From church to church around Vilnius – the Orthodox in Lithuania host the Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa

With the blessing and invitation of the Orthodox Metropolitan of Vilnius and all of Lithuania, His Excellency Archbishop Innocent, the Icon of Czestochowa, travelling “from Ocean to Ocean in Defense of Life”,  visited the Orthodox churches in Vilnius on August 9th and 10th, 2012.  The celebrations began by bringing the Icon into the Cathedral Church in a procession, accompanied by the singing of the Hymn in honor of the Mother of God, where the Divine Liturgy followed immediately.

Vilnius – at “Aušros Vartai”, the Gate of Dawn

In the afternoon hours, on August 9th, the Icon of Czestochowa had arrived in Vilnius.  In front of the church of St. Therese, the faithful gathered in prayer, awaiting the image of the Black Madonna.  Everyone arriving at the church could not help but visit the Gate of Dawn – a holy shrine for all the residents in the capital.

Kaišiadorys desires to be the City of the Culture of Life

In the morning of August 9th, the Icon of Czestochowa, accompanied by many vehicles, arrived from Kaunas to Kaišiadorys.  At the edge of the town, many people awaited the holy Icon in their cars marked with flags and pro-life banners.  The motorcade passed through the city center, escorted by the police.  Our Lady entered the cathedral square accompanied by the ringing of the church bells.

Kaunas – inside the oldest church and at the Cathedral

On August 9th, before 11:00 in the morning, nearby the Chapel of the Annunciation in Šiluva on the border of the Archdiocese of Kaunas, Our Lady of Czestochowa was being greeted by Sigitas Tamkevičius SJ, the metropolitan of Kaunas, assisted by several priests.  A large group of young people and scouts from Jonava arrived for the greeting ceremony and assisted Our Lady on the way to the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where the Archbishop presided over the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

At Calvary in Żemaitija

Early in the morning, on August 7th, the Icon of Czestochowa arrived from Šiauliai at Kuršėnai, where she was being awaited by the representatives of the Family Center in Tėlsai and the parishioners of St. John the Baptist Parish.  The scouts brought the Icon into the church.  In this manner, Our Lady began her visit in the Tėlsai Diocese, in Lithuania.

Our Lady in Żemaitija

The city of Panevėžis said good-bye to Our Lady of Czestochowa, as the faithful formed a large and noisy crowd with their bishop Jonas Kauneckas at the forefront.  Our Blessed Mother began her pilgrimage through little old towns in the Diocese of Šiauliai.  The first such quaint town was Šeduva.  The Icon was greeted there by the Pastor.

To a Hospice via Panevėžis

On Monday morning, the 6th of August, on the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Icon of Czestochowa stopped at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The small church was already full at 8:00 o’clock in the morning. Father Pavel Andżejevski celebrated Holy Mass and also gave the homily. After Mass, many of the faithful gathered had remained in quiet, individual contemplation before the countenance of the Black Madonna. Afterwards, during the devotional prayers, Father Rimantas Kaunietis reminded the faithful about the history of the Icon of Czestochowa.

In the afternoon, the Icon was carried in a solemn procession about 2 km through the city of Panevėžis to a hospice chapel, wherein Bishop Jonas Kauneckas solemnly received and greeted Our Blessed Mother in the Icon of Czestochowa.

Between Latvia and Lithuania – a blessing on the bridge

On Sunday, August 5th, the Icon of Our Blessed Mother participated in the feast celebrations of Our Miraculous Lady – the Protectress of Latvian Families in the shrine in Skaistkalne that were led by Bishop Eduard Pavlovski from Jelgava. The Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation (received by a few younger and older people) was given during the Holy Mass there. Four different groups of pilgrims from different dioceses of Latvia participated in this Celebration.

After all, we all are serving one cause!

Early morning, on August 4th, Our Lady travelled almost 150 km along the Baltic shore and arrived in the third largest city of the Latvian Courland – Liepaja, known as the “Windy City”.  The beautiful St. Joseph’s Cathedral is located in the heart of the city, close to the market and the tram station. 

Morning in Orthodox Churches of Riga – evening in Kurland

On Friday, 3 August, the Orthodox Church in Riga, at the invitation of Aleksander, Metropolitan of Riga and all of Latvia, hosted the Czestochowa Icon. The Icon visited three Orthodox churches in the center of Riga. A constant stream of people who wanted to venerate the Mother of God, came to the churches.