The Crying Cross of Vrboska: A Very Special 400th Anniversary Next Month

Total Croatia News

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Come to Vrboska on March 7, to witness the 400th anniversary of one of Hvar’s most important religious traditions.

The year is 1614.

Over in Hvar Town, the oldest public theatre in Europe has been open just two years. It is exactly 100 years since the end of the Great Rebellion under Matej Ivanic in Vrboska and Vrbanj.

Vrboska and Vrbanj are once more the centre of attention on the island. The source of the tension revolves around religious differences between two communities, one of whom is grouped around the Church of St Mary and the other the Church of St Lawrence. One parish wants to continue under the control of Vrbanj, the other was for independence for Vrboska. The conflict of the two camps is threatening to destroy the community.  

Young Katarina, the daughter of seaman Petar Ordinanovic notices tears coming from a small cross.

The tears were interpreted as an appeal for unity. The legacy of the Crying Cross of Vrboska has been an annual procession on the first Friday in March, and this year’s procession will mark the 400th anniversary of Katarina’s vision. 

In order to mark the occasion, Vrboska will have a special programme from March 6-9 (provisional programme in the flyer above), and it represents a unique opportunity to take part in a landmark religious tradition. 

It is an event that we will be covering in a lot more detail closer to the time, but we wanted to introduce the procession now, to allow people to make arrangements to come. 

A very strange natural phenomenon occurred today in Vrboska, one not yet witnessed in living memory by locals – the harbour’s water turned a chocolate brown, as waters from the Stari Grad Plain washed soil tilled by the Ancient Greeks along the Vrboska canal into the sea. Coincidence? A modern day tear ahead of the 400th anniversary?

Whatever the answer, the first week in March promises to be a fascinating time.

To learn more (in Croatian), Slobodna Dalmacija journalist Mirko Crncevic recently featured a 91 year-old Vrboska resident and her recollections of the processions of the past. Click here.


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