Situated in the Balkans, in Central Europe, lying at the confluence of the East and the West, Bosnia is a free state under the name of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina (now known as the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina) that became independent after a bloody war in February 1992, during the dismantling of the former Yugoslavia which had been under the yoke of an atheistic communist regime. This former regime has disintegrated today.
There are essentially two major religions in Bosnia: Catholic, especially in the southern region of Herzegovina, and Muslim.
Despite a long history marked by struggles and confrontations with Islam, the Catholic faith has actually remained very much alive in Bosnia where the people have always kept a special love for the Virgin Mary. This small Balkan federation is modest in size; however one can find there many shrines dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Among them, let us mention just two of the most well-known: Our Lady of Thijalina and Our Lady of Medjugorje in the canton of Mostar.
Medjugorje is a village in Bosnia-Herzegovina where, in 1981, some 10 years before the terrible war that brought such bloodshed upon the Yugoslav Federation, the Virgin Mary appeared under the title of Our Lady of Peace, in order to prepare her children for the upcoming violence…
Because of the nature of the Marian apparitions that are both recent and ongoing, the village of Medjugorje has become famous all over the world, and many contradictory statements have been given about the events that take place there. What is important to remember is that the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace in Medjugorje is officially recognized by the Church as a Marian shrine, although the supernatural character of the apparitions taking place there are not, to date, officially recognized by the Church.
Another remarkable fact: Medjugorje is today one of the most visited Marian shrines in the world.