Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Today is...

...the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. Initially it was called "Our Lady of Victory" which I like just as much, but Pope Paul VI changed it to its present name. (I'd like one of each, please.)

Pope (and Saint!) Pius V decreed this feast* in 1573, to thank God for the victory of the Holy League (basically Spain, Italy -- really Savoy, Venice and Genoa -- and the Papal States) over the Ottoman Empire's fleet at the Battle of Lepanto**. The victory over the Ottomans (Ottomen?) who had been intent (and successful until then) on expanding Islam via the sword, was credited to the praying of the Rosary, as the Pope and all of Rome prayed it assiduously.

Adm. Giovanni Andrea Doria, of the Genoese fleet, had a copy of the miraculous image of our Our Lady of Guadalupe (which he had gotten from King Philip II of Spain) aboard his ship.

Trivia factoids:

1- The Ottoman Empire lost not only 30,000 men, but also they lost 12,000 Christians which they had imprisoned as galley slaves and were freed following the victory by the Holy League.

2- Miguel de Cervantes lost the use of his arm in that battle. It was speculated -- most recently by Chesterton -- that the gallantry he witnessed (and exhibited) against spectacular odds was the seed for Don Quijote. (Why is it spelled with an "x" in English?)

3- Almost all the superpremium brands of sherry brandy are named after characters or other aspects of this battle. (Cdl. Mendoza, Lepanto and Duque de Alba, for example) They are really excellent and underrated, incidentally.



*Clement XI made this feast one of the universal Church's in 1716.
** Yeah, the first link is a bit...uh...polemic but it's still rather informative, though.


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