August 15, 2023 – Velika Gospa, or the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a national holiday in Croatia. It is celebrated on August 15, when believers throughout Croatia go on pilgrimages to Marian shrines.
Mary’s Assumption, writes Index, is the holiday when the Catholic faithful remember the dogma of their faith that the Blessed Virgin Mary, after the end of her earthly life, was taken up body and soul to the glory of heaven, in the company of her resurrected son Jesus Christ. This, as Catholics believe, is the end of her life dedicated to God, the peak and goal towards which every human’s existence is directed.
The doctrine of Mary’s Assumption into Heaven was proclaimed on November 1, 1950, by Pope Pius XII, and the official proclamation was preceded by a long tradition of celebration as old as Christianity itself. On the feast of the Assumption, believers celebrate and make pilgrimages to numerous Marian shrines in many countries, mainly in Europe and South America.
1,162 religious buildings and eight cathedrals in Croatia are dedicated to Mary
Croatia has a long-standing tradition of worshiping the Blessed Virgin Mary, as evidenced by numerous churches, monasteries, prayers, and songs dedicated to her since the earliest days of Croatian history.
They honored her out of gratitude as the “Queen of the Croats” and called her “fidelissima advocata Croatiae” (the most faithful lawyer of the Croats). The image of Our Lady of the Great Croatian baptismal vow is the oldest image of Our Lady in Croatian art. It originated in the second half of the 11th century and was found in the church of St. Mary near Knin.
It was located in the church of St. Mary, which was once the table church of the bishop of Knin. The construction of the church began in the 9th century. The work was completed by the Croatian king Dmitar Zvonimir by 1078. Friar Lujo Marun found a part of the stone triple partition with the image of Our Lady in 1892.
1,162 religious buildings and eight cathedrals in Croatia have been dedicated to Mary, including Zagreb, Split, Pula, Dubrovnik, Varaždin, Poreč, and Krk. The cathedral in Gospić is dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In addition to that, the co-cathedral in Senj and the former cathedral on Rab are dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The former cathedral in Pićan is dedicated to the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary, and the former cathedral in Osor is dedicated to St. Mary.
In Croatia, the most famous Marian shrines include the Shrine of Our Lady of Bistrica in Marija Bistrica, the Shrine of Our Lady of Trsat in Trsat, the Shrine of Our Lady of Sinj in Sinj, the Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto in Arbanasi near Zadar, the Shrine of Our Lady of Zečevo in Nin, the Church of Our Lady of Remete in Zagreb, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Aljmaš in Aljmaš near Osijek.