MCI logo

Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus

The First Apparitions

I have come because there are many true believers here. I wish to be with you to convert and to reconcile the whole world

26th June 1981

The First Apparitions

Day 1 - Wednesday 24th June 1981

On the feast day of St. John the Baptist, two teenagers, Ivanka (aged 15) and Mirjana (16), went for an evening walk below a local hill called Podbrdo (now better known as Apparition Hill). While there, Ivanka caught sight of a luminous figure several hundred metres away on the hill. She immediately recognised the figure as the Virgin Mary, holding a child in her left arm. Ivanka and Mirjana were later joined by four other young people.

By evening, a total of six witnesses had seen the first apparition.

The six witnesses who saw Our Lady on the first day were Ivanka Ivanković (15), Mirjana Dragićević (16), Vicka Ivanković (16) and Ivan Dragićević (16) ,who would become four of the future six visionaries, along with two other witnesses on that first day : Ivan Ivanković (20) and Milka Pavlović (12). (Both of whom did not see any further apparitions apart from that first day.)

All six present recognised the heavenly figure as the Blessed Virgin Mary. Though she remained silent, she beckoned them to come closer. However, overwhelmed by apprehension, the young people fled home, where they shared the details of the apparition with their families who had mixed reactions to the news.

Day 2 - Thursday 25th June 1981

Despite the caution of the locals and their fear of the authorities, news of the alleged apparition quickly spread throughout the village that following day. After completing their day's work in the fields, a group gathered at the same location that evening. The young people from the previous day were present, except for Ivan Ivanković and Milka.

Joining the group that evening were two children who had not been there the day before: Marija Pavlović (16), the elder sister of Milka, and a boy named Jakov Čolo (10).

Suddenly, around the same time as the previous evening's apparitions, there were three flashes of bright white light on the hill, and the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to the six children and beckoned them to come closer. Immediately, the children were drawn to run up the rocky hill with great speed and ease, while the rest of the onlookers who had gathered, struggled to keep up. Only the six children could see the flashes of light and Our Lady.

Upon reaching the apparition, the six children fell to their knees and began reciting the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory be. Our Lady wore a joyful smile, and she was dressed in a shimmering silver-grey gown, with a white veil covering her black hair. Adorned with a crown of twelve stars, she had loving blue eyes, and her voice resonated with a sweetness that was like music.

The children recall that Our Lady prayed along with them but remained silent during the praying of the Hail Mary. She also reassured them not to be afraid and confirmed her intention to return the following day.

From that day forward, these six children, which now included Marija and Jakov, formed the permanent group of visionaries. The 25th of June then became the official annual anniversary of the apparitions, as instructed by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself in later apparitions.

Day 3 - Friday 26th June 1981

By the third day, news had spread further throughout the region, and over a thousand people had gathered on the hill. Again, when the apparition occurred, the six children scaled the hill at an incredible speed and fell to their knees upon reaching Our Lady. Witnesses later recounted that the children's apparition lasted around 30 minutes.

Vicka's grandmother had wisely told her to test the apparition with Holy Water. "If you are the Virgin, remain with us. If you are not, depart from us," said Vicka. When Vicka threw the water at the apparition, Our Lady smiled and remained.

The children then asked many questions, including: Why have you chosen Medjugorje? "I have come because there are many true believers here," and "I have come to convert and reconcile the whole world" replied Our Lady. Why are you appearing to us? We are not better than others said the Children. Our Lady replied, "I do not necessarily choose the best." Is there life on other planets they asked? "That is not for you to know now," she said. Will you come back they asked her? "Yes, to the same place as yesterday."

After the main apparition was over, and while the group was making their way back down the hill, suddenly Marija felt drawn off to the one side, and to kneel down, and she experienced another apparition, where Our Lady gave her the first and one of the most important messages:

Our Lady tearfully appeared alongside a cross and told her, “Peace, Peace, Peace! Be reconciled! Only Peace. Make your peace with God and among yourselves. For that, it is necessary to believe, to pray, to fast, and to go to confession.”

Ten years later, on the 26th of June 1991, the Yugoslav Wars broke out, a fierce and inhuman set of conflicts in the heart of Europe that completely reshaped what was then known as Yugoslavia and formally lasted until 2001. The total death toll was estimated at 140,000, and 4 million people were displaced. The wars eventually lead to the creation of the independent nations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Slovenia.

Day 4 - Saturday 27th June, 1981

In the afternoon, the six visionaries were taken by the police to the police office in Čitluk and underwent their first police and medical interrogation. After a few hours they were released and managed to get a lift back to Medjugorje, rushing to the hill so as not to miss the fourth apparition.

During that encounter, Our Lady greeted them by saying, "Praised be Jesus!" Jakov asked her, "What do you expect of our Franciscans?" She replied, "Have them persevere in the faith and protect the faith of others." Jakov and Mirjana then asked Our Lady to leave a sign because "the people treat us as liars." She responded, "My angels, do not be afraid of injustice. It has always existed."

When the visionaries inquired about how they should pray, she said, "Continue to recite seven Our Fathers, seven Hail Marys, and Glory Bes, but also add the Creed. Goodbye, my angels. Go in the peace of God."

Ivan was late for that day's apparition due to his mother's fear of the authorities. Our Lady appeared to him separately, saying, "Be at peace and take courage."

Day 5 - Sunday 28th June, 1981

From the early hours of the morning, a large crowd began to gather on Apparition Hill. By the afternoon, an estimated 15,000 people were there. Father Jozo Zovko, the parish priest who had been away on retreat in the first few days, questioned the children in the parish office about everything they had seen and heard on the previous days.

During that evening's apparition on the hill, among the questions the children asked Our Lady were: "What do you wish?" Our Lady responded, "That people believe and persevere in the faith." They also inquired about her expectations from the priests, to which Our Lady replied, "That they remain strong in the faith and that they help you."

When the children asked why she didn't appear to everyone in church, she answered, "Blessed are they who believe without having seen." They asked if she would come back, and she assured them, "Yes, to the same place." When they inquired about her preference between prayer and singing, she replied, "Both, praying and singing." When they asked what she expected of the people, she responded, "That those who do not see believe as those who see."

Day 6 - Monday 29th June, 1981

The children were summoned to the police station in Čitluk for another interrogation. After this, they were crammed into an ambulance and taken to the local paediatrician for examination. From there, they were transported by ambulance to Mostar hospital.

At Mostar hospital, in an attempt to intimidate them into denying the truth of the apparitions, they were locked in the hospital morgue with dead bodies in various states of post-mortem and then the children were placed in a ward with mentally ill adults. However, the professional psychiatrist at the hospital refused to label them as mentally ill, stating, "It's the people who brought you here who must be insane. There's nothing wrong with you."

The children were released and got back to Medjugorje for the apparition where Our Lady urged them to hold strongly to their faith, stating, "The people should believe firmly and have no fear."

After this apparition a miraculous healing took place involving a child named Daniel Šetka. Daniel's parents had brought him to Medjugorje with a specific prayer for healing. Our Lady had made a promise that their prayers, fasting, and unwavering belief would lead to healing. True to Our Lady's word, over time the child experienced miraculous healing.

Day 7 - Tuesday 30th June, 1981

"In an attempt to interrupt the apparitions, two state social workers were assigned to take the six children away for the day, with the intention of returning them too late for the expected apparition.

Meanwhile, a large crowd had gathered once again on Apparition Hill. Despite being some kilometres away from the hill, and in the agent's car when the apparition was due, the children managed to convince the agents to stop the car, and they got out by the side of the road. The children observed a light emanating from Apparition Hill, moving towards them, and then Our Lady's apparition appeared to them at the side of the road.

Day 8 - Wednesday 1st July, 1981

From that day onwards, the communist authorities made the decision to impose a ban on both the children and the crowds from going to Apparition Hill. The Secret Security police held a meeting at Medjugorje School where they announced the ban to the villagers. Severe penalties were also announced for anyone who violated the ban.

Despite the ban, the apparitions continued to occur in different locations throughout Medjugorje including the parish church. If the children were not able to gather together, Our Lady would appear to each one of them individually, where they happened to be.