Chapel of the Apparitions
Except some minor changes, the Chapel of the Apparitions preserves today the same traits as its original construction in 1919, two years after the request of Our Lady made during her sixth apparitions in Fatima, October 13th, 1917.
Radically different is the surrounding area, namely the porch, specially built for the first visit of Pope John Paul II, in May 1982.
Our Lady referred for the first time to the small chapel in her fourth apparition, on August 19th, 1917, when She said that part of the money left in Cova da Iria is to help in its construction.
Two months later, in October, She made her request clear: «I want to tell you that a chapel is to be built here in my honor. I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day»
The small chapel was built in the spot of the apparitions between April 28th and June 15th, 1919, and the first mass was celebrated there on October 13th, 1921.
It is, since then, the heart of the Shrine.
On the night of March 5th, 1922, the Chapel was the object of an attack with explosives that destroyed it partially; its reconstruction started right after until January 13th, 1923, day of its inauguration.
The new works included the construction of a porch, concluded in October 1924.
Forty-years after, in 1964, the plaques of ex-votos that covered the walls were removed, but the biggest change was made in 1982 with the construction of a much bigger covering.
Constructed in time for the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1982, the new porch has given more visibility to the Chapel and more conditions for the different celebrations, Eucharistic and other, and above all has allowed to welcome more pilgrims who gathered there to pray next to the statue of Our Lady.
An important change was the displacement of the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima to a pedestal collocated outside the chapel, in the exact place where the holmoak tree was and above which Our Lady appeared to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco five times in 1917.
The devotion of the pilgrims made the holmoak tree disappeared, branch after branch.
The statue is protected by a bulletproof box glass.
The last intervention in the Chapel dated 1988, Marian Year, when it was used pinewood from the northern of Siberia, Russia, to line the ceiling of the covering of the chapel.
The fourth Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima occurred in a different date and place from the other five: it was on August 19th in a place called Valinhos, about 3 kilometres from Cova da Iria and a few meters away from Lucia´s house.
The difference has to do with the fact that the local administrator, wishing to know the content of the secret that the Shepherds received and to avoid their presence in the place of the apparitions, took the three children to his house, keeping them there from the 13th to the 15th.
Returning home, Francisco and Lucia, along with João, brother of Francisco and Jacinta, went to tend the flock on the 19th in a property called Valinhos. Feeling something supernatural and suspecting that Our Lady would appear, they asked João to go and call Jacinta, in order for her to be there. As Jacinta arrived, they saw once more Our Lady, who appeared to them over a holmoak, a tree which later disappeared (as the holmoak in Cova da Iria), taken piece by piece by the faithful.
The place of the Apparition, in which Our Lady expresses for the first time the wish to have a chapel built, is marked by a monument, a gift from the Hungarian Catholics, inaugurated on August 12th, 1956.
It consists of a niche, from the architect Antonio Lino, in which there is a statue of Our Lady, an artwork of the sculptor Maria Amelia Carvalheira da Silva.