On October 7th, 1571, the fleet of the Holy League (a coalition of Catholic states) decisively defeated that of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto.
Knowing that the Christian forces were at a distinct disadvantage, in terms of the number of ships, Pope Pius V (r. 1566-72) called for Catholics throughout Europe to recite the rosary and pray for victory. The pope also led a rosary procession in Rome.
Following the successful outcome of the battle for the fleet of the Holy League, Pius V instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victory. In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII (r. 1572-85) changed the name to the Feast of the Holy Rosary. It is now known as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The papal fleet was commanded by Marcantonio Colonna, a Roman nobleman. The beautiful wooden ceiling of the church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli was created (1572-85) to mark the role he played in the victory.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private and
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