Like to many other nations in the world, August 15 is a special day for Croatians as well, as we celebrate the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, and praise the assumption of her body and soul into Heaven not only as a religious holiday but also as a national one. The tradition of celebrating Mary’s departure from this world and assuming her rightful place in Heaven is an esteemed tradition almost as old as Christianity itself, proclaimed as an official religious holiday by Pope Pius XII. on November 1, 1950.
The day of Mary’s assumption is celebrated throughout Croatia with many dedicated believers attending various religious celebrations at Marian sanctuaries – Catholic pilgrimage sites that mark the spots where the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared to the folk, which Croatia has quite a few.
The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been a traditional part of Dubrovnik’s heritage since the late 17th century, when the Dubrovnik Cathedral as we know it today was rebuilt on the ruins of the previous Virgin Mary Basilica, and the ruins of the first St. Blaise Church, and St. Peter’s Cathedral before that, all in the same place. Today’s Cathedral is thus dedicated precisely to the Virgin Mary, and is officially called the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
Like every year so far, the Bishop of Dubrovnik Mons Mate Uzinić will lead the evening Eucharistic liturgy at 7 p.m. in front of the Cathedral. The Mass will traditionally be followed by the holy procession to the Old city port with the sacred image of the Virgin of Porat ending in blessing of fishermen, boats, ships and sailors.