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Author Topic: Marian Apparitions  (Read 7008 times) Average Rating: 0
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Byzantino
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« on: August 23, 2003, 09:11:11 PM »

Hi everyone,

I'm interested in knowing your overall thoughts on Marian Apparitions, especially those of Fatima and Lourdes. Orthodox views about this topic seem to fall short of demand on the net.

Hope to see some interesting posts Smiley

Regards,

Byzantino
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2003, 10:03:03 PM »

I don't really know that much about fatima or lourdes. Apparitions are not outside of the realm of possibility for an Orthodox Christian, though we are usually much more skeptical. There have been such apparitions in Orthodoxy... not nearly as many of the Theotokos, but more times than not saints appearing in dreams or visions (normally not outright apparitions). Mary has appeared at least a few times, however, or so it is reported. The Orthodox usually follow the Desert Fathers (rather than, say, the Byzantines and Cappadocians) on this issue, who were very wary and cautious when dealing with apparitions and visions (the byzantines, on the other hand, were much more open to and accepting of "dreams" and "visions"). Not sure how the west was in the early Church on this issue. Anyway, so I wouldn't say that apparitions are an impossibility, though I personally doubt that the two you mention would have been legit ones. Didn't Mary say at Fatima that Russia would have to convert to Catholicism? I know that some Catholics now interpret the words as saying that Russia would have to throw off the communist yoke, but this seems like an interpretation based more on wanting to be ecumenical and not offend the Russians than on what was originally meant? But perhaps I misunderstand here.
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2003, 04:08:41 AM »

Also, Justin, if I remember the story of the Lourdes apparations to Bernadette correctly, it was here that the Virgin allegedly referred to herself by saying, "I am the Immaculate Conception," later dogmatized by Rome as binding on all Catholics (a doctrine rejected by Bernard of Clairvaux many centuries earlier--there was also a movement to proclaim the "Immaculate Conception of St. John the Baptist" in some Catholic circles).  

Most Orthodox, with the exception of some professional ecumenists and one or two ultra-liberal hierarchs, however, reject even the necessity for such a dogma, given that our understanding of Original Sin is not identical to that of Rome.  Indeed, many Orthodox consider the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception to be not only erroneous, but perhaps even downright heretical.

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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2003, 03:23:46 PM »

Didn't Mary say at Fatima that Russia would have to convert to Catholicism? I know that some Catholics now interpret the words as saying that Russia would have to throw off the communist yoke, but this seems like an interpretation based more on wanting to be ecumenical and not offend the Russians than on what was originally meant? But perhaps I misunderstand here.

From what I've read, she never said that Russia would have to convert to Catholicism, but she asked that people pray for the "conversion of Russia".  What that means has been open to interpretation.  Certainly, "back in the day", people thought it meant the conversion of Russia to Roman Catholicism.  Now, there are many who believe differently.  But the messages only say "conversion of Russia".  

Also, Justin, if I remember the story of the Lourdes apparations to Bernadette correctly, it was here that the Virgin allegedly referred to herself by saying, "I am the Immaculate Conception," later dogmatized by Rome as binding on all Catholics (a doctrine rejected by Bernard of Clairvaux many centuries earlier--there was also a movement to proclaim the "Immaculate Conception of St. John the Baptist" in some Catholic circles).

Lourdes was in 1858, four years after the Immaculate Conception was dogmatised by Rome.  Believers in this apparition have seen this as heavenly confirmation of the doctrine.  As for John the Baptist, I have never heard of an "Immaculate Conception" for him, but rather for Saint Joseph, since the former was considered to be born without original sin.  The Saint Joseph thing never caught on except in a few places.
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2003, 03:32:01 PM »

Thanks for the correction/clarification, Mor / (<--thumbs up)
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2003, 06:19:35 PM »

Thanks for the correction/clarification, Mor / (<--thumbs up)

Same here, Mor.  Are you sure you're not Catholic?   Wink

At least I knew that Lourdes had some connection with Rome's dogmatization of the Immaculate Conception (and why the alleged Marian apparitions to Bernadette there have been looked upon so suspiciously by so many of us Orthodox)!  Grin

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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2003, 07:24:31 PM »

Hypo, Mor is the walking, talking Catholic Encyclopedia. Wink

It is important to point out that the Catholic Church believes all public revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle, John. Lourdes is an example of private revelation which is not obligatory to believe, but one can certainly believe it. No dogmas can come from private revelation, but only exist as Christian truths, even though the Orthodox disagree with the ones mentioned (IC and Papal Infalliblity).

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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2003, 08:12:13 PM »

I mean no offense by this, but I'm genuinely confused:

So even if the Theotokos herself appears from heaven and gives a revelation... this isn't binding? Here's another question... if the Pope, exercizing papal infallibility, said that one of the appearances were definately legit, would the words spoken at that apperance then be something that Catholics would be obliged to believe? Or, could Mary say something and claim that it was there from the beginning, but that the Church just hadn't taught it explicitly before (sort of a divinely given, instantaneous "development of doctrine"?)  I'm not asking this for any insincere reason, I'm genuinely curious. Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2003, 09:54:25 PM »

Paradosis,

You’ve raised some very good questions.
 
Those of you who are familiar with the Fatima apparition will recall “Our Lady’s” continuous demands (I deliberately choose the word ‘demand’ as opposed to request) to the Catholic hierarchy about the consecration of Russia, and the consequences that might follow should her demands be ignored, namely the annihilation of nations and other chastisements.
Now if private revelations such as this one are not binding on believers, (clergy would be included in that category, I assume) why would serious consequences follow the rejection of a non-binding demand, made by a non-binding apparition? Unless I’ve overlooked something, I believe it becomes exceedingly difficult to reconcile the teaching on private revelations with the actual demands made by “Our Lady.”

Truly it’s a tragedy that so much prominence is given to apparitions in Catholicism, particularly the Fatima one.
Though the call for repentance characteristic in these apparitions is undoubtedly good, the motives for repentance which are also characteristic of these apparitions may not be so good: fear and punishment. For many, what follows is a distortion of one’s perception of God, with considerable emphasis placed on His wrath and vengeance rather than His love and mercy; a God who takes pleasure in the suffering of His little ones rather than their good health. To illustrate, consider that “Our Lady” told the three children at Fatima that God was pleased with their sacrifices of wearing a tight rope around their waist during the day and other self-tormenting activities (it’s a shame there were no child psychologists around in those days). Expunging this lopsided perception of God is difficult for many including myself. The beauty of the true Gospel message, however, is that punishment and consequences are latent points, and love and mercy are salient ones.

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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2003, 10:42:48 PM »

Growing up in the Latin church, at a little age I always loved hearing the story of Bernadette and Lourdes.

The Lourdes apparition is trying to demonstrate the childlike faith we should have. The girl Bernadette was nothing but a peasant, she was illiterate, and knew no language other than her own French tongue. Yet she was visited by Our Lady with the spanish phrase "Yo soy immaculate concepion".

When Bernadette went to the priest of the region, who thought her claims dubious at first, she told him what she was told in spanish, and he was immediately amazed, as a girl of her stature saying something like that was nearly unheard of. Documented evidence of this? Yes. Documented evidence of Bernadette's stature and knowledge? Yes. I think the evidence speaks for itself.

Again, it is classified as private revelation, should you choose to believe it or not is your choice.  Nevertheless, to trash Roman apparitions as completely false would be a little presumptous.  For all we know, the Theotokos may have been making appeals to the Latin Catholics since they were getting off track. I don't know, I'm not God. I personally believe in this occurrances, not because of the voice of impending doom as someone suggested, but as a motivation to get back on track. The Christian life is one of forgiveness, but also one of SUFFERING. And if we aren't bearing our CROSS, we can't die with Christ.

Bobby

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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2003, 12:16:17 PM »

Just as a side comment here:

Russia did again become 'Catholic' - Orthodox Catholic  Smiley

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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2003, 04:36:41 PM »

Hi everyone,

I'm interested in knowing your overall thoughts on Marian Apparitions, especially those of Fatima and Lourdes. Orthodox views about this topic seem to fall short of demand on the net.

Hope to see some interesting posts Smiley

Regards,

Byzantino


I don't think I've ever heard anything about oppinions on apparitions in other Churches.  But in the 1960's (68 to 71) there was an apparition in Zeitoun, Egypt which the Coptic Church recognizes (it's in the Synazarium), and there were also several other apparitions later which we don't recognize but take to be misleading.  At Zeitoun St. Mary appeared for hours at a time over months, we seen by millions of Christians (Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic), Muslims, and others, was photographed, and on TV.  Power was cut to the entire area to prove that it wasn't a hoax.
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2003, 07:55:04 PM »

Jonathan, I have read and seen photos of the alleged apparitions of the Theotokos on the roof of a Coptic church in Zeitun, Egypt.  However, unlike the alleged apparitions at Fatima and Lourdes, the Virgin did not deliver any concrete messages or new revelations at Zeitun, but merely assumed the stance of prayer, sometimes while slowly moving about on the church's roof.  AFAIK, there has been no official comment from Eastern Orthodox sources on the Zeitun apparitions, even though the Coptic Church accepts them.  This being the case, I think individual EO's are free to accept or reject the validity of the Marian apparitions at Zeitun.  Personally, I am inclined to accept them without, however, delving into their meaning.

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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2003, 08:34:09 PM »

Quote
From Byzantino: . . .what follows is a distortion of one’s perception of God, with considerable emphasis placed on His wrath and vengeance rather than His love and mercy; a God who takes pleasure in the suffering of His little ones rather than their good health. To illustrate, consider that “Our Lady” told the three children at Fatima that God was pleased with their sacrifices of wearing a tight rope around their waist during the day and other self-tormenting activities (it’s a shame there were no child psychologists around in those days).

I agree with you, Byzantino. I cannot see God wanting little kids to run around wearing painfully-tight belts around their developing abdomens or engaging in other possibly injurious ascetic practices.

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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2003, 09:52:03 PM »

Same here, Mor.  Are you sure you're not Catholic?

Hypo, Mor is the walking, talking Catholic Encyclopedia.


Well, there was a time during which I seriously contemplated entering the Roman Catholic Church.  I studied a lot, and it seemed to make sense.  When I studied Orthodoxy more and compared the two, I began to see where things didn't make sense in Roman Catholicism, and how much sense Orthodoxy (with all our quirks Wink ) made.  I don't think I'll ever look back in that direction, but I know a little about it, and respect it.  

So even if the Theotokos herself appears from heaven and gives a revelation... this isn't binding? Here's another question... if the Pope, exercizing papal infallibility, said that one of the appearances were definately legit, would the words spoken at that apperance then be something that Catholics would be obliged to believe? Or, could Mary say something and claim that it was there from the beginning, but that the Church just hadn't taught it explicitly before (sort of a divinely given, instantaneous "development of doctrine"?)  I'm not asking this for any insincere reason, I'm genuinely curious.

As Frobisher said, apparitions are considered private revelation, and so need not be believed.  I think the Catholic Church recognises that, in every case of such mystical phenomena, the possibility of deception by demonic forces exists (what the Russians call prelest if I'm not mistaken).  Hence, when any apparition is approved, all that means is that the messages, if any, delivered during the phenomena do not contradict the RC faith, and are OK to be believed in, and the "fruits" of the apparition are good (for example, sinners coming back to the Church and the sacraments, repentance, etc.).  In the case of Lourdes and Fatima, the fruits were good, and the messages compatible with the RC faith, and so they were approved.  One can believe in them; one can also reject them and stick purely to the Church, her theology and sacraments, the Scriptures, etc.  It's extra.

Could the Pope proclaim infallibly that a private revelation was a matter of faith?  I don't think so.  Papal Infallibility only allows that a Pope can define something infallibly, and make it binding on all Catholics, if it is a matter of faith and morals, and the faith in question, if I'm not mistaken, is public revelation.  A private revelation, then, couldn't be defined.  Of course, when the RCC defined PI and the Immaculate Conception as part of that public revelation, things became more interesting.  Wink

What if Mary taught something during one of these apparitions and claimed it was there from the beginning but not explicitly taught?  I suppose it depends on what is taught, but I suspect that, because private revelation cannot dictate the Church's faith, but only support it, this wouldn't happen/wouldn't be accepted.  At most, something that was said in an apparition could spark a debate large enough to require a definitive ruling, but I don't think this has ever happened, and I think it is unlikely to happen.    

Those of you who are familiar with the Fatima apparition will recall “Our Lady’s” continuous demands (I deliberately choose the word ‘demand’ as opposed to request) to the Catholic hierarchy about the consecration of Russia, and the consequences that might follow should her demands be ignored, namely the annihilation of nations and other chastisements.
Now if private revelations such as this one are not binding on believers, (clergy would be included in that category, I assume) why would serious consequences follow the rejection of a non-binding demand, made by a non-binding apparition? Unless I’ve overlooked something, I believe it becomes exceedingly difficult to reconcile the teaching on private revelations with the actual demands made by “Our Lady.”


This is a great point.  I never thought of this, and it certainly is worth investigation.
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« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2003, 08:49:08 PM »

Hello Mor Ephrem,
 I just heard about this site and signed right up! I have read several books regarding Fatima none ever quote The Blessed Mother as saying Russia would convert to Catholicism. She said the errors of Russia (communism) would spread throughout the world but in the end Russia would return to Christianity. She didn't say Catholic or Orthodox just Christianity.  Smiley

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« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2003, 09:12:39 PM »

I keep wondering why Russia was singled out instead of the *STILL* Communist and very populous China in the Fatima apparations.  Huh And why all those secrets and intrigue. Huh  And why did the Papacy get so involved.  Huh

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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2003, 09:56:10 PM »

Hi,
Cuz in 1917 Rusia was in the midst of the communist revolution and WWI. Russia hadn't actually become communist at the time the Theotokos apeared to the three children. China was many decades away from becomming communist too.   Tongue
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« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2003, 11:38:34 PM »

Hi,
Cuz in 1917 Rusia was in the midst of the communist revolution and WWI. Russia hadn't actually become communist at the time the Theotokos apeared to the three children. China was many decades away from becomming communist too.   Tongue
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Polycarp

So the Theotokos was only concerned with one country, Russia, where Communism is now no more and could care less about China?   Or North Korea?  Is that the "message" from Fatima? Huh I'm not trying to be difficult, but it still makes absolutely no sense to me.  I guess you need a Latin mindset to understand. Lips Sealed

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« Reply #19 on: August 27, 2003, 12:54:39 AM »

Well from what I know, Marian apparitions are relatively rare in Orthodoxy in comparison to Roman Catholicism. The apparitions of Fatima and Lourdes are generally rejected.

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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2003, 06:52:28 AM »

So the Theotokos was only concerned with one country, Russia, where Communism is now no more and could care less about China?   Or North Korea?  Is that the "message" from Fatima? Huh I'm not trying to be difficult, but it still makes absolutely no sense to me.  I guess you need a Latin mindset to understand. Lips Sealed

Hypo-Ortho

Hi Hypo-Ortho,
Sorry if I misread you but your tone seems somewhat condesending. I don't know if you have read any books about Fatima or not. From your post it seem you haven't read the one based on the diary of Sister Lucia who was the oldest of the three children. The main message wasn't about Russia or communism but about the whole world turning from God and the sinfullness entering in to the whole world. Mentioning specific countries and events ( I believe) helped to prove the prophesy was ligitimate and should be listened to. The Blessed Virgin was a messenger from God saying that we needed to turn back to God and pray for souls. Repent etc.  Self sacrifice is an ancient Christian act. (I believe it is just as ancient in the Eastern Church as it is in the Western Church.) Having concern for the whole world is what her message was all about.
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Polycarp
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« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2003, 07:38:56 AM »

Hey Polycarp,

My take on the matter is as follows:

Russia was a predominantly Christian country unlike China or North Korea. When a godly country turns ungodly, God cannot help but be upset Smiley

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« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2003, 08:52:43 PM »

Hey Polycarp,

My take on the matter is as follows:

Russia was a predominantly Christian country unlike China or North Korea. When a godly country turns ungodly, God cannot help but be upset Smiley

Bobby

Hi Bobby,
That makes sense, but again Russia wasn't the focus of her message. A sinfull world which had turned away from God was.
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2003, 11:13:10 PM »

Saint Polycarp:

I wasn't being condescending.  I'm sorry if I gave that appearance.  I find much in Catholicism that is spiritually enriching (but not entirely logical).  In point of fact, I used to be a Catholic of the Byzantine Rite myself and even studied for a brief period in the Melkite Eparchial seminary (all of which led me and my immediate family to Orthodoxy!  Wink!).  Btw, most of my relatives on my late father's side are Roman Catholic--I love each and every one of them!

Peace!

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« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2003, 11:54:14 PM »

Hey Polycarp,

My take on the matter is as follows:

Russia was a predominantly Christian country unlike China or North Korea. When a godly country turns ungodly, God cannot help but be upset Smiley

Bobby

It was the government of Soviet Russia, led primarily by atheists, agnostics and "free thinkers," that turned ungodly.  By and large, the simple people of the vast country of Russia, especially the peasants, clung to their Orthodox Christian Faith under conditions which we can hardly imagine, especially under such dictators like "Uncle" Joe Stalin.  Do the thousands of Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia mean nothing then?  Haven't you read about Father Arseny?  Do you know the conditions under which the Akathist of Thanksgiving was composed?  Yet, for the most part, it was the innocent who suffered the most, and are now being painted under the same brushstroke as the "ungodly!"  Bah! :'(

Hypo-Ortho

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« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2003, 01:11:39 AM »

Saint Polycarp:

I wasn't being condescending.  I'm sorry if I gave that appearance.  I find much in Catholicism that is spiritually enriching (but not entirely logical).  In point of fact, I used to be a Catholic of the Byzantine Rite myself and even studied for a brief period in the Melkite Eparchial seminary (all of which led me and my immediate family to Orthodoxy!  Wink!).  Btw, most of my relatives on my late father's side are Roman Catholic--I love each and every one of them!

Peace!

Hypo-Ortho


That's good to know Hypo!

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Polycarp
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« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2003, 02:17:49 AM »

Is this St. Polycarp from CARM? My influence is spreading, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! :cwm30:

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« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2003, 04:07:31 AM »

Ok, Athanasius,you've aroused my curiosity and I need to ask:  Just what is "CARM?"  I doubt that it means "Carmelite."  Cheesy

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« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2003, 07:26:54 AM »

CARM is a fundamentalist protestant web site which serves as a forum to promote Calvanist based religion and attack other Christian churches, especially the Catholic Church which by it's closely aligned beliefs and traditions includes the Orthodox.  www.carm.org
Come defend the faith if you have the time. They recently opened an OC board in addition to the Catholic board because many Orthodox were comming to the Catholic board and defending Catholic beliefs that the Orthodox share. That kind of made them look bad so they figured they could keep the Orthodox in a seperate place. It dosen't work so well for them because the Orthodox keep comming to the Catholic board and help to defend us there too. :-)
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« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2003, 07:28:11 AM »

Is this St. Polycarp from CARM? My influence is spreading, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! :cwm30:

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YES it is because of you that I came here!  Cool
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« Reply #30 on: August 28, 2003, 12:29:38 PM »

Welcome, Polycarp and Athanasius!

Great choice of names, BTW.
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« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2003, 04:09:39 PM »

I keep wondering why Russia was singled out instead of the *STILL* Communist and very populous China in the Fatima apparations.  Huh And why all those secrets and intrigue. Huh  And why did the Papacy get so involved.  Huh

Hypo-Ortho

I think Catholics might explain the singling out of Russia in the messages by saying that China was not yet Communist in 1917 (wouldn't be so for another thirty years, I think), but Russia was headed there in a matter of months.  Communism was viewed as "spreading" from Russia to China, and so the Virgin was right: since there was no "consecration of Russia", "Russia did spread her errors".  I think this is one way they might explain it.
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« Reply #32 on: August 28, 2003, 06:26:06 PM »

Welcome, Polycarp and Athanasius!

Great choice of names, BTW.


Thanks Linus!  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2004, 04:40:45 PM »

Peace,

St. Mary appeared in Cairo, Egypt in her church in Zeitoun, a district of Cairo, in 1968. For about a year, she appeared almost every night in the Church, on the roof of the church building and blessed the thousands waiting for her blessings.

For those interested in pictures and clips, go to
http://www.zeitun-eg.org/  
and click on the icon of The Holy Virgin on the left.

Peace,
Stavro
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« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2004, 05:49:33 PM »

Paradosis writes:

Didn't Mary say at Fatima that Russia would have to convert to Catholicism?



No . . . and it wasn't to be ecumenical either.  I have read several books and articles on Fatima and the conversion was related to the godlessness inflicting Russia even in 1917 before the actual start of the Bolshevik take-over.  Of course there would be many Catholics that would say conversion to the CC.  However, a subsequent apparition--Garabandal I believe--indicated that the conversion of Russia would be largely under the aegis of Orthodoxy.  BTW, I don't believe in Garabandal or Medugorjie (sp?) but not because of this statement RE Orthodoxy.

Garabandal was a site of a promised public miracle that has yet to happen.  Medugorjie involves some disagreements between the Franciscan Conventuals (O.F.M. Conv.) who staff the local parish and the RC Ordinary.  Also, as of a couple years ago supposedly the RC episcopal conference in Bosnia-Herzegovina did not approve of the apparitions and Rome has not taken a public position which the Pope shouldn't anyway at this point.

You should know that according to a RO Hieromonk in Albuquerque (an Archimandrite and abbot of a local skete) I met (unfortunately, he was in an uncanonical jurisdiction) he claimed that there was a horrible massacre of Orthodox by the Croatian Ustache in the local area of Medugorjie with the approval of the local Conventuals.  I believe that unfortunately there is something to this.  I can't exactly explain my attitude about "Medugorjie" but this atrocity does not help to lend credence to an apparition in this area.  Just my opinion.  This RO Hieromonk also claimed that Pius XII approved of the Ustahe's actions in the Balkans including this massacre.  I believe that this is patently false and slanderous.  Well, let's make that another argument for some other time!

No Catholic is bound by any private revelation, Marian apparition or otherwise.  I presume something similar applies to the Orthodox.  I personally believe in LaSalette, Lourds, and Fatima which in any case are not central to my faith.  There have been allegedly many, many recent Marian apparitions reported since WWII around the world.  Some have already been condemned by the RCC (e.g., Bayside, NJ and I think one in Korea--you wouldn't believe what happened in Korea!), and many others either under investigation and one or two approved in the sense that the RCC does not disapprove of public veneration at the particular sight (e.g., Akita, Japan).  

Nevertheless, no one is pushed to believe in them.  In fact, I NEVER hear of apparitions or other mystical phenomena discussed in Church or in any other RC religious venue in my parish or Archdiocese with the possible exception of Padre Pio's ministry (we have some prayer groups in certain parishes).  The main reason that we don't hear of these apparitions and similar phenomena is not so much discretion as post-Vatican II liberalism gone awry IMHO.  Besides ISTM that the struggle for personal sanctity--e.g., theosis, spiritual struggle, working out one's salvation, etc.--has become deemphasized in comparison to social justice.

Jim C.
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« Reply #35 on: November 26, 2007, 11:48:49 AM »

Hi there, I too have been interested in Marian Apparitions a long time.  Being brought up Catholic and then going to a recent pilgrimage where a visionary who sees the Virgin and feels Jesus' death pains fell to the ground in uncontrollable trembling when she reached the last station of the cross.  I'm not really a believer, but for some reason started sobbing together with everyone else.  I have also experienced some other strange occurrences which I have documented in this photographic project here: http://tascencao.com/kodakcatholicism/index.php.

My biggest interest is in why there are so many people who claim to see the Virgin and how that affects us as a society.

Teresa Ascencao
visual artist
Toronto, Canada
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