Ludbreg is a small town of Croatia (3500 inhabitants), situated between Varazdin and Koprivnica. The place is very old, and had been mentioned as early as in Roman period as military camp named Castrum Iovia. Hence the legend that Ludbreg be the very center of the world (Centrum mundi), because a number of European capitals can be found at the same distance from Ludbreg (e. g. Budapest and Vienna are both situated 225 km away from Ludbreg). This fact has been marked on the main square of the town. In 381 in this region there was probably a Christian diocese, for historical sources mention a certain bishop Amantius. After the Croats had immigrated and been christianized, a Christian communion was founded immediately. The first listing of parishes of Diocese of Zagreb (1334) makes mention of parish and church of the Holy Trinity in Ludbreg. The present parish church was built in 1410 on the bases of ancient Roman basilica. A year later a eucharistic miracle took place: a priest whose name has been remained unknown for us, while celebrating holy Mass in the chapel of Holy Cross (in the palace of the Batthyanys), doubted whether it was true that bread and wine through the consecration became flesh and blood of Christ. At the moment, real human blood sprang from the chalice. The priest was astonished, and he hid the relic of the Most Precious Blood of Christ with the assistance of a bricklayer. But as he laid on his deathbed, he could no more keep the secret, so he revealed the hiding-place. The believers instantly started to worship the relic and to take vows. The miracles that occurred on behalf of devotion to the holy Blood of Jesus have been written down into so-called Liber miraculorum (The Book of Miracles).
In the meantime, John Sech, a Hungarian nobleman from Lenti, saw to send the relic together with the written testimonies to the Holy Father in Rome. In 1513 pope Leo the Tenth proclaimed a bull to confirm officially the authenticity of the relic and to allow its worship. In the time of baroque, the parish church was thoroughly overhauled and expanded. In 1779 the walls were risen around the church as a defense against Turkish assaults. In 1721, countess Eleonora Strattman donated very valuable reliquary made of gold and adorned with jewels, in which the relic has been kept up to the present day.
In the eighteenth century, plague broke out in Croatian region of Moslavina. For that reason, Croatian Parliament made a vow in 1739 that if God should stop the pestilence, a church of Christ ‘s Tomb of Jerusalem would be risen at the place where the greatest treasure of Croatian Kingdom was stored, namely precisely in Ludbreg.
It required a long wait for the fulfilment of the vow. After a number of unsuccessful attempts, before the Second World War, the archbishop of Zagreb, beatified Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, gathered the money for construction. But at the time the municipal authorities were not willing to issue the building site; besides, the increasing poverty caused by the ware made the archbishop decide to build rather Charity Home next to the parish house. This was nationalized after the war, but a few years ago it was returned to the Church, and today it serves its original purpose. After the democratic election of 1990, it was made possible in 1993 to start the construction. This was an indispensable need, because the parish church was far to small to receive the increasing number of the pilgrims.
After many difficulties and countless sacrifices, the chapel was finally finished in 1994. The archbishop of Zagreb of the time, Cardinal Franjo Kuharić, decided not to consecrate the chapel only to the passion or tomb of Christ, but to point out his resurrection as well. As a result, one can now see there Christ the crucified surrounded by angels who collect his most Precious Blood into chalices; beneath the altar there is sculpture of Christ lying in tomb; and finally, above the chapel we have large mosaic of Christ’s resurrection. The place of pilgrimage is surrounded by fourteen stations of the Way of Cross, of which each has the form of little chapel, with two confessionals.
The main annual pilgrimage takes place on the first Sunday of September, so called »Holy Sunday«. and on the previous “Holy Saturday”. For this occasion there gather pilgrims from all over Croatia, in addition from Hungary, Slovenia, Germany and a number of English speaking people. The access is possible by train, from Varaždin or from Zagreb via Koprivnica; by car from Varazdin, or from Zagreb on motorway, taking the first exit after Varazdin. The relic of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus represents for all of us permanent reminder to reinforce our faith that He is with us always, to the end of the age, precisely through holy Eucharist. Let us never forget that, according to the word of Holy Scripture, we were ransomed not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. This was the price paid for us by the Son of God. Blessed be Holy Blood of Christ for ever and ever!
God bless you until the next encounter in our Sanctuary!
Source : www.svetiste-ludbreg.hr