The christian Byzantine Capital of Constantinople fell to the muslims in 1453. From there, Sultan Mehmed II pushed forward toward central Europe. On July 4th, the muslim siege of Belgrade Hungary began. A noble man, John Hunyadi began organizing resistance to the muslim invasion.
St. John Capistrano, a Franciscan Friar, at the age of 70, also preached a crusade to come to the defense of Catholic Europe. Mostly peasants heeded his call and joined him in the defense of Belgrade.
After some days of battle, the peasant crusaders left the Belgrade bastion to fight hand to hand with the muslims. St. John decided to follow them into battle. He is famous for his saying; “The Lord who made the beginning, will take care of the finish”. Chroniclers wrote that the muslims were “paralyzed by some inexplicable fear”
On July 22, 1456, the muslims retreated and Belgrade and Europe were saved. St. John Capistrano is also called “The Soldier Saint”.
To celebrate the victory at Belgrade, Pope Collixtus III asked for Catholic churches all over Europe to ring their bells at 12 noon. To this very day, this custom is still practiced in many parts of the world.
It was not until 75 years later did the muslims attacked again. This time, at the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, the muslims conquered Hungary. Three years later, 1529, they began their siege of Vienna.
It was not until 1683, at the Battle of Vienna, by the prayers of Catholics, by calling out the name of Mary and the courageous effort of King Jan III Sobieski, were the muslims finally defeated and Europe saved.
But the final defeat of the muslims in Europe did not take place until August 5th, 1716. Prince Eugene Savoy of Austria began attacking the muslims near Belgrade Hungary. On August 5th, he successfully won the muslim’s 150,000 men army. When the muslim Grand Vizier, Damat Ali was defeated, the Sultan in Constantinople ordered his execution.
This battle is called the Battle of Peterwardin Vojvodina at Belgrade Serbia. It took me a lot of research to finally find the details of this last, decisive defeat of the muslims in Europe.
In memory of this victory, a church called “St. Mary of the Snows” was constructed in Belgrade. In this church there are both Catholic and Orthodox altars. The reason for its name, is that it was on August 5th in Rome that Our Lady allowed snow to fall on the hill where she wanted Pope Liberius (352 – 366) to build a church in her honor. That Basilica is called, Our Lady of the Snow or best known as Mary Majors (Santa Maria Maggiore). Prince Eugene of Savoy knew that Our Lady had come to their help against the muslims again.
Before, Catholics used to know all the feast days and how to pray for victory on these days. Now most Catholics do not even know the feast days or how to ask special help from Jesus, or Mary or the saints on those special days.
God is working in Hungary again. After they were terribly massacred and oppressed under communism, they finally were given freedom again. In just 2011, July 22 (the anniversary of the Victory of Belgrade) was made a national memorial day.
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Their new constitution of 2012 (National Credo) protects humans from the moment of conception till natural death. It also protects marriage between a man and a woman. They reclaimed their christian heritage and history. King St. Stephen was again proclaimed the patron of Hungary.
We recognize the role of Christianity in preserving our nationhood.
We are proud of our forefathers who struggled for survival, freedom, and independence of our country. . . .
We are proud that our people have battled for centuries to protect Europe and have, with their talent and diligence, enriched her common values. . . .
We undertake to preserve and nurture our legacy, the Hungarian culture, our unique language, the man-made and natural treasures of the Carpathian-basin. . . .
We profess that the most important frameworks for our coexistence are the family and the nation. . . .
We respect the achievements of our historic constitution and the Holy Crown, which embodies the continuity of the Hungarian constitutional state and the unity of the nation.”
We are not in this world alone. God, Mary, the angels and saints are right here with us. Let us often turn to them in our needs, especially our need for the restoration of the Holy Roman Catholic Faith and Her Sacred Sacraments.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.