Christian PilgrimagePilgrimages in LithuaniaJohn Paul II and Lithuania

Like a good mother, she stands there still...
Bernardas Brazdžionis
Gintaro Česonio fotografija

Most Gracious Mother

At the altar by the first pillar on the left (if facing the main altar), there hangs a painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary which for three centuries has been famed for special graces. The image had disappeared for a lengthy period in 1950. Archbishop S. Tamkevičius blessed the painting anew after it arrived at the Cathedral in 2001. The image dates to the late 16th or very early 17th century, and is considered an imitation of the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa. For about 350 years, it was kept at the Kaunas Bernardine Church of St George the Martyr.

The painting belongs to the early Byzantine Hodogetria iconographic type. Mary is depicted standing. On her left arm she holds the Child Jesus, who is giving a blessing with his right hand and holds the Gospel in his left. The composition includes a surprising quantity of pearls, which in Christian art are linked with the Incarnation and with Salvation. Traditional Byzantine traits can be seen in the decoration of the painting’s background, the figures and the clothing. The influence of Byzantine iconography is also visible in the faces of the Mother of God and the Child Jesus.