Related Books

Svetogorska Kraljica, Nova Gorica, Slovenia

Commemorated on Third Sunday Pentecost
Svetogorska Kraljica, Nova Gorica, Slovenia
In the spring of 1539, a shepherd girl named Ursula Ferligoj brought her village a message she said Mary had given her on the 2200' mountain west of town. "Tell this community that they should build me a church here and come to ask for graces." Local officials responded by jailing the seer, but she escaped repeatedly. Pilgrims began visiting the mountain, now on the border of Italy and Slovenia but then under Austria, where they built a wooden chapel at the apparition site. Italian sculptors provided a statue modeled on Ursula's description. 
 In 1540 the provincial governor gave permission for a church. When digging the foundations, workers discovered a stone inscribed with the Hail Mary and other remains of a previous church on the site, probably destroyed in the Turkish invasion of 1470. 
In 1544 the Catholic patriarch of Aquileia donated the painting on the main altar (left), by Venetian artist Jacob Palma the Elder. It was canonically crowned Queen of the Holy Mountain in 1717, and in 1748 Pope Benedict XIV ordered that the coronation should be remembered annually in the Patriarchate of Aquileia on the third Sunday after Pentecost. Since then, local believers have called this Kronanca, Crowning Day.   
But in 1786, Emperor Joseph II had the church and monastery auctioned off, along with many others, in an effort to modernize his domains. In 1793, not long after taking power, his son Francis II agreed to the renovation of the sanctuary and return of the sacred image to the Holy Mountain. In 1907, Pope Pius X designated the church a Basilica Minor. Then in World War I, the friars fled with the painting to Italy; the shrine complex was reduced to rubble. In the 1920s, under Italian rule, it was rebuilt. The friars and the holy image returned. In 1943, after partisans imprisoned the friars, Italian clergy removed the painting for safekeeping. Used as a fort by German forces in 1944, the shrine itself remained unhurt. Clouds foiled an aerial attack planned for April 29, 1945. After the war, the friars and the painting returned, and then the area became part of Yugoslavia. Now under Slovenia, the Holy Mountain remained a pilgrimage destination despite periods of official disapproval. (Information from the shrine's website,, and other sources. Picture from "Srečanje vernikov koprske in goriške (nad)škofije na Sveti Gori," Katoliška Cerkev,




Additional information