May 7th: Our Lady of Smolensk (4)

In the middle of the 15th century, the Catholic Church was in great turmoil. In the midst of an equally tense political situation and the rise of the Ottoman Empire, the Pope opened the Council of Florence. In 1439, the Council attempted to reunite the Western and Eastern Christian Churches, however, the Eastern Church eventually rejected this attempt and declared that the Eastern Orthodox Christians were the one true church. This caused a deeper separation between both Churches and even led to armed conflict. At the time, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania comprised territory which is now part of Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Latvia, Moldova, Romania and Russia, and most importantly for us, included the town of Smolensk. The Battle of Orsha occurred on September 8, 1514, pitting the Russian forces against a smaller force of Lithuanians and Poles. The result was the complete victory for the Catholic Polish and Lithuanian forces over the Russians. King Sigismund I of Poland attributed this victory to the Blessed Virgin’s intercession. 

Rejoice, O Miracle, much marveled of Angels.
Rejoice, O trauma, much fled by the demons.
Rejoice, you who ineffably gave birth to the Light.
Rejoice, you who revealed the mystery to none.
Rejoice, O knowledge superceding the wise.
Rejoice, You who enlightens the minds of the faithful.

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