Rediscovering the traditional ways of pilgrimage
Numerous pilgrims are rediscovering the traditional ways of making a pilgrimage and they come to Brezje on foot. A pilgrim sets off on a sacred path in endeavors and sacrifice to reach his destination and meet Mary, Mother of Hope and Consolation. A pilgrimage to Brezje is very important to the Slovenians and many continue to vow to reach Brezje on foot. But Mary Help of Christians has a place in the hearts of many other European nations, too – the Croats, Austrians, Italians and Hungarians. An important decision in any pilgrim’s life is to come to Brezje on foot.
Many groups conclude their pilgrimage here. Parish groups journeying on a pilgrimage have a unique opportunity to strengthen their ties, spiritually enrich each individual and the community.
»A PILGRIMAGE is an image of our life and pilgrimage shrines are IMAGES OF HEAVENLY JERUSALEM.« Pope John Paul II who visited Brezje on May 17th 1996.
The miracle of conversion
Numerous pilgrims share with us the outstanding happenings that have occured to them at Brezje or after praying to Mary Help of Christians. The first miraculous healings took place 50 years after establishing the pilgrimage and have continued with testimonies ever since. Every day the miracle of conversion takes place in Brezje’s confessionals, with many people seeking and receiving God’s peace into their hearts.
The procession of candles
As a sign of our gratitude and devotion to Mary Help of Christians we take part in a procession of candles on Saturdays after the Mass (from White Sunday to All Saints’ Day). We start an hour earlier by worshipping the Holiest and praying the Seraphic Rosary. Slovenian parishes coshape the evening procession. We carry the candles that are hand-made by a Carthusian monk, which creates a special connection.
The square in front of the Basilica continues into the Park of Peace with a statue of the Holy Family and the Holy Cross, and offers a beautiful view of the Julian Alps and its highest peak Triglav. The park occasionally hosts exhibitions while the whole place offers peace to contemplate the Creator’s wonderful works.
Behind the church there is a Nativity Museum, which is open daily, with the exception of Mondays. The museum’s collection was put together by dedicated individuals who belong to the Association of Nativity Lovers and continue this rich Slovenian heritage. 'God is coming to us!’ is the message of the Advent and Christmas, but none less beautiful and alive throughout the rest of the year. We invite you to take a look at the numerous representations of the Nativity sets and admire their beauty. There are also a number of votive tablets, whose images represent only a fraction of the entire spiritual and cultural heritage offered To Our Lady by generations of pilgrims.
The Monastery’s gallery hosts the Via Crucis by the painter Nikolaj Mašukov. The exhibition may serve as a prayer for all in need: for the ones who seek shelter, for all who are grateful and for those who are ignorant of showing their gratitude.
Cultural events and gatherings
A newly-refurbished auditorium above the Sacristy occasionally hosts a wide range of lectures, music performances and various gatherings. A detailed programme is regularly updated on our website www.marijapomagaj.net and in other media. The Monastery regularly hosts numerous groups – Bible group, Rosary prayer group, Catechumenal group, pre-marital and marital groups.
A warm welcome
We wish to give you a warm welcome and answer all your queries. Bearing this in mind, a Pilgrims’ Office has been opened. You can visit us daily from 7am to 8pm in summer time and to 7pm in winter time. We provide information about the Shrine; sell religious books and a range of souvenirs that will keep the memory of your pilgrimage alive. We welcome you to visit us.
Basilica’s opening hours
The Basilica of Mary Help of Christians is open all day for prayer and worship – from morning until the end of the evening Mass.
- Weekdays: 7am, 8.30am, 10am, 7pm (6pm)*
- Saturdays: 7am, 8.30am, 10am, 4pm, 7pm (6pm)*
- Sundays and religious holidays: 7am, 8.30am, 10am, 11.30am, 4pm, 7pm (6pm)*
(*) in winter time
In the Sacristy you can book a mass, talk to a Franciscan monk, ask for a confessor, arrange for a car blessing and more. The sacristy is open daily from 8am to 12am and from 2pm until the end of evening Mass.
- 1800 Parish priest from Mošnje, father Urban Ažbe, gives orders to enlarge the Church of St. Vitus with a small chapel in honour of Mary Help of Christians
- 1814 Painter Leopold Layer from Kranj paints the chapel and the image of Our Lady after a motif from Innsbruck, Austria
- 1863 After several miraculous healings, pilgrimage to Brezje becomes widely popular making the church too small to welcome all the pilgrims
- 1898 Newly-built Franciscan monastery is consecrated
- 1900 Present-day church is built and consecrated
- 1907 Bishop Anton Bonaventura Jeglič crowns the image of Mary Help of Christians
- 1935 Holy painting leaves Brezje for the first time – Our Lady travels to Ljubljana as a patroness of a Eucharistic Congress
- 1937 Architect Jože Plečnik designs the park in front of the church
- 1941 – 1947 The holy painting of Our Lady is kept safe during the war at Trsat (Croatia) and in Ljubljana cathedral
- 1988 Pope John Paul II raises the church to the status of a Minor Basilica
- 1996 Pope John Paul II visits the Shrine. The holy painting visits the parishes of the Gorenjska (Upper Carniola) and Dolenjska (Lower Carniola) regions and is the patroness at a joyous celebration of 1250 years of Christianity in Slovenia at the Stožice Hippodrome
- 2000 Slovenian Diocesan Conference declares the Basilica at Brezje a National Shrine of Our Lady
- 2007 Solemn celebration of the centenary of the crowning, and inauguration of the outdoor space for Holy Mass
- 2010 Mary Help of Christians travels to Slovenian Eucharistic Congress in Celje
Thank you, Mary Help of Christians
Mary Help of Christians, You reveal God’s kindness, You reflect the Light of Christ And welcome the Holy Spirit. You have chosen as your home This little piece of Slovenian land, So that through You God can show his endless love. We thank You for all graces Which You obtain for us from God, and we sing: THANK YOU, MARY HELP OF CHRISTIANS!
Tel.: + 386 (0)4 537 07 00
Fax.: + 386 (0)4 537 07 20
The National Shrine Mary Help of Christians at Brezje lies in the north-western part of Slovenia. The nearest town is Radovljica. The quickest way to reach Brezje is by motorway. When driving from Ljubljana, take the exit Brezje.
Individual GPS Northing (N) : 46,329 GPS Easting (E) : 14,2324