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The Origins of Our Lady of the Rocks

Updated on June 10, 2020
Kyenna Jensen profile image

Kyenna has her Bachelor of Arts in History and a love for everything ancient. Traveling the world is her true passion. 15 countries so far.

Our Lady of the Rocks Perast, Montenegro
Our Lady of the Rocks Perast, Montenegro | Source

Montenegro has a rich culture, ready to be shared with the world.

Though a very young country, Montenegro has a rich culture, ready to be shared with the world. One of the best-known legends of Montenegro surrounds "Our Lady of the Rocks," a little church built on a tiny human-made island in the Bay of Kotor.

Our Lady of the Rocks
Our Lady of the Rocks | Source

On July 22, 1452, Sailors from Perast were leaving the bay when they noticed something strange. A painting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus was placed on a rock jutting from the water in the middle of the bay. The sailors thought this was a very auspicious sign and took the painting back to Perast. They hung it in the local church. The next day, July 23, the sailors were leaving the bay, and again they spotted the painting on the same rock. After the pattern repeated a third time, the sailors and townspeople took it as a sign. They decided to build a church to display the painting at that very location.

The Famed Painting
The Famed Painting | Source

The people of Perast sunk old ships and tossed rocks around the original, slowly building an island throughout the centuries.

An island had to be made to build the church. The sailors kept an oath that after every successful voyage, they would add a rock. The people of Perast sunk old ships and tossed rocks around the original, slowly building an island throughout the centuries. Eventually, an island emerged from the sea, and the church was finally built in 1632.

Inside Our Lady of the Rocks
Inside Our Lady of the Rocks | Source


People of Montenegro are still throwing rocks into the sea to this day. Every year on the sunset of July 22, people of Montenegro celebrate fašinada. Residents take their boats in a long procession and toss rocks into the sea, continually widening the surface of the island.

The Beautiful Bay of Kotor
The Beautiful Bay of Kotor | Source

© 2020 Kyenna Jensen

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    • Kyenna Jensen profile imageAUTHOR

      Kyenna Jensen 

      13 months ago from Idaho

      Thank you so much! It was one of my favorite places to visit in Europe.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      13 months ago from UK

      This is a well-illustrated and interesting article.

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