Eastern Catholic View of Fatima?

I was just curious what the Eastern-Rite view was of the alleged apparitions of of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1917? Is it a common devotion?

Try this article for an analysis of Marian appartitions from one Orthodox view point.

The Marian Apparitions: Divine Intervention or Delusion?

As a general rule the Orthodox don’t believe in the apparitions. Their spirituality tends more towards the veneration of miraculous icons. In this article the author also points out things she sees as possible theological problems in the messages given to the visionaries by Mary and she argues that they do not square up with Orthodox teachings or theology.

I would suggest giving the article some time and reading it.



For Catholics (of the Roman Church and the various Eastern/Oriental Churches) the apparitions of Fatima fall under the category of “private revelation” and as such are not binding on anyone. One is free to believe in the Fatima apparitions or not. Most Eastern Catholics that I know simply don’t ever think of Fatima. When asked they might acknowledge Fatima as authentic, but after that they’d probably go their merry way without so much as another tip of the hat in the direction of Fatima. Personally it’s not an apparition that I promote.

I’m not convinced I was seeing an apparition there. It looked to be the same size as every other statue I’ve seen of Mary.


As a general Orthodox don’t believe much of anything particular to the West. But eastern apparitions are another matter; the Pokrov is of essentially universal belief in Orthodoxy.

If I may make a comment… I do not like how some people seem to be cavalier about this appearance of the Blessed Mother. We have so much evidence to its veracity, and I think it demands serious and sincere consideration. It’s been approved by the Church, and the Church, as I am constantly rediscovering, is very skeptical and prudent on these matters, so I think we should trust the Church regardless of the quantity and quality of evidence. It just so happens that, in this case, the evidence is vast. I may be completely in over my head since I don’t know really know much about the Orthodox Church, but I think an Orthodox Christian should think about this and come to earnest conclusion about it, whether that means conversion or some other decision.

The article is, obviously, informed by an Orthodox bias, but I did take note of the critique of the content of the messages: 1) Our Lady may be too center-stage and not letting Christ through 2) God is wrathful and Our Lady is, somehow, holding his justice back. I disagree with 1) but 2) did surprise me when I researched Fatima and Akita.

What do you think, Chad?

Yeah, I know all about Fatima and let me just say… no. I Don’t believe it, not even the slightest little bit. We aren’t terribly interested in what apparitions your Church approves anyway. I think you are in completely over your head as you suggested.

Before the fall of Communism, Our Lady of Fatima was quite popular among Eastern Catholics from Eastern Europe. I believe it still is among alot of the older folks, but some of the more ecumenical types now see it as an impediment to re-unification.

I am definitely not in over my head on Fatima, which is the topic of this thread. Why not believe it? The evidence is decisively clear - I mean, it is remarkable when you have not one, but many professional journalists on the scene, many of them ardent atheists and anti-clerical bigots, attesting to the same miracle everyone else saw. This cannot be explained away, and it’s for a similar reason why I am inclined to accept to Zeitoun. I just don’t know what basis you could possible have for not accepting Fatima.

Then I guess you’ll just have to be incredulous. You read the article from a few posts above, so then why can’t you imagine any reasons? You’ve already read them. :shrug:

Yes, but even the article admits that the evidence supports the supernatural reality of the events at Fatima, but it stops short of recognizing them as true personal revelations from God only because of an Orthodox bias. Some of the content of the messages from the Virgin, including the Hearts, are definitely at odds with Orthodox beliefs, but that was my point in my original post in this thread. Anyway, goodnight to you, I am off to bed!

Still is.

Chad. First off I always like to emphasize no Catholic is bound to believe in the approved Marian apparitions. But the Orthodox article to which you refer makes some fundamental errors. For instance, the Orthodox article must be dated. It keeps on going about The Third Secret of Fatima NOT being revealed, when it has already been revealed 10 years ago by the Pope at Fatima. It then conflates details of approved Marian apparitions with unapproved apparitions, as if Rome didn’t make a distinction.

Second, that whole idea of some Vatican shenanigans being behind the resurrection of Eastern Catholic Churches like the Ukrainian Catholic as the atheist Soviet regime crumbled is rubbish. The article mentions Hrushiv, Ukraine in 1987 and sees some dark hand of Rome. The fact that the Ukrainian Catholic Church came out of the catacombs (after the Stalinist liquidation of 1946) in the late 80s had nothing to do with the Vatican’s Secretary of State or strategic planning. It was an absolute surprise that after all the killings, imprisonments, and repression, the Ukrainian Catholic Church came back on its own spontaneously - millions of men, women, children, the old. Rome was more prepared to deal head to head with the then Kremlin-approved Orthodox Moscow than it was to figure out how the Ukrainian Catholic Church emerged from the catacombs. I remember in 1988 Cardinal Casaroli, the Vatican Secretary of State, traveling to Moscow to take part in the millennium of Christianity in Kyivan-Rus celebrations there when the regime was still obviously communist. I think the leaders of the underground (as it then was) Ukrainian Catholic Church got two minutes of time with the Secretary of State Casaroli. And remember, these people were risking their lives. In 1986,7,8, it was still not clear whether there would not be a Brezhnevite/Andropovite retrenchment of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev admitted as much.

The Venerable JP2 was another story and he marked the occasion of the Millennium of Christianity in Ukraine at the Vatican officially. But even then, as a student standing in St. Peter’s Square in 1988 with the Pope listening to the main speaker from our bishops speak on this solemn occasion, one heard a cautiously vetted speech by the Bishop from Detroit where there was no mention of the “Kremlin” or “Communism” or the absolutely precarious state of the millions of believers risking their lives and Kremlin repression by restarting the Ukrainian Catholic Church. The only mention of evil in the speech was when “Nero” was brought up and the bishop claiming Nero would be surprised we Christians were still here. O.K. but it should have been more direct for the occasion at hand, and the real danger the Ukrainian Catholic Church was in right then.

So that all these Orthodox articles that seem to conflate some sort of Vatican machinations behind the rise of Ukrainian Catholic Church are Way off the mark. The fact that the faithful rebuilt the Church says everything about their faith, and not so much about the support (or lack) of the Vatican’s State department in defending our Eastern Catholic Church. We cannot even be granted officially a “Patriarchate” because Rome is so worried what Moscow will say. Who cares? Father Taft said the same thing. Let the Pope defend the Eastern Catholic Churches.

I believe the said Orthodox article’s suspicion of some ulterior Vatican plan with respect to the Eastern Catholic Churches is just a reflection of the inability of some Orthodox to recognize that those people who were murdered, buthchered, and forced into the Russian Orthodox Church by Stalin, REALLY, do not want to be part of that Orthodox Church ever again. And to them the current Russian Orthodox Church/State symbiosis is too redolent of the Soviet era. It is the same MP (Moscow Patriarch) to them. There is no double-dealing. Don’t blame the Vatican. Blame the Church martyrs who refused to go down to Stalinist coercion.

In any event, the Orthodox article’s prognostication that in Ukraine, the biggest religious tension is between Eastern Catholics and Eastern Orthodox is Way off the mark. The biggest religious tension in Ukraine is intra-Orthodox, those Orthodox loyal to a Patriarch in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, and those loyal to the Russian Patriarch in Moscow. The article was wrong on that.

In any event, these are just some points, but my position, and I have read much, is that the Vatican’s teaching that belief in these private revelations is not required is correct.


So if we disapprove of Fatima it’s called a “bias”? Maybe you’re just biased against Orthodox discernment? :wink: Either way, your fellow Catholics are free to dismiss it as a load of rubbish as well according to your own Church so there’s really no point in arguing about it.

And just so as not to finish on a downer, pilgrimages are always welcome and surely rekindle one’s faith. To Lourdes, to Fatima, to Zarvanytsia in Ukraine.

This year over 80 thousand pilgrims from all Ukraine and from abroad took part in a pilgrimage to the Maria’s Spiritual Center in Zarvanytsia, which is in the Ternopil region. The pilgrims were joined by the heads of the Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Lviv regional state administrations and other representatives of political and civic organizations.

On the invitation of the UGCC (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church), Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, the president of the Italian Episcopal Conference and metropolitan of Genoa, and the Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine Ivan Yurkovych joined the pilgrimage to Zarvanytsya. The all-Ukrainain pilgrimage was traditionally led by the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church His Beatitude Lubomyr (Husar). Fourteen bishops, priests, monastics, and faithful of the UGCC took part in the pilgrimage.

This year the national pilgrimage to Zarvanytsya took place on July 17-18 and was devoted to the year of consecrated life. Underlining the importance of monastic vocation, the head of the UGCC expressed gratitude to the monastics for the prayer, fasting, and love with which they carry out their ministry: “you support Ukraine with prayer, your ministry sanctifies the church’s community and the Ukrainian nation, it is an invaluable contribution to building the spirituality of our nation," said His Beatitude Lubomyr.

On the first day of the pilgrimage Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco congratulated the pilgrims on behalf of the pope and bishops of Italy. The Hierarchal Divine Liturgy was led by the secretary of Synod of Bishops of UGCC Bishop Bohdan (Dzyurakh).

On Sunday bishops and priests walked from the Cathedral of the Mother of God of Zarvanytsya to the podium on the miraculous site. The head of the UGCC and President of Episcopal Conference of Italy address the faithful. The Hierarchal Divine Liturgy was headed by Bishop Vasil (Semenyuk), Eparch of Ternopil-Zboriv. Water was blessed at the completion of pilgrimage, and church hierarchies blessed the pilgrims.

Hierarchical Divine Liturgy.

Candlelight vigil.

They do help draw one closer to Christ I hope. :slight_smile:

The Vatican approved list, from my research:
1 Guadalupe, Mexico (1531)
2 Quito, Ecuador (1594)
**3 Siluva, Lithuania (1608) **
4 Laus, France (1664)
5 Rue du Bac, Paris, France (1830)
6 Rome, Italy (1842)
7 La Salette, France (1846)
8 Lourdes, France (1858)
9 Pontmain, France (1871)
10 Gietrzwald, Poland (1877)
11 Knock, Ireland (1879)
12 Naples, Italy (1884)
13 Castelpetroso, Italy (1888)
14 Fatima, Portugal (1917)
15 Beauraing, Belgium (1932)
16 Banneux, Belgium (1933)
17 Kibeho, Rwanda (1981)

I agree with you especially in regards to #2. Some of the quotes did seem to be at odds with the idea of God as being loving and merciful and others indicated that if it wasn’t for Mary, God would’ve destroyed the earth a long time ago.

Another thing pointed out in the article that kind of disturbed me was that several of the apparitions prophesied that certain events would occur, which never did. My thinking is that if these messages are truly from God then they would be 100% accurate and not just mostly right. Why did Mary say WWI would end in a few weeks, when it was actually months later? Why did Mary say Padre Pio would go to a particular apparition site and he never did?

Even if the Church approved apparitions are indeed authentic we would still be wise to heed the advice of St. John of the Cross and place our time and energies in studying Scripture and Sacred Tradition and growing spiritually from that rather than placing too much emphasis on visions.


I’m not sure of the date of its original publication but I noticed in the brief bibliography at the end of the article the latest book cited was from 1994. I noticed several of the errors you pointed out too and the writer did go out of her way to paint things as rosy as possible for the Orthodox side of things as opposed to the Catholic side. Also, she just takes for granted and assumes that things not in the Eastern Orthodox tradition are wrong. The best example is the comments she made concerning Mary as the Immaculate Conception. She basically concluded that she knew the apparition couldn’t be real because Mary referred to herself as the IC, when no good Orthodox would use that language. I’m sure as Catholics we might be inclined to do a similar thing, but also many of us realize that even if the Orthodox don’t call Mary the Immaculate Conception, that they at least have a concept of her very similar to that of the West.

I appreciate your views on the Ukraine Catholic/Orthodox tensions. I think it also fits in nicely with how many in the Ukraine are trying to remember their own history now that the Soviet Union fell apart. I remember not too long ago seeing an article about how Ukrainians remember their time during WWII. The gist was that many fought in the Red Army and are rightfully proud of their contribution in defeating Hitler, but there were also many that fought as partisans and guerillas that are proud of what they did to defeat Hitler and also trying to keep the Red Army out.


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