Come to Vilnius on 22-23 September to meet a very special guest. His Holiness Pope Francis has included the Lithuanian capital on his Apostolic Visit to the Baltic States. This is a rare occasion – once in a quarter-century. Pope Francis is the second Pope to travel to the Baltic States and is doing so exactly 25 years after a visit from St Pope John Paul II.
After a meeting with the Dalia Grybauskaitė, the President of Lithuania, Pope Francis will greet the public at Daukantas Square. The Presidential Palace dates back to 1387 as a palace of the first Bishop of Vilnius. On a regular day, visitors can register for a free tour to see the inside of the palace or watch the ceremony of the flag changing every Sunday at noon.
On the afternoon of 22 September, Pope Francis will be meeting youth at Cathedral Square. To meet the Pope in person, please register in advance here. Standing in the very heart of the city at the base of the castle hill, the cathedral is the most important place of worship for Lithuania’s Catholics. You can see the oldest known fresco in Lithuania dating back to the 14th century and visit the Chapel of Saint Casimir where Pope John Paul II prayed in 1993 by the Saint’s remains.
The Holy Father’s schedule includes a stop to pray at the former KGB headquarters in the centre of Vilnius where the blessed martyr Archbishop Teofilius Matulionis was imprisoned. The museum covers the darkest hours of Lithuania’s history. The two upper floors are dedicated to the Lithuanian partisan resistance against the Soviet occupiers and the deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia, while the basement has preserved the original prison cells and torture chambers.
First mentioned in 1514, this is the only surviving gate of the original city wall. Pope Francis will pay a visit to the Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy of the Gates of Dawn. One of the most important religious and cultural monuments is home to the famous icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy, said to have miraculous powers.
If you want to leave a gift for Pope Francis, you are welcome to stop by the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See every workday before his visit to Lithuania.