The Battle of Lepanto (1571) and the Feast of the Holy Rosary

I very much appreciate the former name of this Feast: Our Lady of Victory.

There are many famous battles, but most of them come no where near the significance of Lepanto for the history of Western Civilization.

The Battle of Lepanto on 7 October 1571 was the largest naval engagement until Jutland in 1916. 40,000 dead in 4 hours.

One might muse on what would have been different had Islam triumphed at Lepanto.

Western Civilization would have been been scuttled and burned.

But the Christendom triumped.  Our Lady brought the victory.  She did so through the praying of the Holy Rosary by the sailors and warriors throughout the Christian fleet.  On the flagship there was a statue of Our Lady, which has recently been identified.  HERE

A few years ago, when I was in Madrid, I went to the Royal Naval Museum.  It happened that, for a short time, they were displaying the pennant that flew at the main mast of the flag ship of Juan Andrea Doria y Alvaro de Bazan, Juan of Austria.  The blue color represents the center of the line.

Another miracle occurred that day.  As the Battle raged, St. Pius V in Rome had a vision of the victory while he was visiting the headquarters of the Domincans on the Aventine Hill at Santa Sabina.  The messenger bringing news of the victory would arrive a couple weeks later.  You can visit the room where Pius received the message.

All sorts of people will post about Lepanto today, so I won’t over burden you.

Read GK Chesterton’s Lepanto.

Here is the Collect from the traditional Mass, which is the prayer we say at the end of the Rosary.

Deus, cuius Unigénitus per vitam, mortem et resurrectiónem suam nobis salútis ætérnæ præmia comparávit: concéde, qu?sumus; ut, hæc mystéria sacratíssimo beátæ Maríæ Vírginis Rosário recoléntes, et imitémur, quod cóntinent, et quod promíttunt, assequámur.

Let us pray.
O God, Whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death and resurrection, has merited for us the grace of eternal salvation, grant, we beseech You, that, meditating on those mysteries in the most holy rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

Please pray the Rosary today.  Please add a prayer for me.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Rob83 says:

    There is a magnificent basilica under the name Our Lady of Victory here in the US, well worth a visit if in the area.

  2. Danteewoo says:

    I have read that Paul VI gave back to the Muslims the Standard of Lepanto, which had been taken from a Turkish admiral during the battle.

  3. Chesterton’s Lepanto is in my eyes one of the greatest poems of all time. How colorfully yet profoundly does he portray the state of Christendom in 1571… (except of course, his mistake of falling for the popular rumor of Philip of Spain as being a jerk). How relevant to today is it, that imagery of St. Michael’s cry of defiance against Evil goes out over the world, and yet the world does not pay attention: “The noise is gone through Normandy, the noise is gone alone; The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes, And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise, And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room, and Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom.”
    St. Michael, Our Lady of Victory, Our Lady of the Rosary, we beg thee to once again come to the aid of Christendom, which is faltering as it never has before.

  4. Not says:

    Please God, we need another LaPanto ! If only the Holy Father would ask ALL religious to pray along with All Catholics…what miracles could be achieved.

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    Deus vult.

  6. Father G says:

    Orthodox Christians in Nafpaktos (previously known as Lepanto), Greece also celebrate today’s feast day. 8,000 Greeks fought in the Battle of Lepanto. The icon of the Panagia Naupaktiotissa is also known as Our Lady of Lepanto :

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  8. teomatteo says:

    The big screen. Who could produce such a film today?

  9. Mariana2 says:

    I was received into the Holy Catholic Church on the 7th of October, 20 years ago. Reading Chesterton’s poem, with annotations, today.

    ‘Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard’- sounds like Ghân-buri-Ghân.

    …risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
    The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall.

  10. Semper Gumby says:

    For those interested in the Middle East, here’s a few books that provide a foundation sturdier than that of many, probably most, PhDs and intelligence analysts. (A pre-9/11 foundation is important.)

    The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs by David Pryce-Jones (tribe, culture, politics- first published in 1989, reprint 2002)

    The Arab Predicament (the situation after the 1967 war) and The Dream Palace of the Arabs: A Generation’s Odyssey (Arab intellectuals, this book is part-sequel to “Predicament” and part-autobiography) by Fouad Ajami

    What Went Wrong? The Clash between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East by Bernard Lewis (this slim volume is a good starting point, written just prior to 9/11, it looks back on several centuries of decay)

    Holy Terror: Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism and The Persian Night: Iran under the Khomeinist Revolution, both by Amir Taheri

    Radical Islam: Medieval Theology and Modern Politics by Emmanuel Sivan (a more advanced book)

    A Peace to End all Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East by David Fromkin (the events around WW I)

    Republic of Fear: The Politics of Modern Iraq by Kanan Makiya (first published in 1989 just prior to Operation Desert Storm, Saddam Hussein and the Ba’ath Party regime)

    Daniel Pipes of Middle East Forum, Dore Gold on Saudi Arabia and the Wahabbis, Ahmed Rashid’s “Taliban” (the original pre-9/11 edition is reasonable but avoid the revised edition.)

    For literature: The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz (a family from the 1919 independence movement through WW II)

  11. Semper Gumby says:

    Iran, two more:

    Daughter of Persia by Sattareh Farman Farmaian

    Mantle of the Prophet by Roy Mottahedeh

    Travel: Motoring with Mohammed by Eric Hansen (the Red Sea and Yemen, shipwreck, buried travel journals, goat smugglers, gun runners, qat, and a guy named Mohammed).

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