On July 13, 1917, during the third apparition of the Blessed Virgin to the little shepherds Francisco and Jacinta at Fatima, Our Lady spoke to them about Russia. She said that Russia would spread her errors throughout the world, but that in the end she would be converted and her Immaculate Heart would triumph. She added that she would return to ask for the Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart, which she did a few years later. In fact, on June 13, 1929, she appeared to Sister Lucia in Tuy and asked the Holy Father to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.
Saint John Paul II made that consecration on March 25, 1984, and since then, more than 20,000 churches have been built in Russia and about 70 percent of its inhabitants have been baptized. Although the consequences of atheistic communism are still enormous, and the percentage of practicing faithful is not high, the promoters of the sanctuary assure that Russia cannot be said to be an atheistic country but a religious nation, that is to say, one that favors the practice of religion. In this sense, "it can be stated that Russia has been converted, although not in fullness".
In order that the Russians themselves, especially Catholics, may give thanks to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for what has happened and to help the triumph of that Heart become full, there is this project to build a Fatima shrine in St. Petersburg.
The project has been authorized, after consultation with the Holy See, by Bishop Joseph Werth, Ordinary for Eastern Rite Catholics throughout Russia. The shrine has an ecumenical and universal vocation. There are many Orthodox brethren who hold the apparitions of Fatima in high esteem. For example, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's department for relations with other churches, recently visited Fatima, as did his predecessor Nikodim Rostov, who later died in the arms of John Paul I. The Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, blessed a copy of the icon of Fatima. The members of the Association are waiting for that "our Orthodox brothers and sisters join in this thanksgiving to the Mother of God of Fatima".
"The Orthodox confessions are not opposed to this project. Many Russians have great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima, who interceded for the conversion of Russia."Burgos, a priest of the Diocese of Valladolid who was transferred to Russia in 2002 to serve the Catholics of the Latin Rite, and for the past seven years, those of the Byzantine Rite, has been working in St. Petersburg. Cardinal Ricardo Blázquez, Archbishop of Valladolid, expressed his support for the project to Father Burgos.
Catholics of Byzantine rite
As is well known, within the Catholic Church there are 23 "....Churches in their own right".which are groupings of local Churches or dioceses of the same rite. In addition to the Latin Church, which is the largest, since almost 90 percent of Catholics belong to it, there are others, such as the Armenian, Coptic, Ukrainian, Syro-Malabar, Melkite, Maronite, etc., all of which are Catholic. The smallest of these Eastern Rite Catholic churches is the Byzantine Rite Russian Catholic Church.
The Shrine of the Mother of God of Fatima in Russia will serve at the same time as a temple for the Catholics of that rite, although it will obviously be open to all Catholics and it will be possible to celebrate the liturgy in all the rites of the Catholic Church.
On the other hand, the shrine will give the possibility to many believers from all over the world, lovers of Our Lady, especially under the invocation of Fatima, to be present in St. Petersburg to thank Our Lady for the change in Russia and to pray for the full triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The project of the sanctuary of Fatima
To build the shrine, the first step is to acquire land near the Oserki metro station, an area with lakes and forests within the city of St. Petersburg. Then, a wooden chapel and a wooden house will be built. The budget for this first step is 900,000 euros. "Then we will take the icon of Fatima there and we will be able to begin worship. In the meantime, we will continue to look for the rest of the funds to build the church, whose approximate cost will be about two and a half million euros, about the same as it costs to build a parish in Spain."Aleksander Burgos, the Association points out.
The sanctuary is designed according to the characteristics of Russian religious architecture. The blue domes are a sign of Mary's protection over the believers. The shape of the domes is not the typical Russian onion but half circles, which is how the temples were built in the period before the separation of the Orthodox and Catholic Churches.
Donations for the project can be sent to: Asociación Icono de Fátima, ES30 0182 4924 1202 0157 1249, BIC or SWIFT: BBVAESMMXXX, Paypal: email@example.com, and from mobile : www.fatimarus.com/dona. And if you need to receive a certificate for the tax deduction, you can send the donation to CARF, Caixabank, ES39 2100 1433 8602 0017 4788, concept: Project Icon of Fatima in Russia, and send the data to firstname.lastname@example.org.