2021.06.22 15:00

Vilnius Cathedral reopens three chapels kept shut for 70 years

LRT.lt2021.06.22 15:00

Vilnius Cathedral is opening three chapels that have been sealed for the last 70 years.

The Curia of the Vilnius Archdiocese has said the chapels will be unveiled on St John's Day, and a service will be held by Apostolic Nuncio Petar Rajič.

“It's a wonderful day when we will open up more of the Cathedral's treasures. The three chapels, closed since the return of the Cathedral, will now start a new life,” Vilnius Archbishop Gintaras Grušas said.

Nationalised valuables, currently held in museum, will also be returned to Vilnius Cathedral.

The Saint Stanislaus Chapel is one of the newest additions to the cathedral, built during the last reconstruction by the architect Laurynas Stuoka-Gucevičius in the late 18th century.

Named after the 11th-century Bishop of Warsaw, the chapel will house the cathedral's most valuable possession and the oldest reliquary in Lithuania, the Hand of St Stanislaus. The hand-shaped silver reliquary was made by Vilnius goldsmiths around 1500. According to a legend, it holds a piece of Saint Stanislaus' remains gifted by Krakow to Vilnius when Lithuania adopted Christianity in the 14th century.

The Chapel of Mercy holds relics of three Apostles of Mercy: John Paul II, Saint Faustina Kowalska, and Michał Sopoćko.

The centrepiece of the Shroud of Turin Chapel is a reproduction of the Holy Shroud gifted to Vilnius in 2000. The chapel will also exhibit a copy of Our Lady of Guadalupe painting of Mexico City.

Visitors will be able to see the chapels with a guide by booking a paid tour with the Church Heritage Museum.

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