Our Lady and love, faith, hope

    ostrvo




    As magically beautiful as it is from the outside, the shrine of Our Lady of the Rocks is adorned with a rich history that is best experienced on the island itself. So small and at the same time such a big place.

    A place where many newlyweds vow eternal love, a place of prayer in difficult times, a place of hope for Boke sailors, a keeper of Boke women's secrets...

    The interior of the church of Our Lady of Rock tells one big story of life, made up of thousands of small stories about the destinies of the Boka Bay people. 




    Since ancient times, mothers have prayed to Our Lady of Rock that their sons would return home from war alive and well. 

    Wives and girlfriends waited for their sailors and sent their love far to the seas of the world, with the faith that originated from this small island.
    As a sign of gratitude, they gave Our Lady what helped them in difficult times - what marked their love, their prayer and their waiting.

    Sailors from Perast and captains, responsible for the great and stormy past of this town, presented various "miracles" to the shrine of Our Lady of Rock. People still do that to this day.


    Vows from all over the world

    That is why Our Lady is rich in gifts from all over the world, and each of them tells its own story. Each gift is special and valuable in its own way. On Gospa there is a part of the JAT plane, which crashed on January 26, 1972 in what was then Czechoslovakia. It was presented to the island by flight attendant Vesna Vulović, the only one who survived the fall, as a sign of gratitude and faith.

    Hanging on the walls, you can see parts of cars and engines, which were brought by people grateful to have survived an accident and heard about faith and miracles from a small island in Boka Kotorska.

    On the island there is a helmet brought all the way from Italy. It is assumed that someone, after surviving an accident driving a motorcycle, heard about the island of Gospa od Škrpjela and decided to bring and leave a helmet all the way from Italy.
    There is also a painting of Voj Stanić here, which was a gift from a family from Trieste, after a great miracle when their seriously ill son got well.

    Archbishop Andrija Zmajević vowed his archbishop's ring to Our Lady.
    Jacinta Kunić embroidered her vow for 25 years, and in 1828 she gave it to Our Lady as a symbol of eternal love. 


    photos: Share Montenegro 


    Sailors especially attached to Our Lady

    The sailors presented their vows on silver vow plates, of which there are over 2,000 in the church. Each vow tile tells its own destiny, so thousands of vows "live" on the island for centuries. At that time, going on long voyages, which were mostly dangerous, sailors made a vow to Our Lady of Rock that they would somehow thank her if they returned home alive.

    In the beginning, the vow was such that the sailors gave money, so that the island would be built. And so it was, because the votive church was built on the island, thanks to donations from sailors, not only from Perast, but from all over Boka.

    After the church was built, the same sailors significantly enriched the church. As a sign of gratitude, when they came home from faraway adventures, they brought very expensive gifts from all over the world to the church of Our Lady of Rock - votive tiles, Chinese vases, gold, silver and porcelain.

    Votive plaques were made of silver, which was very precious at the time, even more precious than gold. On these tiles, the most common motifs are ships. Ships in battles, in storms, various accidents at sea... 


    photo: Share Montenegro  


    In those difficult moments, the sailors vowed to give something valuable to Our Lady of Rock, just to survive. Thus, on the wall in the church there are thousands of small silver votive plaques, among them 95 plaques with engraved inscriptions, such as the name of the ship, the name and surname of the captain, and the year and place where the shipwreck occurred. On the background of almost every tile is engraved the inscription in Latin "VFGA" which means: "Vow I have made, grace I have received."

    The largest and oldest votive silver plate was made as a sign of gratitude on May 15, 1654, when the people of Perast defeated the great Ottoman army and defended their city. Since that day and since that year, the votive tablets have not stopped being brought to the island.

    In addition to the votive plaques, there are also votive objects, such as art paintings, crosses, gold and silver crowns, as well as pictures of ships made on wood, watercolor technique on paper, oil on canvas... Instead of gold, silver and money, people brought real works of art, both by domestic and foreign painters and artists.

    photo: Share Montenegro  



    There are also various useful items, such as old irons, umbrellas, keys, watches, gramophones...

    A 550-year-old wish chest

    Today, in a 550-year-old chest, which is also the oldest piece of furniture in Boka, visitors leave money, of all possible currencies.
    In addition to being the oldest piece of furniture, this chest is also a wish chest, so by inserting coins into it, visitors make their small vow to this place, with faith and hope that their wish will come true.

    Even the organ on the island, which is 325 years old and is still in use on special occasions, is a testament.

    Weddings and parties

    Weddings are also held on the island, and old customs 


       photo: Share Montenegro 

    Original text: Share montenegro

    Autor: Marijana Niković 

    Cover photo: Miloš Ivanović



     

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    Thursday, 25 April 2024

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