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The turmoil of the Reformation left Christendom open to invasion. The Ottoman Empire took advantage of this weakness in October of 1571. They invaded Cyprus and took 15,000 Christians captive. The Turkish army greatly outnumbered European forces, and it seemed like all hope was lost.

Pope Pius V played diplomatic chess and persuaded Italy and Spain to work together to fight the Turks. The pope also commanded all Catholics to pray the Rosary. Churches across Western Europe were filled with Christians praying for an unlikely victory.

On the morning of October 7, Don Juan of Austria led his 80,000 person fleet against the Turks’ 120,000. The Christians nearly lost, but Don Juan regrouped and won. The Christian captives were recovered and set free.

The pope had a vision of the victory before news of it had reached Rome, reportedly waking up in the middle of the night and shouting, “The Christian fleet is victorious!”

Impossible Victory: News
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