This place is dedicated to St Joseph. For the architect, Pierre Bossan, the pilgrim had to “go to Mary through Joseph”, thus going from the darkness of the crypt to the light of the Basilica. The Door of the Lions on the East, located near the Gardens of the Rosary, was first planned to be the main access to the church. It was never used as such because it was judged impractical. Carved in the marble walls of the crypt are the names of parishes who have offered donations. The ex-voto also become an integral part of the walls; they are engraved there, on demand for answered prayers.
The crypt of Fourvière is characterised by a powerful and oppressive nature emphasised by the unfinished sculptures.
The Virgins of the world
At the beginning of this century, the crypt has highlighted universal devotion to Mary. Virgins related to other key pilgrimage locations are displayed. These include the countries of Lebanon, Poland, Portugal, Hungary, India, Italy, the Philippines, Mexico, China, Africa, and Brazil.
OUR LADY OF FATIMA (Portugal) set up in 1994
Our Lady of Fatima represents the Virgin Mary as she appeared 6 times during the year 1917 to 3 children at Fatima, a little village in the centre of Portugal.
OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOVA (Poland) set up in 2002
Czestochowa is the spiritual capital city of Poland and has got a painting of the Black Virgin, known for her numerous miracles. The legend says that the image of the Black Virgin of Czestochowa has been painted by Saint Luke the Evangelist on a board coming from the table belonging to the Holy Family.
OUR LADY OF GOOD HEALTH OF VELANKANNI (India) set up in 2005
The Virgin Mary appeared to a young shepherd in the village of Velankanni in India. The emblematic representation of the Virgin is unique because it is one of the 2 icons in which Mary is shown dressed in an Indian sari.
THE WEEPING VIRGIN OF GYOR (Hungary) set uP in 2006
In the GYOR cathedral, located in Hungary, the people worship an Irish Madonna. On the 17th of March 1697, on Saint Patrick’s day, a year when, in Ireland, the religious persecution came to its climax, the Madonna started shedding tears of blood for 3 hours.
OUR LADY OF LORETTO (Italy) set up in 2010
In the basilica of Loretto in Italy, the statue of Our Lady, made in Lebanon cedar coming from the Vatican gardens, has been worshipped since the Middle Ages. Our Lady Of Loretto is the patron saint of the aviators.
OUR LADY OF ” La Naval” ( Manila) set up in 2010
According to the tradition in the Philippines, the Virgin helped to push away successfully the Dutch protestant invasion forces during the battles of La Naval in Manila, just like the battle of Lepanto in 1571. In 2009, the Philippine government named the icon and its Sanctuary as a national cultural treasure.
OUR LADY OF LEBANON set up in 2011
Our Lady of Lebanon is considered as the Patron Saint and Queen of Lebanon: this devotion goes back to the beginning of the 20th century.
OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE put up in 2014
On the 9th of December 1531, on top of the hill of Tepeyac, north of Mexico, a young lady “dazzlingly shining” appears to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin, just baptized. She introduces herself as the Virgin Mary and makes him responsible for asking the bishop to have a church built right here on the apparition spot.
OUR LADY OF CHINA set up in 2016
The devotion to Our Lady of China starts in Donglu, a village of the Chinese province of Hebeia, region with a heavy rural catholic concentration. In 1900 several Marian apparitions were reported. A picture of Our Lady of China was consecrated by Pope Pius XI in 1928.
OUR LADY OF AFRICA set up in August 2017
Thanks to Marguerite Berger and Anna Cinquin, two pious young ladies from Lyons, the Algerians started to worship Our Lady of Africa. This pilgrimage began in a nearby ravine at the foot of an old olive tree, in the trunk of which had been placed a statue of the Virgin. The bishop of Algiers, Bishop Pavy, began the construction of the basilica in 1858 but it was Bishop Lavigerie who consecrated it in 1872. On the altar, overlooking the sanctuary, stood the statue of Our Lady of Africa, offered in May 1840 by the Ladies of the Sacred Heart of Lyon to Bishop Dupuch, first bishop of Algiers.
OUR LADY OF APARECIDA (Brasil) set up in 2017
In 1717, a fisherman brought from the waters the beheaded body of a statue of the Virgin Mary. Thanks to new attempts the head and a huge amount of fish were brought back. A Church was erected for her. In 1929, our Lady of Aparecida was proclaimed “Queen of Brazil ” and the official patron saint of the country by Pope Pius XI.