In preparation for Pope Francis’ visit to Lithuania on 22-23 September, Vilnius is inviting visitors from all over the world to discover the city’s pilgrimage routes and the hidden gems of its sacral heritage.
Pilgrimage is more than just something we read about in ancient books. Modern travellers have rediscovered pilgrimage as an opportunity to get in touch with themselves, find answers to global issues, explore world history and different cultures, and search for peace of mind.
A new guide entitled Experience a History of Your Own Pilgrimage in Vilnius covers the most famous places, paintings, and routes to plan an extensive pilgrimage or add some lesser-known places to your must-see list while visiting Lithuania’s capital.
Currently, about 30,000 pilgrims from all over the world visit Vilnius annually to stamp their pilgrim passports and share a message of hope and mercy. Pope Francis’ upcoming visit is another great reason to discover Vilnius as more than just a city proud of its UNESCO-listed Old Town. The narrow cobbled streets and many churches representing various Christian denominations hide secrets and offer stories of their own.
Stop by the Shrine of Divine Mercy to get Jesus’ blessing through God’s Mercy. Painted in Lithuania, it is one of the best-kept secrets and the Catholic Church’s most recognisable painting, which has been copied and spread worldwide. If you are looking for a miracle, visit the 17th century painting Mother of Mercy at the Gates of Dawn that is believed to have miraculous powers and has been uniting believers from all nations and confessions since its creation.
Even if you are not visiting Vilnius on a pilgrimage journey, you can still hear the largest carillon in the Baltic States coming from the Church of St. Philip and St. Jacob, the Apostles. Visit the Church Heritage Museum to marvel at the treasury filled with a large and impressive collection of goldsmith masterpieces, and spot one of the three statues of St. Christopher, one of the patron saints of Vilnius.
The guide is available at the Vilnius Tourist Information Centres in English, German, Italian, Russian, Polish, and Lithuanian. You can also download it here: http://www.vilnius-tourism.lt/en/what-to-see/latest-tips/experience-a-history-of-your-own-pilgrimage-in-vilnius-2/ prior to your journey.