Fatima Has Wide Appeal in Russia, Says Aide

MADRID, Spain, FEB. 16, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Blessed Virgin’s role in helping Russia hasn’t gone unappreciated there, says a Catholic media official.

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The Fatima shrine, for instance, is a “very special place for Russia, for Catholics as well as Orthodox, who are convinced that Our Lady contributed to convert the Russian people,” said Victor Khroul, director of the Information Center of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Russia, in an interview with ZENIT.

Khroul said that “although I never knew Sister Lucia personally, I value very much her testimony and encouragement of the Russian people and we are very grateful to her as, thanks to her, many people have prayed for decades for the conversion of Russia.”

Sister Maria Lucia, the last surviving visionary of the 1917 Marian apparitions at Fatima, Portugal, died last Sunday at age 97.

Khroul, who is also editor of the Catholic weekly Svet Evangelia, said that when one speaks of “the conversion of Russia” one must understand that it means “the passing from non-belief to the Christian faith,” and must not be confused with being or not being Catholic.

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