The worshipping of Assumption of Mary (localy:Vela Gospa), for all the central Dalmatian islands, was on the island of Vis. In times past, the people of Brac and Hvar came to Vis to take an oath
Velo Selo or Podselje once was the centre of the island of Vis, and also the most populated, until 1483 when it was destroyed and plundered by the soldiers of Ferrant the king of Naples (son of Alfonso V of Aragon). After the suffering, the inhabitants mostly moved to the port of Vis, because they no longer felt safe in the interior of the island – carrying with them the painting of Our Lady, from the parish church of St. Mary’s.
As the difficulties grew so did the worship of Our Lady. There are many legends associated with this church. One legend says that for seven years in the sea around the island of Vis there was no sardines (pilchards) – the ‘breadwinner’ of the inhabitants. After a seven-year period, many prayers and vows to Our Lady, the abundant catch began again, which the people attributed to her merit. The church was votively gifted with silver sardine, as a sign of gratitude, in the name of the fishermen and the rest of grateful inhabitants. Even today, a votive silver sardine can be seen on the main altar.
The parish church in Podselje was built in the 14th century and was upgraded in the 15th century and dedicated to St. Mary – the church is also called “Our Lady of the Velo Selo”. This church is a national shrine, the inhabitants of the island of Vis make a pilgrimage for the Feast of the Assumption (Vela Gospa), on 15 August. On that day, numerous pilgrims come to the Mass to pay homage to Our Lady of Velo Selo. Many pilgrims walk up to 15 kilometers to the church, mostly the night before the holiday (some of them barefoot), as an oath or penance.
Above Podselje there is a secluded church of St. Cosmas and Damian, built probably in the 15th century.
Location: Podselje is 6 km away from Vis, and 14 km away from Komiža.