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news 09 Aug 17

Montenegrin Resort to Exhibit St. Leopold’s Remains

The remains of the Montenegrin-born Catholic saint will be brought to the resort town of Herceg Novi for a few days, with the authorities hoping to attract thousands of pilgrims.

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
The relics of Leopold Mandic at St. Stephen's Parish Church in Ljubljana, Slovenia in April 2016. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Janezdrilc.

The authorities in the coastal town of Herceg Novi, in Montenegro’s Boka Bay, are preparing for an influx of pilgrims next month when they exhibit the remains of St. Leopold, the Catholic priest who was born in the town. 

The urn containing the remains of St. Leopold will arrive in Herceg Novi on September 15 and the town is expecting thousands of believers from around the region and Europe.

The urn will be put on display in the town's main park.

Milos Bigovic, the Herceg Novi mayor who also chairs the organising committee, said that the arrival of the remains of St. Leopold was a historic event. 

“Local government and all companies and institutions are fully committed to organising this event in the name of the great Catholic saint born in Herceg Novi,” Bigovic said.

Leopold Mandic was an ethnic Croat who was born in 1866 in Herceg Novi, which was in Austro-Hungary at the time, and died in 1942 in Padua, Italy.

Although he wanted to be a missionary in Eastern Europe, he spent almost all of his adult life in Italy.

He spent a year in Italian prison during World War I because he did not want to renounce his Croatian nationality. 

According to some Catholic scholars, he wanted to reunite the Catholic and Orthodox churches and was responsible for a prayer that prefigured contemporary ecumenism.

Pope Paul VI beatified Leopold in 1976 and he was canonised by Pope John Paul II during the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 1983. 

Much followed by Italian and Croatian Catholics, Leopold is known as the ‘Apostle of Unity’.

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