On Saturday, 7 October, somewhere between 100,000 and a million Poles (numbers vary between the sources) lined up along Poland’s borders with Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Russia, as well as the maritime Baltic border, to pray the rosary. They also prayed at the airports, in the army base in Afghanistan, at an Arctic research station, and many other places throughout the world, wherever the Polish is spoken and the “red and white” occasionally fluttres.
What’s the reason for the “Rosary to the Borders”? Depends who you listen to.
The head of the Catholic Episcopal Conference told a radio station that “the key objective of this manifestation is to pray for peace.” Krakow archbishop told another radio station that the purpose was to pray for “for the other European nations to make them understand it is necessary to return to Christian roots so that Europe would remain Europe.” The organisers of the events say that “the rosary is a powerful weapon against evil… which can change the course of history… and influence the fate of Poland, Europe, and the even the whole world” [TDC translation].
October 7 happens to be the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary, which was instituted by the Catholic Church to commemorate the victory by the Christian fleet over the Ottomans at Lepanto on 7 October 1571; a victory which the Church proclaimed was aided by the faithful throughout Europe praying the rosary for the Christendom’s holy warriors. As the organisers of the “Rosary to the Borders” say, the victory at Lepanto “stopped the Islamisation of Europe”, which is not strictly speaking true, though it was clearly one of the milestones in the historical struggle to contain and then eject the Turks from the south-east Europe.
The Twitter reaction, not surprisingly, was mixed, ranging from “the rosary [is being used] as a nunchucks against refugees, Europe and neighbours”
Różaniec jako nunczako przeciw uchodźcom, Europie, sąsiadom. Następna kampania to krzyżem po krzyżu innowierców?
— Jacek Jedut (@jedutjac) October 7, 2017
to “The rosary is controversial for the left, but Muslims blocking streets, asses-up in the air [in prayer], is OK”.
Różaniec dla lewaków jest kontrowersyjny ale wypięte tyłki muzułmanów blokujące ulice są OK.
— Grażyna Falkowska (@GraynaFalkowska) October 8, 2017
Happy Lepanto victory anniversary, everyone! Just another day in old good Poland.