Two teenage Slovak girls told about 150, 000 pilgrims in an eastern Slovak village how the Virgin Mary appeared to them for the second time in three s ars, newspapers reported Monday.
The appearances took place over the weekend in Litmanova, 186 miles (300 km) northeast of Bratislava in the foothills of the Tatra Mountains.
'My dear children, thank you for coming...the spirit never refuses the favor of Your Lord who loves you madly,' 14-year-old Iveta Korcakova told the throng gathered at the foot of Mount Zvir, repeating the Virgin's message.
Pilgrims from all over Slovakia sat rapt at the girls' description of the Virgin Mary's golden robes and shiny crown, witnesses said.
The pilgrimage has become an annual event since Korcakova and her friend Katerina Ceselkova first reported seeing the Virgin Mary in 1990.
And weeks before this year's pilgrimage, the girls said the Virgin planned to make a return appearance.
But with many other similar cases around the world, the local church hierarchy has reacted skeptically to these sightings.
Catholic officials from nearby city of Presov sent a bishop's commission to Litmanova to assess the veracity of the girls' vision, church officials in Bratislava told United Press International, refusing to give further details.
But for many in this largely Catholic country, the girls' accounts of the vision was overwhelming.
'Some women even pretended they saw a vision as well,' said Maria Sisulakova, from the Slovensky Dennik newspaper which is close to the Christian Democratic Party. 'The nuns were excited and believed everything.'
According to the Slovak Statistics Office, 60 percent of the population is Roman Catholic and an additional 3 percent belong to the long-banned Greek Catholic, or Uniate, Church.