To talk about sacral tradition in Croatia is not easy, and to talk about the same in Dalmatia, is even harder…History, so rich of sacral monuments, stories, legends, remains and tradition, still strong, still alive.It is truly impossible to gather all in one post, so I will have to write and write…
Let’s begin with something I am most familiar with.
My earliest memories which about Hill Drid and Our Lady of Snow (Madonna of the Snow) church are related to long walking up hill. I remember my granny took my by the hand and drag me in ‘circles’ up that hill. I tought end will never come. But it did. And I was so happy I am part of that group, looking down on all those still walking.
Fresh water from the well, beautiful sightseeing, and happiness as way down is much easier than going up, placed a smile on my face.
Hill Drid, together with the remains of the castle and with the Church dedicated to Maddona of the Snow, or Mary of Drid, is a protected monument of urban-rural architecture and is also testimony that this location has been inhabited by the Illyrians, the Greeks and the Romans.
First church was built in VI century. During time, church has been elevated for 1 m, and extended, with original form which was kept. Original painting of Maddona di Drid (Madonna of the Snow) was transferred to Francisan monistery in year 1500, in fear of Osman Empire.
Each August 5th pilgrims walk to the hill top and attend masses that take place every hour starting 6 o’clock in the morning till 10 o’clock when main mass takes place , and on Easter Monday when it is field blessing.
Why Maddona of the Snow?
Well, legend says: “During the pontificate of Liberius, the Roman patrician John and his wife, who were without heirs, made a vow to donate their possessions to the Virgin Mary. They prayed that she might make known to them how they were to dispose of their property in her honour. On 5 August, at the height of the Roman summer, snow fell during the night on the summit of the Esquiline Hill. In obedience to a vision of the Virgin Mary which they had the same night, the couple built a basilica in honour of Mary on the very spot which was covered with snow. From the fact that no mention whatever is made of this alleged miracle until a few hundred years later, not even by Sixtus III in his eight-line dedicatory inscription … it would seem that the legend has no historical basis.”