The Complexity of Establishing a Sacred Place and its Symbolic Meanings: the Religious Field of Medjugorje

Main Article Content



In the past, the understanding that a sacred place attracts visitors solely by virtue of its embedded sacredness and its related story of miracle has neglected the role played by religious authorities in the construction of the sacred place. This article focuses on Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia-Herzegovina), the most popular ‘active’ apparitional site in the world. Since the alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the 1980s, this site has attracted millions of curious and faithful followers. However, Medjugorje has not as yet been recognized as a sacred place by the Vatican. The devotional movement in Medjugorje has been described in terms of rivalry between the religious elites. Adopting Bourdieu's concept of 'religious field', this article examines the relations and stances of the religious elites and the role of lay actors in establishing this sacred place and its symbolic meanings.


Article Details