Fátima is a Portuguese city located in the Serra de Aire, seat of the parish of the same name in the municipality of Ourém, in the province of Beira Litoral, in the Center region and sub-region of the Médio Tejo, with an area of 71.29 km² and 13,224 inhabitants (census of 2021). Its population density is 185.5 inhab/km². Its worldwide fame is due to the account of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary reported by three little shepherds from May 13th to October 13th, 1917.
At the ecclesiastical level, the city of Fatima is simultaneously the seat of a diocese with the city of Leiria. The name of the then renamed Diocese of Leiria-Fátima was given by Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1984. The only existing parish in the city has Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres as patron saint. The parish of Serra, as it was originally known, was dismembered from the Collegiate Church of Ourém in 1568.
Due to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima, located in Cova da Iria, the city has become one of the most important international destinations for religious tourism, receiving around six million people a year.
The city's name comes from the Arabic name Fatima (Fāţimah, Arabic: فاطمة ), one of the daughters of the prophet Muhammad. There is an unconfirmed legend that the place-name derives from a local Moorish princess named Fatima who, after being captured by the Christian army during the Christian Reconquest, was given in marriage to a Count of Ourém. Having converted to the Christian religion, she was baptized Oriana in 1158. The mountain lands, the Count named the Lands of Fatima, in memory of his ancestors, and the county the name of Oriana, later called Ourém.
The history of the city of Fátima is, however, more associated with the phenomenon of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary. First, around 1758, Our Lady appeared to a mute shepherdess in the place where the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Ortiga now stands, and later, in the 20th century, to three other children - known as "Os Three Little Shepherds". Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, on May 13, 1917, while they were grazing their sheep at Cova da Iria, witnessed the first of several apparitions of a beautiful lady dressed in white. The Chapel of Apparitions currently stands on the site. The Lady, later referred to as the Lady of the Rosary, declared that she was sent by God with a message: an appeal to prayer, sacrifice and penance. She visited the little shepherds, appearing to them every 13th between May and October 1917. The last apparition of this cycle took place on October 13th, and about 70 000 pilgrims witnessed and witnessed the so-called Miracle of the Sun.
The Virgin Mary, in Fatima, brought a message that consisted of an appeal to constant prayer and asked the little shepherds to announce to everyone the need to pray the Rosary every day, for the conversion of sinners, for the conversion of Russia and for the Pope. Our Lady also revealed to them the so-called "Secret of Fatima", which was divided into three parts: the vision of hell where sinners fell for their lack of faith; the announcement of the beginning of a new world war (confirmed World War II); and the third part of the secret was written by the seer Sister Lucia in 1944. Finally, on May 13, 2000, during his visit to Portugal, Pope John Paul II, through the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano , released part of the content of the third part of the Secret.
Lucia became a cloistered nun of the Order of Discalced Carmelites and had received, as a child, three visits from an angel together with her cousins. Between April and October 1916, the so-called Angel of Portugal (or Angel of Peace) invited them to pray and called for penance. The angel visited them twice at Loca do Cabeço, in Valinhos, and once at the foot of the well in the garden