A recent post by Rod reports on a Catholic priest organizing prayers “imploring the intercession of our Lady of Lepanto for the safety of our armed forces.” For those of you unsure about how Mary acquired the title “Our Lady of Lepanto,” the story goes back to October 7, 1571, when Western Christian navies, under Admiral Don John of Austria, wiped out a huge Ottoman naval invasion force in the Battle of Lepanto, near Greece. The Christian forces were carrying a replica of the Guadeloupe painting, and praying the Rosary. Thousands of Christian galley slaves were freed from the Turks. The battle was one of the most important
in the West’s struggle to resist Islamic imperialism, and was the first major Turkish naval defeat. Volunteers from all over the West had joined to together to repel a catastrophic threat of invasion; the victory at Lepanto ended Turkish naval expansionism in the Mediterranean, although Turkish land forces remained quite vigorous in the Balkans and central Europe for much longer. Lepanto ranks with Marathon, Thermopylae, and Tours as among the greatest and most heroic Western battles against Eastern imperialism and despotism. Twelve thousand galley slaves were freed as a result.