Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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A religious statue depicting Our Lady of Fátima, with her Immaculate Heart surrounded with thorns, a necklace chain of golden ball (of light) and barefooted as described by Sister Lúcia.

The consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary by a reigning Pope was requested during a Marian apparition by Our Lady of Fátima on 13 July 1917, according to Sister Lúcia, one of the three visionaries who claimed to have seen the apparition. Sister Lucia said that at different times the Blessed Virgin Mary had given her a message of promise, that the consecration of Russia (as a country) would usher in a period of world peace.

Pope Pius XII, Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II all consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, without specifically referencing Russia or the USSR. On March 25, 2022, Pope Francis consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart, alongside Ukraine, with both countries mentioned for the first time, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[1]

Background[edit]

Consecration of Russia[edit]

Russian priest and pilgrims in the Sanctuary of Fátima, in Portugal.

According to Sister Lúcia, the Virgin Mary requested the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart both at Fatima in 1917 and later, more explicitly Pontevedra in 1929.[2]

In two letters she sent in May 1930 to Father Gonçalves, her confessor, Sister Lúcia linked the consecration of Russia with the Devotion of the Five First Saturdays, which she had first discussed in context of the apparitions she had purportedly experienced previously as a postulant at Pontevedra in 1925. The Church has issued no decision regarding the reported visions at either Pontevedra or Tuy.[3] In August 1941, Sister Lúcia wrote her memoir in which she described the apparition of 13 July 1917. She said that the Blessed Virgin Mary told them:[4]

"God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The [First World] war is going to end; if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the communion of reparation on the first Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world."

Some Catholics who support the position of the Catholic Church claim that the apparitions at Fátima took place after the February Revolution of 1917 that deposed Tsar Nicholas II from power and the April 16 return of Vladimir Lenin to Russia.[5]

Categorised as private revelation[edit]

The alleged message given by the Virgin Mary at Fatima is considered a private revelation.[6]

The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church distinguishes between "public Revelation" and "private revelations". The term "public Revelation" finds its literary expression in the Bible and "reached its fulfilment in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ".[7] In this regard, Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Saint John of the Cross:

"In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word—and he has no more to say... Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty."[8]

Consecrations[edit]

20th century[edit]

In 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the whole of humanity, implicitly including Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This consecration was made in the context of the reported messages from Jesus and the Virgin Mary received by Blessed Alexandrina of Balazar and communicated to her spiritual director, the Jesuit priest Mariano Pinho. In 1952, he consecrated "the peoples of Russia" to the Immaculate Heart in Sacro vergente anno, although it was notably not done in communion with bishops worldwide (as requested by Our Lady of Fátima).[9][10][11][12]

In 1964, Pope Paul VI also consecrated humanity, and thus implicitly Russia, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the end of the third session of Vatican II.[10][13][14][15]

In 1981 and 1982, Pope John Paul II also consecrated the whole human race to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[9][10]

All those previous consecrations were done not in communion and coordination with the Catholic bishops of the world.[9]

In 1983, Pope John Paul II set out to rectify any errors that had occurred with the previous consecrations; and on December 8, 1983, he sent a letter to all bishops worldwide, Catholic and Orthodox, asking them to join him in March 1984 for an Act of Entrustment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.[16] Before doing the consecration, the pope consulted Sister Lúcia so as to make sure this consecration of Russia would be valid. However, on March 25, 1984, Pope John Paul II did not mention Russia when he declared an act of consecration of "those men and nations who are in special need of this entrustment and consecration."[17] After John Paul II's consecration, Sister Lúcia stated numerous times that the 1984 consecration had been done the way the Virgin Mary wanted it to be.[9][10]

21st century[edit]

At the formal request of the Episcopal Conference of Ukrainian Catholic Bishops, the Holy See announced on 15 March 2022 that Pope Francis would consecrate Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on 25 March 2022 at Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome. The 25 March is the same date as when John Paul II consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart in 1984. A consecration ceremony was also scheduled in Fátima, Portugal by the papal almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski.[18][19] Accordingly, the Pope sent a letter to invite all the Catholic bishops to join with him in the consecration, by their own volition, at the same designated time the consecration by the pope was to take place.[20][10] He also invited all Catholic communities and all the faithful to join him in the consecration.[21] The text of the consecration contains explicit mentions of "Russia and Ukraine" in the consecration formula.[22]

Pope Francis' consecration of Russia[edit]

On 25 March 2022 the consecration by Francis took place in Saint Peter's Basilica in conjunction with a penitential service, with Francis stating: "Mother of God and our mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine". Konrad Krajewski also made a similar consecration in Portugal.[23][24][25]

The text of the consecration contains the title "Earth of Heaven" to refer to Virgin Mary in some of its versions. This title raised concerns among some Catholics. The Holy See explained the origin of the title was "taken from a Byzantine-Slavic monastic hymn, and it poetically signifies the union of heaven and earth that we can contemplate in Virgin Mary assumed bodily into Heaven".[26]

Conversion of Russia[edit]

In 1946, during a gathering of youth at Fátima, Sister Lucia was asked by a young Russian girl, Natacha Derfelden, as to how the conversion of Russia would be accomplished. Sister Lucia responded that the conversion of Russia would come through the Eastern Orthodox Church and "the Oriental rite",[27][28] seemingly meaning the conversion implied reconciliation and reunion between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. A theological commentary written by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger on the Fátima secret cites it as a "conversion of the heart".[29]

In 2003 and 2014, the Theotokos Derzhavnaya and the Theotokos of Port Arthur icon, were brought for veneration to the Portuguese city of Fatima,[30] where, according to Lucia dos Santos, Our Lady of Fatima predicted in 1917 that post-revolutionary Russia would, "spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church."[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Pope's homily at penance service with consecration of Russia (full text)". aleteia.org. 26 March 2022. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  2. ^ Fastiggi, Robert. "Pope Francis consecrated Russia and Ukraine to Mary’s Immaculate Heart, but what does that mean?", OSV, 25 March 2022
  3. ^ "Marian Apparitions of the Twentieth Century". Archived from the original on 9 December 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  4. ^ Farrow, Mary (10 October 2017). "Everything you need to know about Fatima (Part 2)". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  5. ^ "The SEALED TRAIN" by Michael Pearson, New York:Putnam [1975] ISBN 0399112626
  6. ^ "Public and Private Revelation | EWTN". EWTN Global Catholic Television Network. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  7. ^ "The Message of Fatima". Vatican.va. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Usccb.org. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d Kengor, Paul (23 March 2022). "John Paul II's Consecration of Russia". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Pope invites bishops to join him in consecration of Russia and Ukraine". Vatican News. 18 March 2022. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  11. ^ "Pope to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to Immaculate Heart of Mary". Crux. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  12. ^ "Apostolic Epistle to the Dearest People of Russia". vatican.va. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  13. ^ "Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the Triumph of the Kingdom of God | EWTN". EWTN Global Catholic Television Network. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  14. ^ Watkins, Devin (16 March 2022). "Ukrainian Bishops welcome Pope's consecration of Russia to Mary". Vatican News. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  15. ^ J. de Souza, Raymond (16 March 2022). "Pope's Consecration of Russia and Ukraine Is a Supreme Act of Trust in Our Lady". National Catholic Register. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  16. ^ "John Paul II's Consecration of Russia". National Catholic Register.com. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  17. ^ "Pope invites bishops to join him in consecration of Russia and Ukraine". vaticannews.va. Retrieved 14 October 2022.
  18. ^ "Pope to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to Immaculate Heart of Mary - Vatican News". www.vaticannews.va. 15 March 2022. Retrieved 15 March 2022.
  19. ^ CNA (15 March 2022). "Pope Francis to consecrate Russia and Ukraine to Immaculate Heart of Mary". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  20. ^ Watkins, Devin (23 March 2022). "Pope to Bishops: Consecration of Russia and Ukraine 'to implore peace'". Vatican News. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  21. ^ Mares, Courtney (23 March 2022). "Pope Francis asks all Catholics to take part in consecration of Russia, Ukraine". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  22. ^ Wooden, Cindy (22 March 2022). "Pope will consecrate humanity, 'especially Russia and Ukraine', to Mary, text says". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  23. ^ CNA (25 March 2022). "Live updates: Pope Francis consecrates Russia, Ukraine to Mary's Immaculate Heart". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  24. ^ Esteves, Junno Arocho (25 March 2022). "Pope consecrates Ukraine, Russia to Mary". Catholic News Service. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  25. ^ Brockhaus, Hannah (25 March 2022). "Pope Francis consecrates Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  26. ^ Mares, Courtney (25 March 2022). "Vatican explains 'Tierra del Cielo' ('Earth of Heaven') in consecration prayer". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  27. ^ Quoted in "Russia Will be Converted" by John Haffert, President of the Blue Army, 1956, p. 204
  28. ^ "Russia Will Be Converted" (PDF). Johnhaffert.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 February 2018. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  29. ^ "The Message of Fatima". Vatican.va. Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  30. ^ (in Russian) http://gazetaslovo.com/новости/португалия/item/portugaliya-pravoslavnye-svyatyni-posetili-fatimu.html
  31. ^ Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, Fatima, Portugal. (1976), Edited by Fr. Louis Kondor, SVD. Page 109.

Further reading[edit]

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