MEDJUGORJE, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Thousands of Christian pilgrims have gathered in the southern Bosnian village of Medjugorje to mark the 30th anniversary of the disputed apparition of the Virgin Mary.
At dawn Saturday, pilgrims from around the world climbed a hill above Medjugorje where six children claimed in 1981 they had the visions.
The Medjugorje apparition has been disputed for decades. Unlike Fatima in Portugal or Lourdes in France, the Roman Catholic church is cautious about calling the sightings authentic, and has not formally approved Medjugorje as a shrine site.
The Vatican last year started formally investigating the apparitions that the six — now adults — claim are still regular.
But the lack of official recognition has not stopped the remote village from thriving, through communism and then war. Some 40 million faithful have visited its shrine so far.
- the Roman Catholic church