Old Town, Vilnius

This item appears on page 57 of the August 2009 issue.

I found the article about the Baltic States interesting (June ’09). The picture on page 7 is described as “Gate of Vilnius’ Old Town.” It is the Basilian Gate, which is the entry to the decrepit (2005) Holy Trinity Basilian Monastery.

In June ’05 we found the actual gate to the city, the Gate of Dawn (it faces east), not far away from the Basilian Gate. At the second level of the Gate of Dawn, on the interior, is a chapel with a “miraculous” icon of the Virgin. The Lithuanians will advise that this icon is the leading pilgrimage site in Eastern Europe.

I suspect that with their Shrine of the Black Madonna at Czestochowa, the Poles might disagree, but since the Poles prefer that their country be described as part of Central Europe, if the Lithuanians want to speak for Eastern Europe then they may be right.

Incidentally, it was at Czestochowa in 2002 that a priest advised my wife to maintain a firm grip on her purse in that “holy” place. But, then, I digress.

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