On the 29th of June the youth of St Mark's church embarked on a trip to a small village in the south west of Bosnia called Medjugorje.

Some may think that this is a strange destination and they would not be far from the truth, but as the youth discovered over the duration of the weekend, it doesn't take a big place for God to do big things.

Before the early 80's Medjugorje was a small farming town until 6 children were miraculously visited by the Virgin Mary on a number of occasions. These apportions still continue till today, which has transformed this small town into a center for Christian pilgrims.

Due to it being a holy and blessed place, Medjugorje now hosts a number of rehabilitation centers that accommodate people from all walks of life, from drug addicts to people from broken homes, all of whom are healed and rehabilitated with nothing but prayer, fasting and living a life with Christ. The youth were blessed and privileged to hear the testimonies of several of the young men who lived in these centers. To witness how a life with God can bring someone out of the deepest addictions was truly an awe-inspiring experience.

A normal part of this pilgrimage is to visit the place where St Mary first appeared to the children. The sight of the apparition is set at the peak of a small mountain, appropriately named 'Apparition Mountain'. With no defined path the youth set to climb up its' rigorous face where after half an hour they were met with the glorious sight of a white marble statue of The Virgin in the exact pose she appeared to the children. The view from this spot was breath taking and made an appropriate setting for pilgrims to have a period of contemplation and prayer.

After descending from the mountain the youth attended a catholic ritual called the 'Adoration of the Eucharist'. This is where thousands of Christians flock together to worship and offer prayers to the Eucharist, set inside of a golden sun shaped disc and laid upon an alter. The idea is that people offer their supplications to Christ Himself, similar to what we do in an Orthodox Liturgy.

As mentioned earlier, Medjugorje is considered to be a holy place and it wasn't until the youth witnessed the first of many miracles that they finally began to realize that 'Holy' was a befitting title.

Behind the main cathedral stood a 15 foot high statue of the Crucified and Risen Lord made of solid copper, but this was no ordinary sculpture. People were noted to gather around the sculpture in order to wipe real human tears which seeped out of the Lord's right knee. A constant miracle which has been occurring since 2001. These tears were salty when tasted and seemed to appear out of nowhere and then evaporate after falling a few centimeters. No description can be given for the feelings which welled inside of the group when they saw this. But God had not finished showing His wonders yet!
At 9am on the second day of every month The Virgin Mary appears to one of the visionaries in Medjugorje and delivers a message to the people, which so happened to be the same day that the trip was there. So the opportunity was taken to see such an event and take the blessing from the presence of The Mother of God. Thousands of people gathered inside a small gymnasium praying the Hail Mary prayer in front of a small statue of The Virgin. At 9am the visionary entered and began to pray until silence fell upon the crowd and she was seen to be interacting and conversing with someone who the crowd could not see. After the vision was over and St Mary had departed from the building the visionary wrote the message down and was read in several languages by various catholic priests. The message is as follows:

Dear Children

In this great love of God, today I am coming to you to take you along the path of humility and tenderness. The first station on this way my children is confession. Give up arrogance and kneel down before my Son. Realize and understand my children that you have nothing, that you cannot do anything. That the only thing that belongs to you and that you posses is sin. Cleanse yourself and accept tenderness and humility. My Son could conquer with strength but He chose tenderness, humility and love. Follow my Son, give Him your hand so that we can climb this hill together and we can win.

Thank you

The words of this message truly touched the whole group and mixed with the atmosphere of the place in which it was received most were sure that it did come from St Mary Herself.

The trip Medjugorje was an awaking to the realization that God does care for the insignificant. He is constantly trying to reveal His glory and His love in the least of us, in our limited existence and as St Mary said that the key to the revealing of God in us is for us to bow down and surrender all before the Saviour.

Axios, Axios, Axios

St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in London is one of the oldest Coptic churches in the lands of the immigration, and one of the first to be supported and cared for by our beloved patriarch, HH the late Pope Shenouda III.

  • St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church
    Allen Street, Kensington
    London W8 6UX