Brezje, Radovljica

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Brezje
Pilgrimage Church
Pilgrimage Church
Brezje is located in Slovenia
Brezje
Brezje
Location in Slovenia
Coordinates: 46°19′43″N 14°14′7″E / 46.32861°N 14.23528°E / 46.32861; 14.23528Coordinates: 46°19′43″N 14°14′7″E / 46.32861°N 14.23528°E / 46.32861; 14.23528
Country Flag of Slovenia.svg Slovenia
Traditional region Upper Carniola
Statistical region Upper Carniola
Municipality Radovljica
Elevation 483 m (1,585 ft)
Population (2002)
 • Total 493
[1]

Brezje (pronounced [ˈbɾeːzjɛ]; German: Pirkendorf) is a settlement in the Municipality of Radovljica in the Upper Carniola region of Slovenia.

Church interior

The village is located southwest of Radovljica on the road to Kranj. It is best known for Mary Help of Christians Basilica (Slovene: Bazilika Marije Pomagaj), the largest pilgrimage church in Slovenia and national shrine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ljubljana. The present-day Neo-Renaissance church building modelled on the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels in Assisi was consecrated in 1900; it replaced Mary Help of Christians Chapel in the 15th century St Vitus parish church which had become a major pilgrimage site in the 19th century. Mary Help of Christians Basilica is also the monastery church of a Franciscan convent established at the site in 1898. The church plaza was laid out according to plans by Jože Plečnik.

On 5 October 1988 the building was honoured with the title of minor basilica by apostolic grant of Pope John Paul II; he visited Brezje on 17 May 1996. Marije Pomagaj is one of two basilicas in Slovenia, the other is the Stična Abbey church in Lower Carniola. In 2000 the Slovenian Bishops' Conference declared it a national shrine. Every year, about 400,000 people visit the site, with the main pilgrimage celebrated on May 24.

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