Brezje, Slovenia: Mary Help of Christians Church and the Miraculous Icon of Our Lady
One of the most picturesque countries in all of Eastern Europe, Slovenia has a population of just over 2 million people and lies east of Italy and north of Croatia (formerly Yugoslavia, from which it gained its independence in 1991). It has a deep Catholic history and the majority of its population today remains Catholic. Almost every village has a church and you find countless roadside shrines throughout this country.
About Saint Mary Help of Christians:
Perhaps the most significant of these churches was built in Brezje in 1860, on top of ruins of an earlier church, and a painting was made of the Madonna and Child at that time. Beginning around 1865 there were reports of many healings that occurred when venerating the image and it became a popular place of pilgrimage.
The village is small, with only about 500 inhabitants, and is a wonderful destination.
An added advantage is that Slovenian prices are much less than some of the more developed nations in Europe, since the hordes of tourists have not yet descended upon this nation. That will certainly change as its popularity increases.
Traveling to Brezje:
The nearest major city is Ljubiana, which has frequent flights from many European cities. Brezje is accessible by car, as well as bus, from Ljublijana.
You can also take the train from Ljublijana to Globoko (about 1-hour travel time), which is just about one mile from the village.
Click here for the official website of the of Saint Mary Help of Christians in Brezje.
Click here for a brief history of the Church.
Photo courtesy Slovenia Tourism.