Marija Zvijezda – Europe in Banja Luka, anniversary of 150 years of existence

In Banja Luka’s Trappist Abbey Marija Zvijezda, under the motto “Marija Zvijezda in Banja Luka, Europe in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, with a solemn program on June 21st started marking of 150 years of establishing of this fortress of prayer and work.


Program that was attended by all three religious’ communities, persons from the cultural and political life of BiH and Croatia, numerous priests, nuns and monks and pilgrims, started with a music performance of Sisters the Adorers of Christ’s blood who sang Alma Redemptoris Mater.

Then Msgr. Ivica Božinović, who led the program, announced the speakers who sent regards and short addressing.

Firstly, the host, bishop of Banja Luka Msgr. Franjo Komarica, addressed the gathered people and reminded of a part of the memoirs of the trappist monk from Banja Luka, father Franz Pfanner.

Then followed speech of the local son, archbishop of Vrhbosna cardinal Vinko Puljić, who sent his regard and congratulations for this anniversary.

Dom Armand Veilleux in the name of Cistercian and Trappist order also addressed the present, as well as the secretary of the Apostolic Nunciature in BiH, Msgr. Henryk Jagodzinski in the name of the nuncio Msgr. Luigi Pezzuto; Ivica Poljičak, envoy of Croatian minister of culture Nina Obuljen Koržinek; dr. Valentin Inzko, high representative in BiH and Igor Radojčić, mayor of city of Banja Luka.

Then followed music performance of Salva Regina, and then Msgr. Miljenko Aničić, director of Caritas of Banja Luka, spoke of history of life and work of this monastery.

After another musical performance, Ivica Poljičak officially opened an appropriate exhibition.

Then the concelebrated Mass celebration in the monastery church was led by archbishop Puljić, along with Bishop Franjo, his auxiliary bishop, Msgr. Marko Semren and more than 20 priests.

After the proclaimed Gospel, the Cardinal said an appropriate sermon.

The Holy Mass, in the full monastery church, was animated by harmonious singing by the Sisters the adorers of the Blood of Christ.

At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the gathered people went to the monastery cemetery behind the church where they prayed for all the deceased members of this Abbey, and a memorial plaque was revealed in their honour.

At the end of the first day of the jubilee celebration, a concert of spiritual music was held in the organization of HKD Napredak, during which performed: Vedrana Šimić, soprano and Mario Filipović, tenor, accompanied by organist Edmund Borić-Adler.

At the end, there was a banquet in the monastery courtyard.

The celebration of this significant jubilee for the Banja Luka trappist Abbey, as well as the entire Order, was attended by father Thamsanqa Paulos Njiyel (The Congregation of Missionaries of Mariannhill) from the Mariannhill Abbey in Pinetown, South Africa, that was established on the model of Marija Zvijezda, in 1882., by the servant of God father Franz Pfanner, who passed away there on May 24th, 1909. So the congregation, to which father Thamesanq belongs to, originates in the South African Trapist Abbey Mariannhill, which was approved in 1909. to be separated into a separate order. “Our community still feels and lives the alive spirit of father Pfanner, by following his moto Ora et labora. We are also guided by the Spirit that he was led by here in Marija Zvijezda. It is so fulfilling for me, because I can be here now, and I wanted it my whole life, because I've read a lot about this monastery. As soon as I walked through the gate of the monastery, I felt his spirit and work”, said the South African monk.