1 Jul 2018
Gospa od Skrpjela (Our Lady of the Rocks) Bay of Kotor, Montenegro (UNESCO)
The church of Our Lady of the Rocks is located on a small, artificial islet off the Perast coast, in the Bay of Kotor.
According to legend, 2 fishermen found a picture of the Madonna with Child on the rock in the bay on July 22, 1452. One of them was crippled. At the risk of his life he grabbed the icon and carried it home. The next morning, he miraculously could walk again. He ran to the room where he had put the icon to give his thanks, but it was gone. So he had no proof to show the priests, that the icon had healed him. Months later he found that same icon on the very same spot again, waiting for him on the rock in the bay. This time he took it and ran straight to the priests in Perast to show them. With such a micracle happening in their small town, it was decided that a shrine had to be built on the rock. But how to do that on just a small slab of stone? So the fishermen took all their discarded old a boats charged them with big stones from the surrounding land and sank them all around the rock. Thus, the islet grew and rose out of the water so that the shrine could be built. The sanctuary was dedicated to the Madonna with Child who was honoured henceforth as portector of the fishermen and sailors. An oath was sworn, that every seaman would add a stone to this islet whenever they returned from a successful voyage.
The original chapel was plundered by pirates and in 1630 replaced by Venetian settlers.
The islet and church is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Natural and Culturo-Historical Region of Kotor.
I sent the card home for my collection from our cruise to the Eastern Mediterranean.