News Release on: 25th Anniversary Medjugorje - 25 June 2006

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News release for 25th anniversary of first Medjugorje visions – 25 June 2006

New book on Medjugorje, Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? (Theotokos Books), by Donal Anthony Foley, gives details of what really happened

25 years ago this weekend, on 24 June 1981 to be exact, on a rocky hillside called Podbrdo near a village in Yugoslavia, two teenage girls claimed they had seen the Blessed Virgin Mary while out walking. As the days went on, they were joined by four other young people, who also claimed to be able to see something. This was the beginning of the Medjugorje visions - which have continued unabated for the last 25 years for three of the six now-adult visionaries.

However, like so many aspects of the events at Medjugorje, what actually happened right at the beginning has been the subject of controversy. As can be seen in Understanding Medjugorje it turns out that the girls had actually gone to Podbrdo to smoke and listen to rock music, although this fact only came to light very slowly.

These facts are confirmed by Medjugorje promoters Fr Rene Laurentin (Laurentin, Medjugorje Testament, p. 81), and Wayne Weible. The latter tells us that on the first evening, “Ivanka and Mirjana, having finished evening chores, had slipped off to a secluded spot to listen to rock music while smoking cigarettes ...” (Weible, The Final Harvest, p. 11).

Another little-known fact about Medjugorje - but one which clearly emerges from the transcripts of the original tapes of interviews with the visionaries which were made during the first week - is that the visions were actually supposed to end three days after 30 June 1981, that is, on Friday 3 July.

This can be seen in Understanding Medjugorje, where part of the transcript of one of the tapes made by a Medjugorje supporter, Daria Klanac, is reproduced. (Aux Sources de Medjugorje, p. 184). This tape was of an interview conducted by Fr Jozo Zovko, the parish priest, on 30 June with five of the visionaries, including Jakov, the youngest, and two women who had been with them that afternoon. During this, after it had been confirmed that there were only to be another three visions, the following dialogue took place:

Fr Zovko: “Well! This interests me. Three more times. So, when do these visions finish?”

Mica [one of the women]: “They said: 'Immediately.' Later, they said: 'It finishes on Friday.' ”

Fr Zovko: “But where is it going to finish on Friday?”

Jakov: “In the church. [at Medjugorje]”

Mirjana: “If Gospa doesn't tell us, perhaps for the last day, she wishes that it may be on the hill!

From these examples, it is obvious that there is a lot more to the Medjugorje story than meets the eye. If you want to get the truth about Medjugorje then you need to read the new book by Donal Anthony Foley, entitled Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? which is published by Theotokos Books.

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Theotokos Books is a new Catholic publishing company which will be producing a number of books over the next couple of years, focusing in particular on Marian themes. There will also be books on subjects such as the Foyers of Charity and apparition discernment, and future plans include topics such as Biblical studies and creation/evolution.

For more details of Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? including extracts, please visit:

Foley previously authored Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World, which was described by noted English Dominican theologian, Fr Aidan Nichols, as “a book with an extraordinary message,” while Fr Peter Felner, F. I., spoke of it as being, “a very important contribution to our understanding and appreciation of private revelations,” before going on to say that, “not only scholars and believers, but also the general public will find this volume informative and inspirational.”

Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? has just been published by Theotokos Books, and is now available via the Internet, or can be ordered through regular "bricks and mortar" bookstores. It can also be ordered via:

Donal Anthony Foley has been researching Marian apparitions since the mid-1990s. He lives in Nottingham, England, has degrees in Humanities (BA) and Theology (BD), and his book on the subject – Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World – was published by Gracewing in 2002. He has written articles for a number of Catholic magazines, including the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, and also maintains a website at:

Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? is available through the Theotokos site, internet booksellers and by ordering direct from booksellers.

Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? is paperback-softcover, Demy Octavo size (8.5 in. x 5.5 in.), has 23 chapters, 310 pages, and a comprehensive index.

Price: £14.95 / $22.95 / €22.95 ISBN 0955074606

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