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The Medjugorje Seers, Money, and Vatican Commission's "Profound Unease" 

by Marco Corvaglia

"A relation, ambiguous in certain aspects, with money"

L'albergo Magnificat di Marija Pavlovic a Medjugorje

The mega building of the Magnificat hotel, opened by Marija Pavlović in 2012.

In 1991, the then "official" historian of Medjugorje and a great advocate of these apparitions, Father René Laurentin, speaking of the "spiritual risks" that the seers had to deal with, stated that Marija "had gone from the poorest family among all the visionaries to a condition of wealth that led her to a very different culture and to an easy and brilliant life" ["Eco di Medjugorje", No 84, July 1991, p. 6] and the twenty-six-year-old Ivan "has begun to like playboy clothing and has developed an exaggerated care for his own person" [ibid.].


In 2014, the (indulgent) pontifical commission of inquiry on Medjugorje admitted in its final report:


What the International Commission has been able to ascertain, in regard to the accusation of a possible seeking of profit, is that the witnesses of the supernatural sign originally addressed to them now effectively have a relation, ambiguous in certain aspects, with money (and with what in general can be called a preoccupation with their own “wellbeing”).
Final Report of the Pontifical International Commission of Inquiry on Medjugorje, in Saverio Gaeta, Dossier Medjugorje, San Paolo Edizioni, 2020, p. 81 and David Murgia, Rapporto su Medjugorje, Il Segno di Giona, 2020, p. 57]



In the acts of the commission we read:


CDF’s protocol [...] requires us to take  the "evident search for profit, strictly connected to the event" as a negative element.

In the case of the "seers" of Medjugorje it can certainly be said that this presents itself as the most critical aspect, which imparts a sense of profound unease.

[Appendix II - 22 February 2013 Proceedings - International Commission of Inquiry on Medjugorje, in David Murgia, Processo a Medjugorje, Rubbettino, 2021, p. 178]

The case of Marija Pavlović - Hotel or spirituality center? The amazing effects of not calling things by their name


Here is a report by Andrea Casadio (with whom I collaborated in the preliminary phase of his project) on the economic activities of the visionaries. It was aired in the program PiazzaPulita by the Italian televison LA7 on March 30, 2017 (for English subtitles, select the relevant function in the player bar):



Let's analyse the question, focusing on the case of Marija Pavlović.

Un foglio, incorniciato e appeso in un corridoio del Magnificat, racconta la storia dela struttura  su cui

Picture from PiazzaPulita (March 30, 2017).


The seer Marija Pavlović divides her time between the Italian town of Monza (where she officially resides with her husband, Paolo Lunetti) and Bijakovići, a village that is part of the Medjugorje parish.


In 2010, she founded, in Medjugorje, the Antares Association (reg. R-1003/10 of the Cantonal Ministry of Justice), with the aim of collecting, especially among the devotees from the North of Italy, funds for contributing to the construction of a so-called "spirituality center", named "Magnificat", on a land owned by her, in Bijakovići (for donations, also a bank account, titled “Antares Association”, was opened at Banca Prossima, agency of Milan, Paolo Ferrari Square, 10 [IBAN IT42Q0335901600100000015985]).


In reality, the "spirituality center" is a hotel with 54 rooms (double or triple accommodation and small apartments are available) and 120 beds, a conference room and a chapel.


Home Page del sito internet dell'albergo Magnificat di Marija Pavlović a Medjugorje



On November 30, 2011, Marija Pavlović, heard by the Pontifical Commission of Inquiry on Medjugorje, declared:


It irritates me to see shops selling religious articles in Medjugorje. I don't like them at all.

[30 November 2011 Proceedings - International Commission of Inquiry on Medjugorje, in David Murgia, Processo a Medjugorje, cit., p. 90]


The following footage, shot seven months earlier (to be precise, on April 16, 2011, at the Campagnola restaurant in Riva del Garda, Italy), immortalizes what is presented as a “charity dinner" to raise money from Medjugorje devotees to build the Magnificat Center:



The person who introduces the event, before calling upon Marija Pavlović to speak, says:


[0:35] It's a great feeling to be here tonight for this charity dinner: a convivial evening to raise funds for the building of a prayer center at Medjugorje. A prayer center born thanks to the inspiration of Marija herself. It’s a center that will host prayer groups, families, even individuals, who want to spend a week, a few days, a month, in the spirit, along with Our Lady. [1:10]

[2:24] At your place setting you'll find an envelope. We're giving the proceeds from the dinner to the charity, and then we'll have a drawing, a very generous drawing with a surprise first prize. Then, with the envelope, anyone who wishes can make another offering, voluntarily, from the heart, there's no obligation. If you'd like to make another offering for the center, you are free to do so. [2:53]


All these facts led the Diocese of Alessandria, in the person of the Bishop Msgr. Giuseppe Versaldi (now Cardinal), to issue, on 16 June 2011, a Clarification on Medjugorje by Msgr. Versaldi:


As also in the Diocese of Alessandria some faithful and faith groups are involved in the events that have happened in Medjugorje since 1981, and go on pilgrimages there and meet here to practice their devotion to Mary and since recently in these meetings there is an alleged seer [...] I [also] ask the priests to not allow, during celebrations within our churches, offerings to be given to private persons (even if they are alleged seers), intended for private works, in order to avoid exploitation and suspicion.
La Chiesa e Medjugorje. Precisazioni del Vescovo, "La voce alessandrina. Settimanale di informazione e opinione della Diocesi di Alessandria", No 23, 17 June 2011, p. 12]


The "Magnificat" was opened in May 2012 (address: Ulica Kraljice Mira, 106).


The Vatican correspondent of the Italian weekly magazine Panorama, Ignazio Ingrao, in his reportage from Medjugorje, writes:


Marija Pavlovic lives in Monza with her husband Paolo Lunetti and four sons, but in Medjugorje she opened the hotel Magnificat. Formally it is a "hospitality center", actually a four-star hotel with 54 elegantly furnished rooms, all with baths.
[Ignazio Ingrao, E se chiude Medjugorje?, "Panorama", year 53 No. 25, 24 June 2015, p. 90]

About Mirjana


According to what was reported at the end of July 2019 by the daily Slobodna Dalmacija, and later by other prominent Croatian media (such as 24 Sata, Index and Dnevnik), in the early 2000s the visionary of Medjugorje Mirjana Dragićević, together with her husband Marko Soldo, bought a villa with a pool, in front of the sea. The villa is in the municipality of Sućuraj, on the island of Hvar, in Blace street (Ulica Blace). The island is located 40 kilometers from Medjugorje.

La villa di Mirjana con vista sul mare a Sućuraj
Una seconda veduta della villa di Mirjana a Sućuraj
L'ingresso della Villa di Mirjana a Sućuraj
L'abuso edilizio realizzato davanti all'ingresso pedonale della villa di Mirjana a Sućuraj


The villa (in the photos), bears the sign Vila Veronika to the right of the main entrance (Veronika is also the name of Mirjana’s younger daughter, born on 19 April 1994), but it is rented to tourists, with the name Sućuraj 04, as a 4-star residence through the well-known website and via other agencies as well.


All this came to light - as reported by the daily newspapers - after serious building abuses were committed there. A portion of the marine cliff in correspondence of the lateral (pedestrian) entrance of the villa was cemented and then covered with stone tiles, and on this area were placed some umbrellas and deck chairs.

On the morning of July 30th, an article by Andrea Topić with several photos appeared in the online edition of Slobodna Dalmacija with the title While seeing Our Lady, the visionary of Medjugorje Mirjana cements the beach in front of her luxury villa in Hvar. We have witnessed a truly devastating miracle!
We can read there that "according to the land registers, the owners of the house and the land are Mirjana and Marko Soldo". The article then gives this additional information as well:


We also asked Split-Dalmatia County what they think about it and if they trust our photos. At the Department of Maritime Affairs and Tourism, they condemn the naturalistic destruction. From their words it can be concluded that the person who set up the deckchairs should have asked for an approval concession:
"It is not allowed to build in the maritime domain or to usurp it. The 2019 maritime management plan for the area of the municipality of Sućuraj includes 15 beach chairs and 15 umbrellas in the microlocality Bay of Blace. From the photo provided, we can see that it is not the same location.
Therefore, we can confirm that no concession has been granted."
[Andrea Topić, 
Dok gleda u Gospu, međugorska vidjelica Mirjana betonira plažu pred svojom luksuznom vilom na Hvaru; Posvjedočili smo pravom devastatorskom čudu!, Slobodna Dalmacija, 30 July 2019]


In the afternoon, on that same day, in an article by Denis Gaščić of 24 Sata, the most prominent Croatian online newspaper, having managed to contact Mirjana by telephone, reported:


"What house? What beach? What cementation? It is the first time I’m hearing about it. It is not true and I do not intend to go down to their level or make any comments." The visionary of Medjugorje Mirjana Dragićević Soldo cut the call short.
She didn't want to talk about the details. Yet the facts say the opposite.
[Denis Gaščić, 
'Kakva kuća? Koja plaža? Nije istina da sam išta betonirala', 24 Sata, 30 July 2019]


A few hours later, journalist Denis Mahmutović from 24 Sata confirmed:

Cadastral records clearly show that she and her husband Marko are the villa's owners.
[Denis Mahmutović, 
Kod vidjelice se zaista ima što za vidjeti: Plaža je čisti beton, 30 July 2019]



Immagine 2023-07-20 182018.jpg



Slobodna Dalmacija, in another article entitled The seer of Medjugorje rents to tourists her Hvar stunning luxury house! And there are also hotels in Medjugorje in her name…, wrote:

Mirjana Dragićević-Soldo, a seer of Medjugorje, bought a house in Sućuraj, Hvar - the local people recall - fifteen years ago. She rarely comes to the island, only when there is a hole in her agenda [...]. The building complex is rented to tourists.
[A. Topić, 
Međugorska vidjelica svoju luksuznu kuću na Hvaru iznajmljuje turistima, i to za cifru od koje 'boli glava'! A uz njezino se ime vežu i hoteli u Međugorju..., Slobodna Dalmacija, 30 July 2019]


The following day Slobodna Dalmacija provided additional information: "Mirjana and Marko Soldo [...] bought the property from Andre Kumarić, former president of the Chamber of Commerce and Handicrafts of Split [...]".
A statement by the mayor of the municipality of Sućuraj, Ivan Slavić, is also reported, confirming that the structure is owned by the "seer":

"Mirjana and Marko Soldo bought the villa more than 10 years ago and improved it, so now it's two-floor building with over 200 square meters and a pool. The house, as far as we know, is regularly rented and the prescribed taxes are paid."
[A Topić, 
Hvarski općinari konačno stigli pred vilu međugorske vidjelice: nju ondje nisu zatekli, ali su posvjedočili jednom drugom čudu na betoniranom sunčalištu...; Hoće li odgovarati i investitor i izvođač radova?, Slobodna Dalmacija, 31 luglio 2019]


Vladimir Matijanić, a journalist of Index, went to Medjugorje to get clarification on the matter. He arrived at Mirjana’s guesthouse, located in Bijakovići. This is his report:

We come up to the kitchen, and say who we are looking for and why. There are three women: they consult among themselves, call Mirjana’s husband and announce his arrival: "He’s coming".
A few moments later, they talk with him: he is no longer coming. He has no comment to make on the house in Hvar. [...]
... the family has two pensions: the one we visited, right next to the Apparition Hill, is officially owned by Svjetlana Dragičević - Dragičević is Mirjana's maiden name - and the other is not far away, at Vionica [a village that - like Bijakovići - is part of the parish of Medjugorje], where Mirjana's husband is from. As far as the locals know, both hotels are owned by Mirjana.
"Everyone here knows that the visionaries are very rich and that their sons drive expensive cars. The locals talk about it, but no one will say it publicly because everyone benefits from it," a local man explains.
[Vladimir Matijanić, 
Bili smo u Sućurju pa u Međugorju: Pronašli smo hotel vidjelice, njoj nema traga, Index, 31 July 2019]


Incidentally, the Svjetlana in question is Mirjana’s sister-in-law, the wife of her brother, Miro (Miroslav).


The two 24 Sata journalists, Denis Gaščić and Denis Mahmutović added, about Mirjana's daughter, Veronika:


Our colleagues who studied social service sciences with her at the University of Mostar told us that she used to go to class in a beautiful Range Rover.
[D. Gaščić, D. Mahmutović, 
'Vidjelica ima i pansion odmah tu uz kuću. Ali pustite ženu...', 24 Sata, 31 July 2019]

Probably, it’s the same Range Rover that can be seen parked in Mirjana's garage in a television report (by Alessandra Borgia) about the Medjugorje houses and guesthouses of the visionaries Ivan and Mirjana, taken from the program Dritto e rovescio, broadcasted on the Italian TV Rete 4 on 20 June 2019:



About Ivan


In September 2009 the Italian website L'Abateo Impertinente issued a report, with a 97-page documental dossier, on real estate transactions made in the USA by the Medjugorje seer Ivan Dragičević.


I chose to insert the link to this report, of course, only after verifying its reliability and validity: whoever would make their own verification, can use the various services in the United States that give, on payment, complete data on the real estate transactions of every citizen.



Here is a useful link to the Whitepages service:

Il nome di Ivan Dragicevic nelle White Pages



Ivan is married since 1994 with an American woman, Laureen Murphy, has four children (Kristina, Michaela, Daniel and Matthew) and lives from May to September in Medjugorje and the rest of the year in the United States.



In brief, what follows can be proved by documents and verified: at first he contracted, on May 15, 2002, a mortgage loan for which he promised to pay $60,678 a year for 14 years, and then sold this residence for a new one in May 2004: 5,056 Sq. Ft. (land size: 13,844 Sq. Ft.) with a big swimming pool.
This building is located at 5 Emily Ln Peabody, Massachusetts.


In this case, the loan of $800,000 was to be repaid in 6 months (it was in fact paid off in a year).

Here 's the original report (in Italian), from the website L'Abateo Impertinente, and here is an automated translation.



Besides, here can be read the interesting developments and backlash of this report: in Italian, again from the website L'Abateo Impertinente, and in an automated translation (in essence, less than a month after the publication of the inquiry in question, the Dragičević family has freed itself of all direct and personal management of the "travel and stay" package called Prayer Experience, and has fully delegated its management to the travel agency 206 Tours).


According to an estimate from the American real estate agency Redfin, the villa in question is worth around $1,200,000.00 today.

Foto della villa di Ivan, con stima del valore secondo l'agenzia immobiliare Redfin



The same real estate agency attests that public records show that the residence is subject to a property tax of over $8,000.00 a year (8,310 in 2021).

Dati dell'imposta di proprietà gravante sulla villa di Ivan, anno per anno


The Tax Inspectors and Marija Pavlović

Let's watch this clip again from March 2017, when investigative journalist Andrea Casadio (see part 1 of the article) checks out from Marija Pavlović’s "Magnificat" and pays the bill, filming everything with his hidden camera (for English subtitles, select the relevant function in the player bar):




In his 2014 doctoral thesis entitled Fenomen Međugorje kao svjetski brend i top destinacija vjerskog turizma ("The phenomenon of Medjugorje as a global brand and a top destination for religious tourism"), Croatian researcher Vencel Čuljak calculated that in the period from 1981 to 2013 the majority of dealers and hoteliers in Medjugorje were infringing the law, not issuing receipts (fiskalni računi):

32% of total revenue was obtained legally and 68% illegally.

[Vencel Čuljak: Međugorju se ne piše dobro, an interview with Vencel Čuljak published on August 16, 2014 by website]

On top of this tax evasion, there is the problem of the informal economy: jobs paid under the table, evading payroll taxes and social insurance contributions:


In Medjugorje, there are currently 18,500 beds, 4,600 residents and 1,500 employees, 58% of whom are uninsured or are working illegally.


An even more severe assessment came from an industry expert, Zdenka Krezić, the director of a hotel that apparently works honestly, the "Medjugorje Hotel & Spa". Interviewed by the journalist Renato Pugina for the program Falò, broadcast on March 31, 2016 on RSI (Italian Swiss television), the manager estimated that 90% of Medjugorje hoteliers employ workers illegally (select: Settings > Subtitles > English):



The June 25, 2013 issue of the Bosnia-Herzegovina newspaper Večernji list reported about an inspection carried out in various Medjugorje hotels, including Marija Pavlović’s "Magnificat".

Copertina di Večernji list, 25 giugno 2013

The front page of the newspaper Večernji list on 25 June 2013. In the picture, Marija Pavlović is talking with federal inspectors.

Večernji list, 25 giugno 2013



Here is the translation:


Just a day before the 32nd anniversary of the apparitions in Medjugorje, where tens of thousands of pilgrims were pouring in from around the world, the inspectors of federal and state security agencies raided several magnificent buildings, including one owned by one of the visionaries, Marija Pavlović-Lunetti. This caused quite a surprise, and many people complained openly."We had to choose these days, when the stream of pilgrims is high, so that now we can see in the best way who does what and how they work. We are just doing our job. We've already been here in the past and we found a number of irregularities related to the way of working. The law has to be respected", the inspectors responded, to those who complained that they had chosen precisely the days of the most important celebration in Medjugorje. [...]

[R. Soldo, Na dane proslave. Inspektori FBiH upali na imanje vidjelice Marije Pavlović, "Večernji list", 25 June 2013, pp. 4-5]

Within the same article there is a box specifically dedicated to Marija Pavlović (MARIJIN SUPRUG: "Imam sve dokumente potrebne za valjan život i rad u Međugorju" [THE HUSBAND OF MARIJA: "I have all the documents needed to live and work in Medjugorje"]):

They [her guests], she says, "are mostly our friends from around the world, especially from Italy, where we have a building like this to house pilgrims. There there are fewer problems with papers and legal issues, and everything is in perfect order. We are trying to create here a space for spiritual renewal, for which, believe me, there is great interest. So some volunteers help us, and in return they study Italian here", the famous seer Marija Pavlović–Lunetti said. Inspectors asked her husband, an Italian, whether he has a residence permit, apparently knowing already through unofficial channels that it had expired and that he has been staying illegally in Bosnia-Herzegovina; he said that he has got everything necessary to live in Medjugorje.

[Ibid, p. 5, emphasis added. Original text: To su mahom naši prijatelji iz čitavog svijeta, osobito iz Italije, gdje imamo sličan objekt za smještaj hodočasnika. Tamo je manja komplikacija oko papira i zakonskih nejasnoća i sve štima u najboljem redu. Radimo na tome da ovdje stvorimo prostor za duhovnu obnovu, za čime, vjerujte, postoji veliko zanimanje. Zbog toga nam i pomažu volonteri, koji zauzvrat ovdje uče talijanski jezik" – objašnjavala poznata vidjelica Marija Pavlović – Lunetti, čijega su supruga, inače Talijana, inspektori pitali ima li uopće boravišnu dozvolu, očito baratajući s neslužbenom informacijom da mu je istekla te da ilegalno boravi u Bosni i Hercegovini, a na što im je on odgovorio da ima sve potrebno za život u Međugorju.]

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Marco Corvaglia

Article published on 7 July 2011. Last update: 2 January 2022

Thanks to Richard Chonak for linguistically revising videos' subtitles and paragraph 5.


You might also be interested in: Are the Medjugorje Secrets Apocalyptic and Always Imminent?


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