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Pilgrimages

Pilgrim’s center in Vilnius

“The practice of pilgrimage has a special place in the Holy Year, because it represents the journey each of us makes in this life. Life itself is a pilgrimage, and the human being is a viator, a pilgrim travelling along the road, making his way to the desired destination…“ (Misericordiae Vultus)

A pilgrimage is a journey of trust – in God, the path, and the people met along the way. A pilgrim’s goal is to visit special places of God’s grace, and the actual journey to those places is the essence of a pilgrimage. Discussions with fellow travelers and concrete experiences of the natural environment, architecture, art, and traditions of the places visited broaden one’s view of life and faith and, most importantly, lead to a unique encounter with God and oneself.

Pilgrims from all over the world are invited to walk the Way of Divine Mercy in Vilnius and its surrounding areas. This was the path taken by St. Faustina and Bl. Fr. Michael Sopocko. Through these apostles of Divine Mercy, God reminded humanity of His Mercy and revealed ways to seek and have recourse to it. Vilnius became the city from which this message reached the whole world. The most significant places to receive the graces of Divine Mercy along the Way are the Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn Chapel and the Shrine of Divine Mercy.


Vilniaus_Piligrimas_aut.E.LasysThe „Vilnius Pilgrim“ app, available for iOS and Android, allows pilgrims and visitors of Vilnius to discover and explore the many religious sites found in this City of Mercy. From the Vilnius Cathedral and Treasury, to the many places associated with St. Faustina, to the pilgrimage route of St. John Paul II, the Vilnius Pilgrim app gives both first time visitors, as well as well-tenured residents a fresh perspective on the city’s rich religious heritage. The app includes four pilgrimage routes taking you across Vilnius and provides high-resolution photos, text, and audio descriptions in both English and Lithuanian for each site to enhance your pilgrimage experience. The app can use your phone’s GPS function to easily take you to your next location. You can also bookmark your favorites for your future visits to Vilnius!


 

(Brochure)

From the labyrinthine medieval streets of Vilnius’ historic center to the town of Tabariškės on the Lithuanian border, the Way of Mercy joins together the places which fostered the great apostles of God’s Mercy ¬– Saint Faustina and her spiritual director Blessed Fr. Michael Sopoćko.

Proclaimed a Saint in the Great Jubilee Year 2000 Sister Faustina Kowalska lived in Vilnius in the Convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy in 1929 and again from 1933 to 1936 It is in Vilnius, in the multicultural milieu between the wars, that St. Faustina received her significant revelations of Our Lord Jesus Christ and fulfilled the requests that Our Lord asked of her in His message of Divine Mercy. In this city she met her spiritual director and confessor Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko, who encouraged her to write a diary, arranged for the Image of Divine Mercy to be painted, and who began the devotion to Divine Mercy.

Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko spent a significant part of his life in Vilnius and its environs. He traveled to Vilnius as a child to visit its sanctuaries, he studied in Vilnius and worked at the university, and as a priest he served the churches of Vilnius and its community of believers.

Piligr_DGSventove

The Shrine of Divine Mercy

Dominikonų g. 12, Vilnius

www.gailestingumas.lt

The Shrine of Divine Mercy was founded and consecrated in 2004. Within it is venerated the original Image of Divine Mercy, which depicts Jesus in the way Sister Faustina saw Him in her visions. In 1946-1947 Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko worked at Holy Trinity Church (now the site of the Shrine of Divine Mercy) and was Holy Trinity’s last priest before the church was closed after the Second World War.


Piligr_AusrosVartai

The Gate of Dawn

Aušros Vartų g. 14, Vilnius

www.ausrosvartai.lt

St. Faustina and Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko had a special devotion to Mary, and they often prayed before the beautiful image of the Mother of Mercy at the Gate of Dawn. In 1935 during the Easter Triduum, the Image of Divine Mercy, decorated by St. Faustina, was publicly venerated for the first time at the Gate of Dawn. Bl. Fr. Sopoćko’s homilies addressed God’s mercy. This was the first unofficial celebration of Divine Mercy. In 2000, during the Great Jubilee Year, Pope St. John Paul II officially proclaimed the first Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday.


Piligr_Faustinos_namelis

The House of St. Sister Faustina

Grybo g. 29 a, Vilnius

For tours, please call 8 600 84 068

The Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, to whom St. Faustina belonged, arrived in Vilnius in 1908 and founded their convent in Antakalnis, a historical suburb of Vilnius. There they fulfilled their charism through educating and providing spiritual guidance to young women with moral problems. While living at the convent in Vilnius, St. Faustina received several mystical visions of Jesus, and it is in this house that St. Faustina received the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in 1935.


Piligr_Gailest_Jezaus_ses_vienuolynasThe Convent of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus (former Visitation Convent)

Rasų g. 4a, Vilnius

For tours of the Chapel, please call 8 5 212 1090

Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko lived at the monastery house at the Convent of the Sisters of Visitation from 1932 to 1934. Painter Eugene Kazimirovski also worked and lived there. In 1934 the artist was asked by Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko to paint the Image of Divine Mercy according to the visions of St. Faustina.

 


Piligr_Boksto4The Former boarding school

Bokšto g. 4

At the beginning of the 20th century the Jadvyga Valc boarding school for boys was located at this address. Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko lived here from 1908 to 1910 after finishing his studies at the city school in Ašmena. While studying for his seminary entrance exams, he taught Russian to its residents in exchange for room and board.

 

 

 

 

 


Piligr_sv.Mykolo_bazn

The Church of St. Michael (Church Heritage Museum)

Šv. Mykolo g. 9, Vilnius

www.bpmuziejus.lt

From 1934 to 1938, Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko was the rector of St. Michael Church and chaplain of the Bernardine Sisters whose convent was adjacent to the church. The Image of Divine Mercy was originally hung in the Convent’s corridor, but Jesus, in one of St. Faustina’s visions, expressed his wish that the painting be displayed in a public place of honor. In 1937, with the Vilnius Archbishop’s approval, the painting was hung on the right side of the main altar of the church. Believers began to venerate the image of Merciful Jesus and to glorify God’s Mercy.


Piligr_BernardinaiThe Church of St. Francis of Assisi (Bernardine)

Maironio g. 10, Vilnius

www.bernardinuparapija.lt

www.bernardinuansamblis.lt

From 1941, Bl. Fr. Sopoćko offered Holy Mass at the Bernardine Church and provided assistance to its clerics. On March 3, 1942, while Father was offering Mass at the Church, Nazis had entered his lodgings, which were located across from the Church, with the intention of arresting him. Forewarned not to return to his rooms and the seminary, he left, with the help of the Ursuline Sisters, for Juodšiliai. Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko credits his successful escape to safety to Divine Mercy.


Piligr_JonaiThe Church of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Apostle and Evangelist and the University of Vilnius

Šv. Jono g. 12, Vilnius

From 1927 to 1945, Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko was a member of the University of Vilnius faculty of theology. He offered Holy Mass for the military at St. Johns Church, while St. Ignatius Church was being renovated. Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko lived for a time at the Church’s rectory. During Soviet occupation, he secretly organized catechetical programs at the sacristy and continued to popularize the devotion to Divine Mercy.

 


Piligr_Ignoto_baznThe Church of St. Ignatius

Šv. Ignoto g. 6, Vilnius

In 1919, Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko was appointed military chaplain. It is through his efforts that St. Ignatius Church was renovated and became the pastoral home of the Vilnius military garrison.

 

 


Piligr_buv_Karmeliciu_vienThe Former Carmelite Convent

Building near Paupio g. 31, Vilnius

In her visions of Jesus in 1935, St. Faustina was asked by Jesus to form a new religious congregation dedicated to proclaiming the mercy of God to the world. Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko brought to fruition the congregation’s founding. On the night of November 16, 1944, at the then Carmelite convent chapel, six women gave their vows and became candidates of the new congregation. This was the beginning of the founding of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus

 


Piligr_Sv_Dvasios_baznThe Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit

Dominikonų g. 8, Vilnius

In 1951 the Image of Divine Mercy, from the closed Church of St. Michael, was given to the rector of Vilnius’ Holy Spirit Church, but it was not hung for public veneration. In 1956 it was moved to a small church in New Ruda, not far from Grodno in Belarus, for safekeeping. Finally in 1986 it was returned to the Holy Spirit Church in Vilnius, where it was publicly venerated at a side altar. In 2005 the Image of Divine Mercy was transferred to the restored Church of the Holy Trinity, which was reconsecrated the Shrine of Divine Mercy.

 


Piligr_ArkikatedraArchcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Vladislaus

Katedros a. 2, Vilnius

It is in Vilnius Cathedral that Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko received the sacrament of Confirmation and on June 15, 1914, was ordained a priest. In 1940, in an atmosphere of war, his Lenten homilies on the Passion of Jesus became renowned in Vilnius. With the outbreak of the Second World War, his homilies stressed the message of Divine Mercy.

 

 


Piligr_Sv.Jurgio_baznChurch of St. George (closed)

K. Sirvydo g. 4, Vilnius

From the late 18th century there was a seminary in Vilnius at St. George Church and the former Carmelite Monastery. In the 1930s the seminary merged with the theology faculty of Vilnius University (at the time named Stephen Bathory University). Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko not only studied at this seminary, but also spent a significant part of his priestly life as a seminary professor and spiritual adviser to its clerics.

 


Piligr_Tabariskiu_Sv.Jurgio_baznChurch of St. Michael the Archangel, Tabariškės

Tabariškių k., Šalčininkų r.

From 1914 to 1918, Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko, then a newly ordained priest, served as parochial vicar of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Tabariškės. There he led catechism classes for children and youth, and established the church choir and library. He also visited the people living in the villages of Medininkai and Anžadava, located several kilometers away, and later opened chapels there. The main street in Tabariškės is named after Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko.

 

 


Piligr_Juodsiliu_baznJuodšiliai

Mokyklos g. 9, Juodšilių k., Vilniaus r.

In 1942 to 1944 during the Second World War, the Ursuline Sisters in Juodšiliai provided refuge to Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko when he was in hiding from the threat of German arrest. He lived in a house named “Providence” (Sodų g. 16) that belonged to the Sisters and had false documents made in the name of Waclaw Rodziewicz to hide his identity. The church of Juodšiliai will be concecrated and named for Bl. Fr. M. Sopoćko in 2015.

 

 

Pope St. John Paul II is known today as an apostle of mercy, his life and pontificate serving as a witness to Divine Mercy. In 1978 his encyclical, Dives in Misericordia, Pope St. John Paul II called attention to the mystery of Divine Mercy. During the Great Jubilee Year 2000 he proclaimed Sister Faustina a saint and the first Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope St. John Paul II is one of the most famous pilgrims in history, whose travels, proclaiming the Good News and encouraging solidarity and peace in the world, covered 1.7 million kilometers. One of those visits was to the newly independent Lithuania.

Saint John Paul II was the first Pope to visit Lithuania. His 1993 pastoral visit brought moral guidance and diplomatic support to the newly restored independent State of Lithuania, providing its people with spiritual strength and unity of purpose. To honor the Holy Father, Lithuania’s primary shrines were joined together to form a Pilgrim Route of Pope St. John Paul II.

Travelling as a pilgrim along this route, you will visit the most important sacred sites of the Archdiocese of Vilnius and become more familiar with Lithuania’s history of faith, as well as its ecclesiastical art and architectural traditions.

From the remarks of Pope St. John Paul II at the Church of the Holy Spirit: “It can be said that all my life, at least from the time of awareness, I was constantly in Vilnius. I was in Vilnius in my thoughts and in my heart. You can say, with my whole being. It has remained thus.”

 

Piligr_AusrosVartai

The Gate of Dawn

Aušros Vartų g. 14, Vilnius

www.ausrosvartai.lt

Pope St. John Paul II prayed the Rosary at the Gate of Dawn during His visit to Lithuania. He remembered the moment, when “by God’s unfathomable will I was chosen to the Chair of St. Peter, I hurried to the Lithuanian Chapel of Our Lady Mater Misericordiae in the Vatican Grottoes. There at Mary’s feet, I prayed for all of you.” Our Lady Mother of Mercy can be found in the Chapel of the Gate of Dawn, which is why she is often called Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn (Aušros Vartų Marija). This sanctuary is one of the oldest and most important pilgrimage sites in Lithuania. From the late XVIII century with the partition of the Commonwealth of Two Nations, she became a symbol of freedom and nationhood for both Lithuanians and Poles. The citizens of Vilnius as well honor Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn as their city’s guardian.


Piligr_ArkikatedraArchcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Vladislaus

Katedros a. 2, Vilnius

Pope St. John Paul II began his trip to Lithuania with a prayer at the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Stanislaus and St. Ladislaus, commonly known as Vilnius Cathedral. There he reminded worshippers that in this holy place beats the heart of the Lithuanian nation. In his remarks at the Cathedral the Holy Father said, “I am especially joyful that this, our first meeting, takes place here, at Vilnius Cathedral, which was closed in 1950 and reconsecrated in 1989. In this sanctuary, where the heart of the Lithuanian nation beats, the carefully protected mortal remains of St. Casimir were returned to his Chapel on March 4, 1989.”

 


 

Piligr_DGSventove

The Shrine of Divine Mercy

Dominikonų g. 12, Vilnius

www.gailestingumas.lt

During his visit to Lithuania, Pope St. John Paul II prayed at the venerated miraculous Image of Divine Mercy, at that time displayed at the Church of the Holy Spirit (Dominican). In his remarks to the faithful, he encouraged them, regardless of circumstances, to try to be children of the Heavenly Father, dedicated students of the Embodied Word, and obedient instruments of the Holy Spirit: “St. Faustina was such an instrument. She had trust in the revealed Savior’s words and fulfilled His request to have an image painted that renders to people solace and peace.


Piligr_Traku_Bazn

Trakai Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Birutės g. 5, Trakai

www.trakubaznycia.lt

Pope St. John Paul II is noted for his special devotion to Mary, Mother of God. For his apostolic motto he chose, Totus tuus “totally thine,” a profession of love and faithfulness to the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Lithuania the devotion to Mary has deep traditions of which the Trakai Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a witness. Decorating the altar is a painting of the Virgin Mary and Child, known as Trakai Mother of God – Protectress of Lithuania, which is renowned for its graces. This is the first image of Mary in Lithuania crowned by a Pope (1718) and is one of Lithuania’s most important pilgrimage objects going back to the time of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.


Piligr_Kalvariju_bazn

Church of the Discovering of the Holy Cross and Vilnius Calvary

Kalvarijų g. 327, Vilnius

www.vilniauskalvarijos.lt

Pope St. John Paul II served as an example of trust in God and in the power of the Holy Spirit. He inspired millions of people to hear God’s call and to have the fortitude to do what God asks of them. For Christians, to walk the Way of the Cross is to travel as a pilgrim to Jerusalem through meditation on Christ’s Passion. The Vilnius Calvary was consecrated in 1669 and is the primary site to celebrate Pentecost in the Archdiocese of Vilnius. This sacred architectural ensemble, which consists of the Church and chapels, is known as one of Europe’s largest Way of the Cross complexes.

„May pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion: by crossing the threshold of the Holy Door, we will find the strength to embrace God’s mercy and dedicate ourselves to being merciful with others as the Father has been with us.”(Misericordiae Vultus)

In the Archdiocese of Vilnius, Doors of Mercy are open in the following sanctuaries: Vilnius Cathedral, the Shrine of Divine Mercy, the Gate of Dawn, as well as at the Military Ordinariate’s primary sanctuary – St. Ignatius Church.
A pilgrim’s passport can be obtained at the sanctuaries in which the Doors of Mercy are open (either in the sacristy or in the sanctuary itself). Pilgrims can either ask to have their passport stamped or stamp their own passport as a remembrance of their pilgrimage to Lithuania and the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

Piligr_ArkikatedraArchcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Vladislaus

Katedros a. 2, Vilnius

The first Catholic church on the site of today’s cathedral was built by the Great Duke Mindaugas after his baptism in 1251. Then after a pagan insurrection, resulting in the destruction of the cathedral, a second Christianization of Lithuania took place, King Jogaila built a new Gothic church on the same spot. Over a period of time with fires, reparations and alterations, the building gained Renaissance and Baroque features. In 1623-1636 King Sigismundus III Vasa built a baroque chapel dedicated to St. Casimir to house the relics of the saintly prince. This chapel is now one of the most treasured monuments in Vilnius. Thanks to the architect Laurynas Stuoka – Gucevičius the church acquired a strictly geometrical square form typical of French Classicism. The Soviet authorities closed the Cathedral in 1950. From 1956 on, the building housed a picture gallery, concerts of organ music were held there. It was not until 1989 that the Cathedral was returned to the Catholic faithful and became the major sanctuary again. There are 11 chapels in the Cathedral. Architectural fragments, apparently the remnants of Mindaugas` first cathedral and the later pagan sanctuary, have been discovered in the crypts. The crypts also hold the earliest known Lithuanian fresco dating back to the late 14th or 15th century.

 

Piligr_DGSventove

The Shrine of Divine Mercy

Dominikonų g. 12, Vilnius

www.gailestingumas.lt

The first church on this site was dedicated to the Holy Trinity and probably dated to the 16th-17th centuries. A hospital was built nearby. In the 18th century the church was rebuilt. It received a new chancel, two towers and its gothic apse was replaced by a new portal. In 1821 the imperial authorities turned the civilian hospital into a military one and the church became an orthodox church, the temple of the Annunciation. In 1919 the Catholics regained the building. After the Second World War it was closed by the Soviets. In 2004 the church underwent renovation and was dedicated to the Divine Mercy. In 2005, the original image of Divine Mercy was transferred into this renovated church and installed over the centre of the altar and it became an international shrine to the mercy of God. The image was painted according to St. Faustina’s vision by Eugeniusz Kazimirowski in Vilnius, in 1934.

 

Piligr_AusrosVartai

The Gate of Dawn

Aušros Vartų g. 14, Vilnius

www.ausrosvartai.lt

It is one of the symbol of Vilnius. A gate was one of the first five Vilnius gates erected together with the city wall. The name “Aušros” (“of the dawn”) accompanied the spread of the cult of the Mother of God, and is probably associated with image of Mary as the “dawn star”. The painting of the Mother of Mercy (the Gate of Dawn) is known to many Catholics around the world. The painting is dated by the 1st quarter of the 17th cent. It is painted in the Renaissance style. The Virgin Mary is depicted without Child, with her head tilted to the right, her hands are crossed over her chest, her eyes are half-closed, with a soft and graceful silhouette. In 1626, after the Carmelite friars had settled there, a wooden chapel was built over the gate and the painting was put inside. After a fire at the shrine, a brick chapel was erected in 1713-1715. The image was solemnly crowned in 1927. In 1993 Pope John Paul II prayed at the shrine of the Mother of Divine Mercy during his pilgrimage to Lithuania. It was at this shrine on 26th, 27th and 28th April 1935, during the celebration of the Redemption Jubilee triduum, where the image of Divine Mercy was displayed and preached for the first time. Sr. Faustina took part in those events and their spiritual fruits were revealed to her. (See her Diary 417-420). The shrine is connected through an interior corridor with St. Theresa’s Church, where most of the Masses are celebrated and where the majority of confessionals are located.

 

Piligr_Ignoto_baznThe Church of St. Ignatius

Šv. Ignoto g. 6, Vilnius

Pilgrimage groups who wish to visit the Church during the work week, please call 370 5 273 55 25 or 370 5 265 75 00

Pilgrimage groups who wish to visit the Church on weekends, please register in advance: email: ordinariat@kam.lt or call 370 5 273 55 25, 370 5 265 75 00

St. Ignatius Church together with the Jesuit monastery and novitiate were built in the middle of the 17th century in the baroque style. After the uprisings of 1831 and 1863, the Czarist army used the monastery and Church as barracks, horse stables, and an officers’ club – as a sacred building the Church was destroyed. Between the wars Bl. Fr. M. Sopocko took the initiative to renovate the Church for the pastoral care of the military. During the Soviet era it was used as a movie theater and a movie studio warehouse. After Lithuania regained its sovereignty, the Church housed an art gallery, and from 2004, it once again became the primary sanctuary for the Lithuanian Military Ordinariate.

The Way of St. James in Lithuania leads pilgrims to the Church of the Apostles Philip and Jacob. In it is venerated one of the oldest icons to reach Lithuania in our time – the 17th century Lukiškių Mother of God with Child, an image known for its miracles.

Vilniaus arkivyskupijos kurija, Šventaragio 4, Vilnius, Lietuva

curia@vilnensis.lt, www.vilnensis.lt