Slovenia is a land rich with cultural heritage and proud citizens, who appreciate and respect their country’s beauties and traditions. For many people, one of the important parts of Slovenian identity is also the country’s dominant religion, which is Catholicism. That is why there are many historical churches, monasteries and pilgrimage sites spread all over the country, waiting to be discovered. With this in mind, I would like to present to you, the main and most famous pilgrimage site in the country, located in the town of Brezje, with a church called Bazilika Marije Pomagaj, or the Saint Mary of Help Basilica.
Each year, thousands of people from all over Slovenia, as well as other parts of Europe and world come to the Saint Mary of Help Basilica to honour and deepen their religion. Many of the pilgrims make it their goal to visit Brezje by foot, and some even make a vow to themselves to do so. The location of Slovenia’s main pilgrimage site is perfect for those who would like to visit country’s other beautiful destinations at the same time, like the green capital of Ljubljana or the town of Bled with its unique lake and the oldest Slovenian citadel with a magnificent view.
The Saint Mary of Help Basilica became a pilgrimage site at the beginning of the 1860s, which is also when the first miraculous healings began appearing in the area and caused the sanctification of the church and the creation of the well-known modern-day pilgrimage site. An interesting attribute of the basilica is that the main altar inside of it is dedicated to Saint Vid and not Saint Mary, after which the whole pilgrimage site was originally named. Nevertheless, there is a breath-taking painting of Mother Mary decorating the church’s golden altar.
The main pilgrimage takes place each year, on the 24th of May. Other massively attended events are also the annual pilgrimage of patients, people with disabilities and the elderly in June, as well as the feast of the Assumption of Mary on the 15th of August. There is also a Nativity Museum, located behind the church, which comes to life especially in the Christmas and Advent time, with innovative nativity scenes enriching your experience there. You will also find many souvenir shops with beautiful religious images, as well as restaurant and cafés in the area.
If you are looking for a destination with a chance to deepen your religion or just a quiet spot for restoring your spirituality, then discovering the town of Brezje, known for its famous Slovenian pilgrimage site, the Saint Mary of Help Basilica, is the perfect place for you. There, you will discover a peaceful atmosphere and friendly locals, with lots of interesting stories and legends about the spot.
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