Blessed Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.
In the Fall of 1683, the Muslim Turks were poised to overrun Vienna. Demands were made to convert to Islam, pay the jizya, or die. After a two month siege in which the city was starved, its walls had finally been breached. The Calvinist leader of the Hungarian revolt had pledged allegiance to the Turks, and persuaded the Hungarian army to desist. The Austrian emperor fled, along with 60,000 Viennese. The treasure that awaited the invaders was vast. So the Grand Mustafa launched the final assault to take the city, by first celebrating with the execution of 30,000 Catholic prisoners. It was 11 September 1683, and it was for this reason this date was chosen in 2001.
The following day, King John Sobieski of Poland, leaving his own country totally undefended, entered the battle. Along with his Hussar cavalry, he lead additional forces from Germany, and was backed by the Habsburgs and the pope. Heavily outnumbered 75,000 Catholics to 150,000 Muslims, the Holy Name of Mary was invoked to aid in procuring a miracle.
Whole books have been written about this battle, so if you have interest, have at it. Spoiler alert, the decisive action was Sobieski himself leading 18,000 of his Hussars straight into the fight and routing the exhausted Muslim forces, in the largest cavalry charge in the history of warfare.
In the sky at that moment, a cloud obscured the crescent moon.
The strategic importance of the victory cannot be overstated. Had Vienna fallen to the Muslims, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. The Protestant Revolt had torn the fabric of Europe so badly at that point, there is no way it could have united itself to withstand a huge invading force operating with Vienna as a beach head.
In thanksgiving, Pope Innocent XI moved the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary from the Sunday after the Nativity of the BVM to the 12th of September, and ordered it’s celebration in the Universal Church.
Virgin Most Powerful, pray for us.