Međugorje, or Medjugorje, is a town located in the Herzegovina region of Bosnia and Herzegovina, around 25 km (16 mi) southwest of Mostar and close to the border of Croatia.
The name Međugorje literally means “between mountains”. At an altitude of 200 m (660 ft) above sea level it has a mild Mediterranean climate. Since 1981, when six local children claimed they had seen visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Medjugorje has become an unapproved destination of Catholic pilgrimage.
“Our Lady of Medjugorje” is the title given to the apparition by those who believe that Mary, mother of Jesus, has been appearing from 24 June 1981 until today to six children, now adults, in Medjugorje (then part of communist Yugoslavia). “Most Blessed Virgin Mary”, “Queen of Peace” and “Mother of God” are words the apparition has allegedly introduced herself with.
The visionary Marija Lunetti (Pavlović) claims to receive messages from the Virgin Mary on the twenty-fifth of every month, while Mirjana Soldo (Dragičević) reports receiving messages on the second of the month.
The messages attributed to Our Lady of Medjugorje have a strong following among Catholics worldwide. Medjugorje has become one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for Catholics in the world and has turned into Europe’s third most important apparition site, where each year more than 1 million people visit. It has been estimated that 30 million pilgrims have come to Medjugorje since the reputed apparitions began in 1981. Many have reported visual phenomena including the sun spinning in the sky or changing color and figures such as hearts and crosses around the sun. Some visitors have suffered eye damage while seeking to experience such phenomena. Jesuit Father Robert Faricy has written about his own experience of such phenomena, saying, “Yet I have seen rosaries which have changed colour, and I have looked directly at the sun in Medjugorje and have seen it seem to spin and turn different colors. It would be easier to report that it is just hysteria except that I would then have to accuse myself of being hysterical, which I was not and am not.”