History of the holy place Litmanová

Zamagurie – a beautiful virgin nature, oases of silence, a place where the villages breathe the quietude – just as well as Litmanová, a village living its everyday routine from time out of mind. An ancient, rare tradition that was part of it, consisted in yearly migration of the whole village to „majdans“ (wooden chalets comprising of a family room, a hay loft and a room for the livestock) in July. Entire families with their children and the homestead swept to the mountains, meadows and pastures, where the Litmanová dwellers reaped and prepared the hay for the cattle for the winter. The hay thus became the most important font of livelihood as the hay was the bread, milk and meat at the same time. It was because in Litmanová, the bread had always had to be bought within living memory. So, for several weeks, everyone swapped their lives in the village for the time passed at their „majdans“ for that represented a place of survival in this poor land.

Such as the „majdans“ represented a hope for survival in the past, one of them became an important place of giving off the hope, and that was in the form of Marian revelations, during the 1990s. Virgin Mary was appearing to eleven-year-old Iveta Korčáková and thirteen-year-old Katarína Česelková on the mountain Zvir, approximately 3,5 km far from the village, at the 820 m of the altitude above sea level, in a small room of a wooden log hut – „majdan“ that belonged to the family of Vasiľ Korčák, during the period since the 5th of the August 1990 until the 8th of the August 1995. There was an eight-year-old Katarina´s brother Mikuláš present as well during the first two revelations but he could not see anything himself. Iveta was the main visionarist who could hear Virgin Mary´s words. Katarína could see the Virgin Mary but did not hear the words.

Katka Česelková

described the revelations as follows:

„On the 5th August 1990, Iveta´s Mother went to pick the bluberries. We wanted her to take us to the wood as well, so we joined her. We went to Zvir with Iveta and Mikuláš instead. The weather was nice. Iveta knew Zvir very well as she used to rake the hay here. She said it was a beautiful place and that we should often come here. She was telling us the fairy-tales, we were playing, making fuss about and dancing – even on the bench that the Virgin Mary would be sitting on. Afternoons, we used to relax. We made a fire and we chopped everything we had – bread, bacon and bratwurst to small pieces. We realized only at the fire that we were not able to put them on the stick. That was the reason why we did not roast it.

There was a lot of trees there at that time and we could hear something walking back and forth among them. We thought it might have been some animals. That was why we quenched the fire and ran inside the hut. But the steps started to walk around the „majdan“. The chalet was rather old, there were gaps between the timbers so we were looking out what was happening. There was nobody. We started to get worry. The noise would not stop. We planned what to do if someone would have entered. We could have standed on the table, or go up to the garret and defend ourselves with a big key to the „majdan“. Still, each time we arranged on where to hide, the faint noise started upwards, around us, everywhere. It was hopeless, we thought there was no way to escape. To flee to the village did not occur to us absolutely. We were afraid that there could have been some Poles there, and when we heard it everywhere around, I thought to go mad.

Then Mikuláš told to start to say the Lord´s prayer, the Guardian Angel Prayer. Iveta said then Golden Lord´s prayer and told: Mary, our Mother, hide us under your protectional mantle. It was for the first time it occured to her. She never ever had been praying in this way. Just then, a glare shined in the room. We thought it had been the sun. After some time the same glare shined again and then, we could see a beautiful young Lady in the center of the room…

No one said anything, neither Iveta, nor me. The Lady was standing in the center of the room, me and Iveta were talking about something else. When I looked at the young Lady again, she was sitting on the bench at the door. First, me and Iveta were thinking to have an hallucination, each of us for herself. Then I thought to ask Iveta whether she could have seen anything. She said yes, she said to see the Lady as well. So we described her to each other. Everything agreed which confirmed to us that both of us could have seen her. The Lady resembled the picture in the church.

Having her seen with the mantle and a Rosary, we were considering that she might have been a Virgin Mary, according to the iconostasis that depicts her with the mantle and rosary, too, especially as we asked her for help and successively we stopped to be worry. Then we were talking about our resolution to go to the church every week as we did not go to the church on the Sunday. She was just sitting and watching us. When the noise stopped, we were afraid no more and decided to go home. We continued to describe her to each other, where she could have been at that moment and how she was looking. There was a deep forest here at that time and everything looked different compared to nowadays. As we asked her to protect us, we went down and she followed us about two steps behind. I felt peace. And then, at the brook, she started to branch away from us. When we arrived down to the cross, Virgin Mary kneed at it and made a sign of the cross. We met two girls who were going to the village and who later told us that we were very pale. They asked what was the matter and we answered: nothing. Iveta saw her in front of her Uncle´s house and I saw here at our house, near a battled down stable-room. I didn´t say anything at home. But Mikuláš said everything. 

After the first revelation, I took a cross with me to the bed before going to sleep in the evening and said a prayer, asking the Virgin Mary to protect me all night long. I never used to say prayers before going to bed. We agreed to never go back to the mountaing again, whatever should happen. We told it to a priest – Father Ján Závacký at that time – and he said us not to tell anybody. Still, we had to describe to him what we had seen, each of us separately. We did not understand why we had to do it separately. He asked us to describe, as well as to draw the Virgin Mary, but how could we have drawn her?

We came back to the mountain only at the end of the August. We were with Iveta´s parents. They did not want to enter with us, they stayed outside. We closed ourselves in the cabin and said a prayer. One churchman had told to us to return there and if Virgin Mary wanted something on us, she certainly would have reappeared. And the Virgin Mary revealed herself again…“

The revelations

The revelations occured in this way: firstly, the girls said a prayer and then the Virgin Mary appeared as from the fog, she sat on the narrow bench near the wall. The girls got into trance during the revelation and did not perceive anything around. A Moravian clergyman who was allowed to be present in the room during the vision at the 8th of the September 1991, bore his personal testimony about this state.

„I was immediately close to the both of the kneeing girls, just near Iveta, I was kneeing at her right so I could have observed very well their behaviour during the revelation that took fourteen minutes. Both girls were looking directly at Virgin Mary, the expression of their faces was inert, serious, as it had been infused by spirit. I could have observed very clearly that Iveta had tears in her eyes at one point.“ One priest took a camera and he put it closely in front of Iveta´s eyes. The girl was without reaction. He repeated the act after a short while, but this time, he pushed the flash botton. Iveta still did not react, not even with a blink of an eye. After the revelation, he asked her if she was conscious of the two interposals – she answered no.

Both girls were subject to detailed medical check-up just after the revelation. Later, they had to tell their experience separately to the commission members who compared their witnesses, and Iveta announced Mary´s message.

During the period since the 5th August 1990 till the 24th February 1991, Virgin Mary was appearing to the girls several times a month, especially on the Sunday but also in the other days – since the 3rd March 1991, she used to appear always on the Sunday following the first Friday of that month. Thousands of people were present that time.

Mary Virgin supposedly blessed the water that she recommended to drink, approximately 100 m far from the hay-loft. According to the witnesses´ depositions, as well as the local clergyman Father Ján Závacký´s account, some miraculous recoveries took place, even recoveries from cancer and a brain tumour. The Episcopal Commission registered them as well. But the most recoveries that took place were of spiritual nature. The whole parish´s life changed. Many pilgrims from Czech Republic and Moravia came as well.

The local clergyman Father Ján Závacký did not believe the revelation at first. He prohibited the pilgrims to go to the mountain Zvir for three months. He asked the girls to beg Virgin Mary for a sign. And so Mary Virgin presented herself as the Immaculate Chastity on the 2nd of December 1990. In the summer 1992, a new churchman came to Litmanová, Father Jozef Vasiľ Kundrát OSBM. He was positive about the revelations. He was substituted by Father Štefan Polykarp Jacoš OSBM in 1993. It was him who founded Spiritual Treasury of Litmanová in 1994, where the believers could contribute with their prayers, fastings and sacrifice, as a sign of being at Virgin Mary´s disposal to help her scatter the grace among the people.

The Greek Catholic Church´s position is cautious and awaiting. The Bishop Mons. Ján Hirka appointed an eight-members commission composed of a Greek Catholic and a Roman Catholic priests and physicians. Father Vojtech Boháč, a general vicar of the Prešov eparchy is on its head. The other commission members are: Father ThDr. Miron Podhájecký, Father PhDr. Marián J. Potaš OSBM, prof. ThDr. Anton Harčár, Father Jozef Šoltýs, Father Peter Rusnák, Father Jozef Tóth. MUDr. Ladislav Kvasnička from Trenčín, a paediatric psychiatrist and a member of the episcopal investigative commission reviewed the mental condition of the visionarists. „At first, I talked with the visionarist´s mothers to detail. I examined the girls then. The conclusion of my exam was that the visionarists are really mentally lucid. I did not discover any sign of neither mental disease nor of any abnormality, for example showings of hysteria, as the hallucinations use to occur not only during such mental illnesses as a psychosis, but also during the hysteria. As to the revelation itself, I insist on decribing what I saw, even if it is not my authority to take any measure. When the girls started to say the first decade of the Rosary, they got into a strange condition that manifested by their sudden spring to attention. This could have been observed on their mimicry and eyes. Their eyes were fixed on one point. The pulsation was accelerated. One of the girls had the pulsation 130, the other one 123. The girl´s ecstasy took approximately eight minutes. The girls were tense, their hands were strongly clenched. I tried to outstretch their fingers. Without success, they seemed to be made of stone, especially Iveta, she was more tense than Katarína. Then I observed whether they would react to the painful impulse. Their eyes were open during the revelation. Usually, if one gets pinched by somebody, it is visible on his face that it aches. But they didn´t react absolutely, not even by a wink. Afterwards, I examined the pupil light reaction. The reaction was present, but slowed, that means it was lazy.

As to the girls´ intellect, according to my opinion, it is above the average, definitely it is not under the benchmark. Their reactions are very clever…

My report for the episcopal commission in Prešov concluded that I did not discover neither any mental disease signs nor personality manifestations that might be related to some abnormal condition during my examination. Both Iveta and Katarina are mentally lucid and their intellectual level is good.“

Revelations took place until the 6th May 1995, namely on the first Sunday each month. The God´s Mother promised to remain present during the last revelation.

The revelations are not contradictory to the learning of the Catholic Church.

The Church has not taken definitive position towards the authenticity or falseness of Virgin Mary´s revelation yet, still, this place is a place of prayer and Marian worship. At the present time, the whole decourse of revelations with the messages has been sent to evaluation of the revelations´ authenticity to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Vatican.