Our Lady of Victory
The Iconography
Since at least the 7th century the Virgin Mary has been credited or associated with the victories over opponents of Christianity or of Catholicism in particular. Originally the holiday celebrating the Catholic victory at Lepanto In 1571, Ottoman Navy was vanquished by the Holy League (comprising most of the Catholic Mediterranean states). was called the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Victory, though the name was soon changed to the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Quite a few Catholic institutions in the United States bear the name of Our Lady of Victory, as do Notre Dame des Victoires in Paris and a Discalced Carmelite church in Rome.

The vault of the latter features the fresco at right, in which a triumphant Virgin ascends into the heavens while vanquished Protestants fall headlong into the abyss. The reference is to the Imperial victory over Bohemian Protestant insurgents at Battle of White Mountain in 1620. The imperial forces' Carmelite chaplain attributed the victory to an image of the Nativity that he had worn around his neck during the battle. When the image was brought to this church for veneration, its name was changed from St. Paul's to Santa Maria della Vittoria, "Saint Mary of Victory."

Prepared in 2007 by Richard Stracke, Emeritus Professor of English, Augusta University


At Our Lady of Victory, Rome. (See the description page.)