Christian PilgrimagePilgrimages in LithuaniaJohn Paul II and Lithuania

Hail Mary, Mother of Fair Love!
Algirdo Kazlos fotografija
Piligrimų kelias
Pamaldumo tradicija

Traditions of Piety

Traditions of piety here are mostly linked to the painting of Mary, Mother of Fair Love, which is also known popularly as “The Camaldolese Mother of God.” Pope Alexander VII gave the image to the patron of the Pažaislis church, Kristupas Žygimantas Pacas, in 1661. The Camaldolese hermits, as well as the Orthodox monks who later resided here, would carry the image in solemn procession around the church and monastery each July 2, the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in an event which always drew crowds of pilgrims. In the late 19th century, pilgrims would carry the image as far as Kaunas during the July 2 celebration. The Orthodox had embellished the painting with a cover of gilded silver.

The Mother of Fair Love still attracts pilgrims today, who come to petition and thank her from Lithuania and other parts of Europe, especially Poland. Since the year 2000, when the painting was returned here to its true home from the Kaunas Cathedral, 54 votive offerings have been received as tokens of appreciation to Mary. They include crosses, hearts, amber beads and medallions, and express gratitude for children that have been born, for regained health, for family reconciliations and for various interior graces.

In 2005, Kaunas Archbishop Metropolitan Sigitas Tamkevičius instituted two indulgenced feasts at the Pažaislis Church of the Visitation: May 31 – feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Visitation to her cousin Elizabeth, and August 15 – feast of the Blessed Virgin’s Assumption to Heaven. The second feast is celebrated at Pažaislis with special solemnity.