Holy Spirit Orthodox Church, Vilnius

Holy Spirit Orthodox Church, Vilnius

The cupola of the Holy Spirit Church rises above Old Town and is easily recognized from the surrounding streets. The church was built in 1408 and is now considered an architectural monument of late baroque in Lithuania. Holy Spirit Orthodox Church houses a remarkable crucifix, "brought to life" by the incoming daylight. The original painting of the Divine Mercy is enshrined above the altar. Pope John Paul II himself visited the shrine and prayed before the sacred image in 1993.

The site of the present church used to be occupied by a wooden church, following the form a Latin cross, erected in 1638, when Vilnius was part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and was known as Wilno. Associated with the church was a convent, opened in 1567.

After a fire gutted the wooden church in the 18th century, a stone church was erected in 1749–1753 in the Baroque style, with details of the interior in Roccoco style. It was designed by Johann Christoph Glaubitz, an architect of German descent who was noted for developing a Lithuanian school of Baroque architecture, known as Vilnian Baroque.

In the 19th century, when Vilnius was part of the Russian Empire, several Byzantine Revival architectural elements were added to the church, but it nevertheless retained its essentially Baroque form. Indeed, the added Orthodox frescoes, Iconostasis and dome enhanced its magnificence, as did the addition of deep blue and green interior decor. Unusual in an Orthodox church are the Scagliola (simulated marble) sculptures. A new reliquary was added in 1853.

In the crypt lie the remains of Saints Anthony, John, and Eustathios. A tradition of the church is to cloak them in black during Lent, in white at Christmas and in red on other major religious holidays.
Sight description based on wikipedia

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Holy Spirit Orthodox Church on Map

Sight Name: Holy Spirit Orthodox Church
Sight Location: Vilnius, Lithuania (See walking tours in Vilnius)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Vilnius, Lithuania

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Historical Churches Tour

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Vilnius Old Town Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles