Why did Our Lady ask for Russia to be consecrated?
When Our Lady appeared to the children in Fatima on 13th July 1917, she showed them a vision of hell. She told the children: “To save [the souls of poor sinners], God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” If this happened, she said, there would be peace and the First World War would end.
However, Our Lady warned that if people did not cease offending God, there would be a worse war, and that God would about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.
She then told them: “To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world …”
When did Our Lady request this?
On 13th June 1929, the oldest and only surviving Fatima seer, Lucia, was praying when Our Lady appeared to her again. She told Lucia: “The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. There are so many souls whom the justice of God condemns for sins committed against me, that I have come to ask for reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.”
So was Russia immediately consecrated?
No. In 1931, Our Lady appeared to Lucia again, complaining that “They have not chosen to heed my request … they will regret it and then will do it, but it will be too late. Russia will already have spread her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer.”
Were there any later attempts to consecrate Russia?
Yes. On 31st October 1942 Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a Portuguese language radio broadcast. He didn’t specifically mention Russia, which might have been politically imprudent at the time, but referred to “those peoples separated by error and discord”. Lucia later commented, however, that the consecration was not in accord with what Our Lady had asked for in as much as it lacked the participation of the Bishops representing the entire body of the Faithful.
Later, in 1960, Pope John XXIII attempted to make the consecration to the Immaculate Heart in the Sanctuary at Fatima, but it failed to meet Our Lady’s conditions because, although the Bishop of Leiria had written to all the bishops of the world, the Holy Father was not present himself, having sent a delegate.
In 1965 Pope Paul VI made an unexpected consecration at the last assembly of the Vatican II Council. Although the Bishops were present it did not fulfil the terms of Our Lady’s request because their participation was not solicited.
On 13th May 1982 Pope John Paul II made a consecration in Fatima when offering his would-be assassin’s bullet to the shrine, but as this, too, was without the participation of the Bishops, Sister Lucia said that it was invalid.
So was there ever a successful consecration?
Yes. On the feast of the Annunciation, March 25th 1984, in Rome, kneeling before the same statue of Our Lady of Fatima which is venerated in the Chapel of the Apparitions, Pope John Paul II renewed the Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, with substantially the same formula he used in Fatima on 13th May 1982. This 1984 consecration in Rome, made in union with bishops all over the world, corresponded exactly with the form of union that Our Lady had requested. Lucia confirmed that this consecration was successful.
What happened after the successful consecration of Russia?
Pope St John Paul II’s act of 25th March 1984, which fulfilled Our Lady’s request for the consecration of Russia, brought about the peaceful collapse of the Soviet Union, one of the world’s greatest military superpowers. As a result the countries of Eastern Europe that had been overrun by the Soviet Union after World War II, were delivered from the atheist persecution that had caused untold suffering to millions of people, and were free to join the European Union.
Prayer of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Consecrate yourself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with this prayer.
Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we consecrate ourselves, in an act of total entrustment to the Lord. By you we will be led to Christ. By him and with him we will be led to the Father. We will walk in the light of faith, and we will do everything so that the world may believe that Jesus Christ is the one sent by the Father. With him we wish to carry his love and salvation to the ends of the earth. Under the protection of your Immaculate Heart, we will be one people with Christ. We will be witnesses of his Resurrection. By him we will be led to the Father, for the glory of the most Holy Trinity, whom we adore, praise and bless for ever. Amen.
Here is the full text of the prayer that Pope Francis will use to consecrate Russia and Ukraine on the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord 2022:
O Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, in this time of trial we turn to you. As our Mother, you love us and know us: no concern of our hearts is hidden from you. Mother of mercy, how often we have experienced your watchful care and your peaceful presence! You never cease to guide us to Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Yet we have strayed from that path of peace. We have forgotten the lesson learned from the tragedies of the last century, the sacrifice of the millions who fell in two world wars. We have disregarded the commitments we made as a community of nations. We have betrayed peoples’ dreams of peace and the hopes of the young. We grew sick with greed, we thought only of our own nations and their interests, we grew indifferent and caught up in our selfish needs and concerns. We chose to ignore God, to be satisfied with our illusions, to grow arrogant and aggressive, to suppress innocent lives and to stockpile weapons. We stopped being our neighbour’s keepers and stewards of our common home. We have ravaged the garden of the earth with war and by our sins we have broken the heart of our heavenly Father, who desires us to be brothers and sisters. We grew indifferent to everyone and everything except ourselves. Now with shame we cry out: Forgive us, Lord!
Holy Mother, amid the misery of our sinfulness, amid our struggles and weaknesses, amid the mystery of iniquity that is evil and war, you remind us that God never abandons us, but continues to look upon us with love, ever ready to forgive us and raise us up to new life. He has given you to us and made your Immaculate Heart a refuge for the Church and for all humanity. By God’s gracious will, you are ever with us; even in the most troubled moments of our history, you are there to guide us with tender love.
We now turn to you and knock at the door of your heart. We are your beloved children. In every age you make yourself known to us, calling us to conversion. At this dark hour, help us and grant us your comfort. Say to us once more: “Am I not here, I who am your Mother?” You are able to untie the knots of our hearts and of our times. In you we place our trust. We are confident that, especially in moments of trial, you will not be deaf to our supplication and will come to our aid.
That is what you did at Cana in Galilee, when you interceded with Jesus and he worked the first of his signs. To preserve the joy of the wedding feast, you said to him: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3). Now, O Mother, repeat those words and that prayer, for in our own day we have run out of the wine of hope, joy has fled, fraternity has faded. We have forgotten our humanity and squandered the gift of peace. We opened our hearts to violence and destructiveness. How greatly we need your maternal help!
Therefore, O Mother, hear our prayer.
Star of the Sea, do not let us be shipwrecked in the tempest of war.
Ark of the New Covenant, inspire projects and paths of reconciliation.
Queen of Heaven, restore God’s peace to the world.
Eliminate hatred and the thirst for revenge, and teach us forgiveness.
Free us from war, protect our world from the menace of nuclear weapons.
Queen of the Rosary, make us realize our need to pray and to love.
Queen of the Human Family, show people the path of fraternity.
Queen of Peace, obtain peace for our world.
O Mother, may your sorrowful plea stir our hardened hearts. May the tears you shed for us make this valley parched by our hatred blossom anew. Amid the thunder of weapons, may your prayer turn our thoughts to peace. May your maternal touch soothe those who suffer and flee from the rain of bombs. May your motherly embrace comfort those forced to leave their homes and their native land. May your Sorrowful Heart move us to compassion and inspire us to open our doors and to care for our brothers and sisters who are injured and cast aside.
This blog (excluding the final question and prayer) is extracted from What Happened at Fatima? This book is an objective and comprehensive retelling following the history of the events at Fatima, adhering faithfully to the memoirs of the longest surviving seer, Sister Lucia.
The final question and prayer are extracted from Fatima: The Family and the Church. This summary of Our Lady’s message, updated to include the important development of the canonisation of Francisco and Jacinta by Pope Francis on 13th May 2017, explains why we need the message of Fatima more than ever.
To learn more about Fatima, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and how to live out Our Lady’s requests, shop our Fatima collection.