiH: this stunning natural waterfall is characterized by a series of cascades that create a picturesque landscape, providing visitors with a refreshing and scenic experience.
  • Počitelj, BiH: a historic village near Medjugorje that’s known for its well-preserved medieval architecture. It features a charming blend of Ottoman and Mediterranean influences, including a fortress, mosque, and traditional stone houses.
  • Mostar, BiH: a picturesque city renowned for its iconic Old Bridge (Stari Most) over the Neretva River. The tradition of bridge jumping, known as “Stari Most Diving,” attracts daring locals and visitors who plunge into the river from the historic bridge, showcasing bravery and tradition.
  • Blue Lake in Imotski, Croatia: a stunning sinkhole lake with vibrant blue hues. Surrounded by sheer cliffs, it offers a breathtaking sight. The lake’s unique color and natural beauty make it a notable attraction for visitors exploring the region.
  • Crljivica Archaeological Site, Croatia: located near Cista Velika, Croatia, Crljivia features stecci, medieval tombstones with intricate carvings. Stecci is unique to the region and represents a rich cultural heritage. The site provides a glimpse into medieval funerary art, offering historical and archaeological significance for those interested in exploring Croatia’s past.

General Flight and Lodging Travel Tips

Several travelers may not be aware that, often, booking flights and accommodations individually turns out to be more cost-effective than opting for vacation packages. We’ve written about this extensively here. In short, whether you’re flying into Split, Dubrovnik, or Sarajevo use Skyscanner to find the best cheap flight options.

Inside the Church of St. James the Greater.

For instance, when looking for flights, consider Skyscanner—unlike most other flight search engines, it includes budget carriers like Southwest, JetBlue, etc. Using tools like Google Flights may cause you to overlook some of the most budget-friendly options available.

Affordable Lodging Options in Split, Dubrovnik, and Medjugorje

Having resided in Split for two years and spending extended periods in Dubrovnik, we’ve gained a comprehensive understanding of both cities, including their intricacies. Our knowledge extends to identifying the best areas for accommodations and, equally important, areas to avoid. Stay tuned as we share personalized recommendations based on our firsthand experiences.

Split, Croatia
Villa Split Heritage Hotel in Split, Croatia, offers historic charm, comfort, and a central location for an enjoyable stay.

With its ancient Diocletian’s Palace, a bustling waterfront, and a vibrant Old Town, Split is one of the most charming cities we’ve ever visited. Stroll through history, savor local delicacies at bustling markets, and bask in the Adriatic sun along the Riva promenade.

🏨 Lodging: Villa Split Heritage Hotel

Dubrovnik, Croatia
Boutique Hotel Stari Grad in Dubrovnik, Croatia, combines elegance with historic charm for a delightful and unique experience.

Explore ancient streets and fortified walls in a city that’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. Marvel at the iconic red-roofed buildings, meander down Stradun Street and capture stunning views from Dubrovnik’s city walls.

🏨 Lodging: Boutique Hotel Stari Grad

Sarajevo, BiH
Old Town Hotel in Sarajevo offers a charming blend of history and comfort, making your stay in BiH unforgettable.

Stroll through Sarajevo’s charming old town, where East meets West. Immerse yourself in rich history at the Latin Bridge and Bascarsija Square. Savor Bosnian coffee and experience the city’s unique blend of cultures.

🏨 Lodging: Old Town Hotel

Medjugorje, BiH
Medjugorje Hotel & Spa provides a peaceful retreat, combining comfort and spirituality for an enriching experience in BiH.

Staying in Medjugorje overnight enhances your spiritual connection, providing a profound pilgrimage experience through extended prayer and an immersive atmosphere.

🏨 Lodging: Medjugorje Hotel & Spa

Finally, buses connect Medjugorje to and from major cities across the Balkans. Opting to take a bus is cost-effective, convenient, and can add flexibility to your itinerary.

The journey becomes stress-free when you don’t have to worry about navigation, allowing more time to engage with locals and immerse yourself in the cultural experience. With flexible schedules, safety assurance, and no parking concerns, buses provide a stress-free and immersive travel option, letting you relax and soak in the scenery. Check the best routes here.

💰 Budget Tip: Nowadays, with the chaos and cost associated with travel, pilgrimage insurance is a must. For this reason, use the button below to receive a customized quick quote. We’ve written about travel health insurance extensively, read this summary or get a quick quote from our recommended provider below. 👇

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Medjugorje Pilgrimage Experience

Typically, devotees embark on a Medjugorje pilgrimage, driven by a deep desire to partake in the spiritual resonance that emanates from this sacred site. Within the sacred sanctuary, the air is thick with prayers, whispered hopes, and the quiet contemplation of those seeking solace and divine guidance. Over the last few decades, the town has become a temple for the soul, a place where the celestial and the earthly converge.

Medjugorje through time.

Despite the absence of official recognition from the Catholic Church, the allure of Medjugorje persists. Its cobblestone streets bear witness to countless stories of faith rekindled, of spiritual rebirth, and of a connection to the divine that transcends the temporal. The pilgrims’ journey mirrors the metaphorical path toward enlightenment, each step a testament to the enduring human quest for the sacred.

Charming souvenir shops along a cobblestone road in Medjugorje.

In the quiet corners of this Bosnian town, the faithful find respite and renewal. Sunsets over the hills become a canvas for contemplation, and the whispers of the wind seem to carry the echoes of prayers offered with fervent hearts. Medjugorje, with its mystical aura and sacred narratives, continues to weave a tapestry of spirituality that resonates far beyond its borders.

Medjugorje’s Mystical Marvel

Located in the picturesque landscapes of southern Bosnia, near the border of Croatia, Medjugorje has ascended to prominence due to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary. The ethereal story began on Wednesday, June 24, 1981, the feast of St. John the Baptist, when five children and one adult claimed to have encountered the Blessed Mother. They were:

  1. Ivan Ivanković, 20
  2. Ivan Dragićević, 16*
  3. Vicka Ivanković, 16*
  4. Mirjana Dragićević, 16*
  5. Ivanka Ivanković, 15*
  6. Milka Pavlović, 12

*Current Medjugorje visionaries. Ivan Ivanković (1) and Milka Pavlović (6) never witness further apparitions.

They observe an ethereal figure in the heavens—a radiant and lovely young woman cradling a child. Instantly recognizing the apparition as the Virgin Mary, they comprehend, even though she remains silent and only signals them to approach.

Apparition Hill has jagged rocks so be careful and go slow—remember, it’s not a race.

Gripped by fear, they hastily flee. Upon returning home, they share the encounter with family members but they are apprehensive of potential repercussions (considering the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s official atheistic stance), and instruct them to remain silent.

Second Apparition

On the following day, Thursday, June 25, 1981, four of the youngsters felt a compelling inner calling to return to the same location where they had encountered the radiant presence. By then, word had spread through half the village about the events of the previous day, prompting many villagers to gather and observe.

This time, the four members* along with Marija Pavlović, 16, Milka’s older sister, and the 10-year-old Jakov Čolo bravely confronted the beautiful lady in the sky. This time, however, she was not holding a child.

Statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Mount Podbrdo, or Apparition Hill.

Responding to Our Lady’s signal, the six young visionaries swiftly ascend Podbrdo (Apparition Hill) amid rocks and brambles, unharmed and feeling mysteriously transported. Once again, six children witnessed the luminosity and approached the figure in a radiant silver-gray gown, a white veil, and a crown of twelve stars. Strangely, the village residents couldn’t perceive the apparition.

It was on that second day that the woman spoke to them for the first time. She said to the children:

“Be not afraid. I have come to tell the world that God exists. He is the fullness of life, and to enjoy this fullness and peace, you must return to God.” – Our Lady

After engaging briefly in gentle conversation, Our Lady promised to return after praying with them.

Third Apparition

On the evening of Friday, June 26, 1981, over 1,000 people assembled, drawn by a radiant glow. Acting on the counsel of some elders, Vicka decided to test the apparition by throwing a bottle of holy water, expressing, “If you are the Madonna, stay with us; if not, go away!” with conviction. In response to Mirjana’s direct inquiry, “What’s your name?” Our Lady, for the first time, gently smiled and uttered the words:

I am the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Peace. – Our Lady

Following the first three apparitions, the six Medjugorje visionaries faced police interrogations, medical exams, and skepticism from authorities and the local priest. Despite attempts to limit access, a crowd of 15,000 witnessed an Apparition on June 28.

On June 29, the visionaries underwent psychiatric examinations but were declared sane. The Virgin Mary continued to appear, emphasizing prayer and faith.

A Medjugorje pilgrimage is a great way to reconnect with God.

Authorities tried to disrupt the visionaries’ routine on June 30, but an inner urgency led them back to the Apparition site. Despite police restrictions, divine phenomena persisted.

July 1 brought threats to the visionaries’ parents, and three girls faced a deceptive abduction. The divine events attracted increasing attention and sparked miraculous healing.

Medjugorje Visionaries

The Medjugorje visionaries experienced daily apparitions of the Virgin Mary beginning in 1981. Despite skepticism and challenges, they conveyed messages and secrets, drawing global attention to the Bosnian town.

Visionaries described the apparitions as regular, occurring at a set time each day or on specific dates—they continued for many years and continue to this day for some of them. In short, the messages conveyed are centered around faith, prayer, peace, and conversion.

Status of Apparitions and Secrets

The details regarding the apparitions and the secrets disclosed to each visionary are outlined below.

  1. Ivan Dragičević: He continues to receive daily apparitions, with Our Lady confiding nine secrets to him.
  2. Vicka Ivanković: She continues to experience daily apparitions, with Our Lady entrusting her with nine secrets.
  3. Mirjana Dragičević: Experiencing daily apparitions until December 25, 1982, Our Lady entrusted Mirjana with the 10th secret, specifying that henceforth, she would have an annual apparition on March 18. Starting from August 2, 1987, every second day of the month, Mirjana hears Our Lady’s voice inwardly and engages in prayer for nonbelievers.
  4. Ivanka Ivanković: As the initial witness to Our Lady, she encountered daily apparitions until May 7, 1985. On that significant day, Our Lady entrusted to her the 10th secret and revealed that she would have an annual apparition on June 25, marking the anniversary of the apparitions, for the remainder of her life.
  5. Marija Pavlović: She continues to have daily apparitions, serving as the conduit for Our Lady’s messages to the parish and the world. Initially, from March 1, 1984, to January 8, 1987, the message was conveyed every Thursday, and since January 1987, it occurs on every 25th of the month. Our Lady has entrusted her with nine secrets.
  6. Jakov Colo: Experiencing daily apparitions from June 25, 1981, to September 12, 1998, on the latter date, Our Lady entrusted to him the 10th secret. She conveyed that for the remainder of his life, he would have an annual apparition on Christmas Day.

What Do They See and Hear?

Witnesses describe the visions with a sense of profound awe, recounting the gentle presence of Mary and the messages of faith, love, and peace that accompany these ethereal encounters. The town, once a tranquil haven, transformed into a spiritual epicenter, drawing pilgrims from every corner of the globe.

Three women pray before Our Lady.

Typically, Our Lady manifests her daily apparitions in Medjugorje around 6:40 p.m. or at 5:40 p.m. during Daylight Saving Time. However, there may be variations in the timing for specific visionaries due to travel or particular circumstances. For instance, during Ivan’s prayer groups on Monday and Friday nights, Our Lady reveals herself to him at 10:00 p.m.

During one unique experience, Vicka and Jakov had Our Lady physically transport them to heaven, hell, and purgatory at Jakov’s house, lasting around 20 minutes. Unlike them, the remaining visionaries witnessed visions of these realms, similar to watching a movie or peering out a window, with Mirjana and Ivanka opting not to witness hell.

The 10 Secrets

Through the apparitions, the six visionaries were informed by Our Lady of Medjugorje that she would reveal to them the 10 secrets. While the 10 Secrets are often discussed, there remains limited information about their details. Mirjana, one of the six visionaries, has been selected by Our Lady to bear the responsibility of assisting in the disclosure of the secrets.

Audrey is having a sentimental moment before Our Lady’s statue in front of the Church of St. James the Greater.

The 10 secrets of Medjugorje refer to a series of future events that were reportedly revealed by the Virgin Mary to the visionaries in Medjugorje. Overall, there is limited public knowledge about the secrets of Medjugorje.

The details of these secrets have not been disclosed publicly, as they are meant to unfold at appointed times in the future. The secrecy surrounding the 10 secrets adds an element of mystery and anticipation among believers, and their content remains unknown until the events themselves transpire or are revealed by the visionaries at the appropriate time.

What Do We Know About the 10 Secrets

Our Lady has specifically instructed the Medjugorje visionaries to maintain secrecy, even amongst themselves, regarding the 10 Secrets. Rather than dwelling on the secrets, the visionaries advocate for immediate conversion. Mirjana was entrusted by the Blessed Mother to reveal the secrets to the world through Fr. Petar Ljubicic.

Prayer candles at night set the mood.

Secrets entrusted by Our Lady, once unveiled, are anticipated to spark widespread conversions globally. Also, the secrets, including chastisements, are foretold to unfold during the visionaries’ lifetimes. Among the visionaries, three possess all ten secrets, while the remaining three are privy to nine.

  • Ivan Dragičević – 9
  • Vicka Ivanković – 9
  • Mirjana Dragičević – 10
  • Ivanka Ivanković – 10
  • Marija Pavlović – 9
  • Jakov Colo – 10

Mirjana, Ivanka, and Jakov, three of the visionaries, hold all 10 secrets. For this reason, they no longer receive daily apparitions from Our Lady. Mirjana got the 10th secret in 1982, Ivanka in 1985, and Jakov in 1998. On the other hand, Ivan, Marija, and Vicka each possess nine secrets. Consequently, they continue to have daily apparitions from Our Lady, as of January 2024.

Third Secret Revealed

Released by the Vatican on June 26, 2000, the third secret of Medjugorje is linked to the events of Fatima. Our Lady conveyed that a lasting, indestructible, supernatural sign would appear on Apparition Hill. This manifestation will mark the conclusion of her apparitions at that location. The specifics of this sign were disclosed by the Blessed Virgin during the revelation of the third secret.

The bronze statue of the Risen Christ.

Furthermore, the indestructible sign on Apparition Hill is intended for atheists. Our Lady emphasizes the urgency of conversion, cautioning that waiting for the sign is too late.

Seventh Secret

Our Lady revealed the seventh secret to Mirjana in Sarajevo. Disturbed by its content, Mirjana implored Our Lady for a way to alleviate the secret’s impact. Our Lady responded with a simple directive: “Pray.”

Troubled by it, Mirjana prayed intensely, rallying others to join. After eight months, Our Lady informed Mirjana that the seventh secret had been mitigated. This highlights the power of prayer and collective devotion in influencing the revealed secrets.

Ninth and 10th Secrets

The ninth and 10th secrets carry significant gravity, addressing chastisement for the world’s sins. Inevitably, punishment awaits, as the complete conversion of the entire world is not anticipated. While prayer and penance can mitigate the severity of the punishment, its complete elimination is not possible.

Undisclosed Secrets

Other undisclosed secrets, unique to each visionary, may involve both blessings and chastisements. Despite efforts, some events may be unavoidable.

Mirjana plays a role in revealing imminent events to Father Petar Ljubicic. Most importantly, she emphasizes urgent prayer, especially for non-believers and the youth. Once all six visionaries have received the complete set of 10 secrets, Our Lady will cease her daily appearances.

Bring the perfect travel flashlight or make sure your cell phone battery is well charged to visit Apparition Hill at night.
The Three Warnings

Once Our Lady ceases her apparitions, three warnings will be issued to the world through earthly events. Mirjana, a witness to these warnings within her lifetime, will collaborate with the chosen priest. In this case, it’s Father Petar Ljubicic, who will pray and fast for seven days before each event.

Three days before each warning, Father Petar will publicly disclose the details. Following the first warning, the subsequent two will swiftly ensue, fostering a period of significant grace and conversion.

Stroll down the tree-covered route from the church to the Risen Christ, affectionately named Via Domini. Enjoy vibrant mosaics portraying the Luminous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary along the way.

Due to the speed at which the secrets unfold, urgent conversion is necessary. Following the manifestation of the permanent supernatural sign on Apparition Hill, those who remain unconverted will find themselves defenseless.

Mirjana, bearing witness to the imminent fulfillment of the Virgin’s predictions, passionately urges the world to expedite their conversion. She implores everyone to embrace God with open hearts and prepare for the events foretold. The urgency of this message underscores the significance of spiritual transformation in the face of anticipated events.

The crowds of worshippers can get massive during the warmer months so plan ahead.

Following the realization of the 10 Secrets, humanity is said to transform. It will transition from a period of conflict and rebellion to an era characterized by peace and spirituality.

Five Stones – Weapons to Fight Off Evil

Our Lady aims to reveal, through her messages, the true essence of Christianity and the route to peace. She emphasizes the reality of Satan and how he manipulates us for his destructive purposes. For instance, Satan targets love, peace, faith, family, and life. Similar to how God equipped David with five stones to conquer Goliath, Our Lady provides us with five stones or instruments to overcome Satan, they are:

  1. Daily Prayer (specifically the Rosary)
  2. Fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays
  3. Holy Mass (Eucharist)
  4. Daily Reading of the Bible
  5. Monthly Confession

Walking Up Apparition Hill

Apparition Hill, where Our Lady first appeared in June 1981, is a sacred path leading from Bijakovići houses in Medjugorje. Along the rocky journey, bronze reliefs depict Rosary mysteries, with pilgrims often praying as they ascend. The hill, adorned with a large wooden cross, marks where visionary Marija Pavlović received the first apparition on June 26, 1981. Our Lady’s call for peace resounded here: “Peace, peace, peace!” A marble Queen of Peace statue stands at the original site, promising a future sign as part of the secrets. Placed in 2001, it mirrors the church’s statue.

For us, walking up Apparition Hill was a significant part of the pilgrimage experience. The hill is not particularly steep, but the terrain can be uneven, with rocky paths and dirt trails. Pilgrims often engage in prayer, reflection, and recitation of the Rosary while ascending.

Pilgrims often pray and reflect on the Stations of the Cross, particularly on Cross Mountain (Krizevac), where bronze reliefs represent the stations.

The duration of the walk depends on various factors, including the starting point and the pilgrim’s pace. For instance, from St. James the Greater Church it’s 1.5 miles to the base of the hill. Unless you have a rental car or enjoy hiking, it’s advisable to opt for a taxi, especially in the summer heat.

On average, it takes about 15 minutes to reach the apparition site from the bottom of the hill. Some pilgrims find the journey spiritually enriching, considering it a time for personal reflection and connection with their faith, and for this reason, take their time going up and down.

Going Barefoot

Walking barefoot up Apparition Hill is a practice rooted in religious and spiritual traditions. Pilgrims believe that by walking barefoot, they are offering a physical sacrifice as a symbol of humility and penance. It is considered a way to unite with the suffering of Christ and to express devotion and sincerity in prayer.

Many pilgrims enjoy purchasing souvenirs to bring home.

The practice is not obligatory, but many pilgrims choose to walk barefoot voluntarily. The journey up the hill is often accompanied by prayers, reflections, and a sense of solidarity with other pilgrims. Also, the act of walking barefoot is believed to enhance the spiritual experience and bring a deeper connection to the sacred site.

Krizevac – Cross Mountain

Cross Mountain, standing tall in Medjugorje, is approximately 1,706 feet (520 meters) high and is adorned with a 27-foot (8.5 meter) cross erected in 1934. Positioned at a distance of 1.2 miles from Apparition Hill and 1.0 miles from the Church of St. James the Greater, this sacred site offers pilgrims a penitential climb, often taken barefoot, symbolizing sacrifice and devotion.

It’s about a 30-minute walk to reach the giant cross on top of Krizevac Mountain.

Pilgrims ascend seeking reflection, healing, and peace, guided by Our Lady’s messages emphasizing its significance. The climb becomes a transformative journey, drawing pilgrims closer to Christ in the spiritually rich landscape of Medjugorje.

Blue Cross

Located at the base of Apparition Mountain, the Blue Cross marks where Our Lady appeared to visionaries seeking refuge from Communist authorities. Initially, Ivan’s prayer group gathered here during the early 1990s, drawing immense crowds. Due to the surging pilgrims, a second Blue Cross was added, designating the actual apparition site.

Typically, during the day, there are large crowds near the Blue Cross at the bottom of Apparition Hill.

Amid tranquil surroundings, pilgrims experience Our Lady’s peace. Apparitions, held when Ivan visits from April to September on Monday and Friday evenings, foster spiritual moments. Additionally, Mirjana’s monthly apparitions for non-believers unfold at the Blue Cross.

This serene locale, adorned with two blue crosses, embodies the enduring essence of Medjugorje’s spiritual encounters. In the end, the question on everyone’s mind is, why blue? The choice of blue was purely accidental—Ivan stumbled upon leftover blue paint in his father’s shed, giving the cross its distinctive blue hue.

Gospa

Finally, consider watching “Gospa” before your Medjugorje pilgrimage. It’s a film that tells the story of the events in Medjugorje, focusing on the experiences of the local Franciscan priest, Father Jozo Zovko.

The movie explores the challenges faced by the community during the reported apparitions. Martin Sheen portrays Father Jozo Zovko, highlighting the spiritual and political complexities of the time. The film delves into the impact of the apparitions on the local people and the Catholic Church.

Catholic Church’s Official Position

It’s important to note that the Catholic Church has not officially authenticated these events. For example, in a meeting in Zadar on April 10, 1991, the Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia made it clear that, based on their studies, they couldn’t confirm the occurrence of supernatural apparitions and revelations.

On March 26, 2010, a formal commission led by Cardinal Camillo Ruini began investigating Medjugorje. In late summer 2016, the Ruini report’s recommendations were sent to Pope Francis by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF), formerly the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The report suggested placing Medjugorje under Vatican control, allowing organized pilgrimages, declaring it a pontifical shrine, and authenticating the first apparitions.

The Vatican is observing Medjugorje with a careful stance.

In May 2018, Archbishop Henryk Hoser was assigned to oversee Medjugorje, placing it under Vatican control. In May 2019, gained recognition as a sanctioned pilgrimage site, awaiting Vatican certification of the 1981 apparitions’ authenticity. Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Msgr. Aldo Cavalli in November 2021 to continue the special role for Medjugorje after Archbishop Hoser’s death.

Currently, the Yugoslav Bishops Conference in 1991 determined that it’s unclear if the events are of supernatural origin. This decision remains in effect until the DDF finalizes its findings. The Holy See still acknowledges and respects this judgment.

While the Catholic Church hasn’t authenticated the apparitions, it doesn’t lessen the importance of the Medjugorje pilgrimage or the events that unfolded there. The recounting of events involving the six children attests to their truthfulness and challenges any skepticism about their accounts.

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