Joint issue Gibraltar - Vatican City 700 Years of devotion to Our Lady of Europe (Mini-sheet)

In the 8th century the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by the Moors from Africa. Between the years 742 and 1300 they built what is now known as the Moorish Castle. At the southernmost tip of the rock close to the sea they built a mosque. They lived in Gibraltar until 1309. There is historical evidence to support the idea that the mosque was built before 1309. It is known that already at that time, during a brief Spanish occupation (1309-1333), the mosque was used as a Christian shrine. In 1333 the Moors again occupied Gibraltar and remained there until they were expelled on 20 August 1462. The small mosque was converted into a Christian shrine in honour of Our Lady, Patroness of Europe. Depicted on the stamps is the wooden, polychrome statue of the Virgin and Child installed at the shrine. The shrine had a difficult history in the centuries which followed. It was sacked, abandoned, demolished, rebuilt and later used as a place for storage. In 1959 it was saved from further destruction and declared a national monument. Renovation work began in 1962 and in 1968 the restored statute of the Virgin was brought back to the shrine in public procession. In 1979 Pope John Paul II officially approved the title of Our Lady of Europe as Patroness of Gibraltar. The date of her feast is on the 5th of May, which is also Europe Day  

In the 8th century the Iberian Peninsula was invaded by the Moors from Africa. Between the years 742 and 1300 they built what is now known as the Moorish Castle. At the southernmost tip of the rock close to the sea they built a mosque. They lived in Gibraltar until 1309. There is historical evidence to support the idea that the mosque was built before 1309. It is known that already at that time, during a brief Spanish occupation (1309-1333), the mosque was used as a Christian shrine. In 1333 the Moors again occupied Gibraltar and remained there until they were expelled on 20 August 1462. The small mosque was converted into a Christian shrine in honour of Our Lady, Patroness of Europe. Depicted on the stamps is the wooden, polychrome statue of the Virgin and Child installed at the shrine. The shrine had a difficult history in the centuries which followed. It was sacked, abandoned, demolished, rebuilt and later used as a place for storage. In 1959 it was saved from further destruction and declared a national monument. Renovation work began in 1962 and in 1968 the restored statute of the Virgin was brought back to the shrine in public procession. In 1979 Pope John Paul II officially approved the title of Our Lady of Europe as Patroness of Gibraltar. The date of her feast is on the 5th of May, which is also Europe Day.