Monte Grisa Temple
Monte Grisa Temple is an extraordinary building, imposing and unostentatious, dominating Trieste and its splendid gulf. In the form of a prism of myriad faces, it seems to spring from the bare Karstic rock and the deep green pines.
A harmony of proportions, an easy blend or a precise calculation, a counterpoint of volumes and spaces, of fullness and emptiness; to a sharp eye the Temple offers a series of ever changing aspects, of ever new and unexpected views, one moment a huge monolith, the next a delicate piece of lacework.
On 30 April 1945, the Archbishop of Trieste, Mons. Satin, made a vow for the city’s salvation: “[…] in the moment of perhaps the greatest tragedy in Trieste’s history, when all hope for the city’s salvation seems to be fading, I make this vow: if, with the Madonna’s protection, Trieste should be saved, I shall do everything in my power to have a church built in her honour”. Trieste was saved from ruin.
In 1948 the magazine "Settimana del Clero" published the proposal of Monsignor Strazzacappa that the Temple of Trieste should be created for the nation, as the Temple of All the Dioceses of Italy.
In 1959 Pope Giovanni XXIII decided that the Temple should be dedicated to Mary Mother and Queen, and, in the spirit of the new age, would be a symbol in imploration of union between peoples, particularly between East and West.
Between April and September of that year the "pilgrimage of wonders" took place, and was justly called "Italy’s greatest act of faith" in recognition of the numbers attending the Madonna’s passage through the regional capitals.
The first stone was laid on 19 September 1959. It was the wish of everyone that the new temple should have a Simulacrum of the Madonna of Fatima, a wish granted by the Bishop of Fatima, Monsignor Joao Pereira Venancio, who carried a copy by sea to Trieste.
On 17 June 1960 a great procession carried it, as if in an act of deification, from the maritime station to San Giusto.
A superb site was selected, overlooking the Gulf of Trieste and the city extending along its shores. The project progressed from a sketch by Monsignor Santin himself, showing two large white canopies crossing in an M for Mary, to bring peace and serenity.
Various plans were examined, the final selection falling in favour of the proposal of Professor Antonio Guacci.
On 1 May 1992 His Holiness Pope John Paul II visited the Temple and offered these beautiful lines to mark the occasion:
“Allarga, o Maria, il tuo cuore immacolato
e accogli le famiglie dei popoli
dell’Oriente e dell’Occidente,
del Sud e del Settentrione,
radunate in pace e concordia
nell’unico popolo di Dio”
“Open, O Mary, your immaculate heart
and welcome the families of the peoples
of the East and the West,
of the North and the South,,
assembled in peace and harmony
as God’s one people”
The Sanctuary of Monte Grisa stands in a splendid natural setting of extensive pine woodland, and is worth a visit if only for the magnificent views from its forecourt, extending over the vast stretch of sea between Aquileia, Miramare and Pirano, and, in one sweep of the eye, taking in the coastlines of Italy, Slovenia, and the Upper Adriatic part of Croatia.