By Br. Alexis Bugnolo
President of Ordo Militaris Inc.
In 10 months and 1 year, Christendom will celebrate the 450th Anniversary of the Victory of Catholic Forces over the forces of the Ottoman Turks, at the Battle of Lepanto: one of the most stupendous military victories in all of Christian history, and perhaps the most significant for the preservation of Christianity in Europe.
This Anniversary is very significant for our contemporaries, because Europe once again is existentially threatened by invasion and must confront similar questions about its future, as the Catholic Europe of the 16th century did.
The Ottoman Empire is no more. It was not only defeated at Lepanto by inferior Christian naval forces armed from above by the power of Our Lady’s Rosary, but it collapsed out of its own weight of internal corruption, becoming a thing hateful to the Turkish people itself.
But the idea of demographically exterminating Christians by mass invasion has not died out. It is now the agenda of agencies not only in the Islamic world but in the political sphere of Socialists who run most of Western Europe.
October 7, 2021 will be a historic day
The Catholic Armada of 1571 was composed of 3 main groups: the Fleets of the Kingdom of Espana, under the leadership of Don Juan of Austria, which set sail from Barcelona; the Fleets of Pope St Pius V, under the command Marcantonio Colonna, which set sail from the Papal States, and the Fleet of the Doge of Venice, under the command of Sebastiano Venera, which set sail from Venice.
These Fleets joined together at Messina, in Sicily, and set sail from there to Lepanto and to victory.
It is only fitting, then, that the 450th anniversary be celebrated in a special way both at Messina and at Lepanto.
Messina is leading the way
Messina has never forgotten the battle of Lepanto. Indeed, each summer they celebrate the Disembarking of Don Juan of Austria, during his stay at Messina, prior to heading out to Lepanto. This is not only because Messina is a devout Catholic City, but also because Sicily — the Island upon which one of its three corners, it dominates the straits of Calabria — was long ruled by the Spanish. Indeed, on the streets of Messina you can see many a youth who looks like a spitting image of the man from La Mancha or any red blooded Conquistador. And, near the Cathedral, one can still see the historic statue of Don Juan, facing in the direction of Lepanto (see image above).
But the City of Messina is leading in another way, since the newly elected mayor has appointed Prof. Vinenzo Coruso, artistic director of the Associazione Aurora, which organizes the annual festival, as the City’s new Assesore del Turismo, to organize the festivities for 2021.
I had occasion to make a brief visit to his offices at Messina, on January, 2, 2020, and am very much encouraged by the strong desire Messina has to celebrate the 450th anniversary. I pledged the support of Ordo Militaris Inc, and I invite the support of all the Members of the Ordo Militaris Catholicus to his holy work.
As you may know, the Order raises funds to help persecuted Christians and is organized through Ordo Militaris Inc. to sell stock to organize for their military defense. The corporation sells a historical reproduction of the Ensign of Marcantonio Colonna, the flag which was raised at noon, on October 7, 1521 to signal the opening of hostilities against the Turkish Fleet.
To get an idea of how important Messina holds the remembrance of Lepanto, watch these 2 videos in Italian.
Here is a video of the Celebrations at Messina this past year:
Here is another video produced by the Associazione Aurora, in 2016:
If you would like to work with Ordo Militaris, Inc. to organize a trip to Messina or a Cruise to Lepanto from Messina in October 2021, please leave a message in the comments below and I will contact you.
(I think the best Cruise possible would be to recruit a dozen or so experts on the Battle of Lepanto and make the trip a sort of Academic Convention as well as Religious Commemoration in honor of the fallen and of all the Catholic seamen and soldiers who fought there.)