Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Feast of Mary Help of Christians

This devotion to the patroness of the Salesians of Don Bosco is more than ever needed as the West faces the same problems that were conquered in the Battle of Lepanto that ended the Ottomen threat to Europe. The Battle of Lepanto took place on 7 October 1571 when a fleet of the Holy League, a coalition of Catholic maritime states, decisively defeated Muslim inaders.

Thanks to Gbbon Cooney for this excerpt from the Wikipedia entry:

Mary Help of Christians (Latin: Sancta Maria Auxilium Christianorum), is a Roman Catholic devotion created to the Virgin Mary. John Chrysostom was the first person to use this title in 345. The devotion became popular in Europe during the pontificate of Pope Pius V and the fights against the Ottoman Empire.

It was definitely established due to the great appreciation of Don Bosco for this Marian title and the development of the Salesian works in several countries since the second half of the 19th century. Although it is commonly associated to the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church knows also the devotion since 1030 in Ukraine, when the country was defended from a barbarian invasion.

The title of Mary Help of Christians is associated to the defense of the Christian Europe (Latin and Greek), the north of Africa and the Middle East from non-Christian peoples during the Middle Age. In 1572 the Islamic Ottoman Empire intended to invade the Christian Europe. Pope Pius V called Christian armies from all over Europe to defend the continent and asked the believers to pray to Mary in order to help the Christians. The defeat of the Muslim Turks was attributed to the intercession of Mary under such title

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