On October 7, the Catholic Church celebrated the feast of the Holy Rosary. For many generations this celebration was also known as the feast of Our Lady of Victory. This goes back to the year 1571, when the fleet of the Holy See defeated the navy of the Ottoman Empire.
Pope Pius V attributed this triumph over the Turkish invaders to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. But prior to that the Eastern Orthodox Church had already celebrated the Protection of the Mother of God in thanksgiving for another military victory in the 10th century.
While the feast was instituted by Pius V, its name was changed to the Feast of the Holy Rosary under Pope Gregory XIII in 1573. Pope Leo XIII elevated the feast to a “double of the second class” and even added the intercession “Queen of the Most Holy Rosary” to the invocations of the Litany of Loreto. Pope Leo’s extraordinary devotion to the Holy Rosary produced 11 encyclicals on this subject. With the Second Vatican Council, Our Lady of the Rosary has become a mandatory memorial.
Because of this memorial the entire month of October became known as the month of the Most Holy Rosary. Devotion to the Holy Rosary has often been criticized by Protestants as Marian worship, but the theology of the Rosary is truly focused on Christ. We ask the Blessed Mother to intercede for us to Christ our Lord. Mary, the Mother of God, who was totally human bore Christ her son, who is both human and divine.
Over the centuries there have been several hundred mysteries linked to the prayer of the Rosary, and only in the 15th century were those narrowed down to the ones we still pray today. In his 2002 encyclical, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Pope St. John Paul II added the five Luminous Mysteries.