Historical documents mention Medjugorje for the first time in 1599. Present day parish of Međugorje is founded in 1892 and it is consecrated to St, James the Apostle, patron of pilgrims. Until June 24th 1981, the people of Međugorje lived as any other village of the surrounding area: they worked the land, cultivated tobacco and grapevine, they produced vine and vegetables in order to have enough for a modest life of their families, Due to the social circumstances, many of the parishioners emigrated either over the ocean and to the western European states or to the other towns and regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
On June 24th 1981, around 6 PM, six young people – Ivanka Ivanković, Mirjana Dragičević, Vicka Ivanković, Ivan Dragičević, Ivan Ivanković and Milka Pavlović witnessed a presence of a young woman with a baby in her hands on a hill called Crnica couple a hundred meters above the hamlet of Podbrdo. She invited them to come closer which they didn’t due to being surprised and scared.
On the next day, June 25th 1981, at the same time, four of them, Ivanka Ivanković, Mirjana Dragičević, Vicka Ivanković and Ivan Dragičević sensed a strong desire to go back to the place where the day before they saw a person that they identified as Our Lady. Marija Pavlović and Jakov Čolo joined them, so the group of visionaries of Međugorje was formed. They prayed and conversed with Our Lady. That is the reason why June 25th is celebrated as the Anniversary of the apparitions. Since that day, according to the testimonies of the visionaries, they had daily apparitions, in a group or individually, wherever they were. Milka Pavlović and Ivan Ivanković never again saw Our Lady
On the third day of the apparitions, June 26th 1981, Our Lady for the first time invites to peace with the following words: “Peace, peace, peace – and only peace. Peace must reign among God and man, and among men themselves!” Drawn by Our Lady’s apparitions and messages, people started gathering and praying, first the parishioners, then people from near areas and then the whole world.
The persecutions of the visionaries, their parents and relatives, parishioners and priests and even the first pilgrims by the communist government started soon after the first apparitions. Visionaries were submitted to the police interrogations and psychological examinations, but each time the determined diagnosis was that they are healthy. The same conclusion was established after the other examinations they were submitted to in the following years.