The appeal was made by Father Andrzej Draws, rector of the Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima in Krisovychi, western Ukraine.
He encouraged all shrines in honor of Our Lady of Fatima to unite in prayer for the conversion of Russia on March 13.
Ukraine and Russia, the two largest countries in Europe by area, are both predominantly Eastern Orthodox countries with deep traditions of Marian devotion.
Yaroslav the Wise, the grand prince of Kyiv, dedicated his lands to Mary in 1037 and she has been known since then as “Queen of Ukraine.” Pope Francis used the title in his Angelus address on March 6, saying: “Let us pray together, as brothers and sisters, to Our Lady, Queen of Ukraine.”
Before the revolutions of 1917 that overthrew the Russian Empire and led to the creation of the Soviet Union, Russia was colloquially known as the “house of Mary” because there were more shrines and churches dedicated to Our Lady than in any other country at the time.
During the Fatima apparitions in 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary revealed three secrets.
The second secret was a statement that World War I would end, and a prediction of another war that would start during the reign of Pius XI if people continued to offend God and Russia was not consecrated to Mary’s Immaculate Heart.
Sister Lucia, one of the three Fatima visionaries, recalled in her memoirs that Our Lady asked for “the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays” to prevent a second world war.
She said that Mary told her: “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 shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
In a letter written in 1989, Sister Lucia confirmed that Pope John Paul II satisfied Our Lady’s request for Russia’s consecration in 1984. Other authorities, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also have affirmed the consecration was completed to Sister Lucia’s satisfaction.