the cult of the virgin mary and its images in lithuania
ACTĄ ACADEMIAE ARTIUM VILNENSIS125
THE CULT OF THE VIRGIN MARY AND ITS IMAGES
IN LITHUANIA FROM THE MIDDLE AGES UNTIL
THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
Central European University, Budapest
The Marian cult established during the Counter Reformation in Western Europe reached Lithuania as well,
The veneration of Marian images traces back to the
where it was adopted and developed. Lithuania's histo-
early Christian times, when the Fourth Ecumenical
Council (Ephesus 431) proclaimed the Virgin "the true
rical, geographical, and religious situation added some
peculiar features to the cult of the Virgin Mary. This
Mother of God" (Theotokos) 2 . From this time on, her
thesis is a historical and iconographical analysis of the
images were after those of Christ, and even more they
became equal to them3. The variety of the Virgin's ico-
miraculous images of the Virgin Mary in Lithuania from
the Middle Ages until the seventeenth century. These
nographic types in the Eastern Church, and the large
images were venerated like Byzantine icons; however,
quantity of her images in the West show the importance of the Virgin's cult in both faiths.
The cult of the Byzantine icons of the Virgin Mary in
they are not icons, but some of their prototypes derive
from Byzantium and sometimes the images were modified with new iconographic features. Their iconograp-
the West started during the crusades to Constantinople,
hy and their veneration make them similar to Byzanti-
when her most venerated images were imported directly
ne icons. These images, repeating and imitating
from East to West4 . The Eastern icon became an archety-
Byzantine icons' prototypes were particularly widespre-
pe for numerous Italian artists of Dugento and Trecento,
as well as for the painters of the fifteenth century, when
ad in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania at the end of the
sixteenth, and the beginning of the seventeenth centu-
the copying of them became popular 5 . After the Council
ry. They were called miraculous and were directly con-
of Trent, the Virgin's iconography and veneration, based
nected with the cult of the Virgin Mary.
on Eastern icon tradition, was well established in the West .
Numerous copies of the most venerated icons spread
throughout Western Europe. These copies resembled Greek icon painting in the iconography as well as in prototy7
During this period, of course, there were many of
them in small villages as well as towns; however, many
of these images did not survive until present day and it
is known only from written sources such as inventories
pe . These images had the same function of the mediator
of the churches, that they existed. For others, which
as the icons had. However, if in the Middle Ages the cult
still exist in the churches of the small town or villages, it
of images was managed locally, during the Counter Reformation it became a matter of the whole Church, whose
is sometimes impossible to find their origin and dating,
because the documents of the churches, where they are
identity was dependent on the image. The monastic orders supported the veneration of Marian images.8
located, or even the votive offerings testifying to their
miraculous power, were lost, but they are still called mi-
raculous by local people. It is only possible to state according to their iconographic features to which period
to attribute them. Therefore, these images are still awaiting the attention of restorers and art historians. Many
of the other images are mostly from the late seventeenth
to the nineteenth century; they already represent the
later result of the spreading of the ideas of the Counter
Reformation as well as the multiplication of copies of
especially venerated images.
For the analysis of my research I have chosen eleven most venerated images of the Virgin Mary dating from the fifteenth to the first half of the seventeenth century from the present day territory of
Lithuania. These eleven examples, which I have chosen, represent the very beginning of the Counter Reformation in Lithuania. The cult of some of these
images has been directly connected with many historical events, which happened in the Grand Duchy
of Lithuania during this period.
The cult of the Virgin Mary in Lithuania can be
divided into three periods alongside the development
of Christianity: the first period until the Reformation;
the second - Protestantism, and the third - the Counter Reformation. The period until the Reformation is
very controversial and vague. The main reason for this
is the absence of both written as well as iconographic
sources. Except for a few sculptures, the altar paintings
from the earliest churches, which were mostly wooden
and destroyed by fire did not survive. Those images that
survived were totally overpainted. However, the historical and religious development of this period also shows
the development of Christianity as well as the cult of
the Virgin Mary. The most important written sources
are privileges9 related to church foundations because
according to the titles of the churches one can guess
about the role of the Virgin in this period. The Livonian chronicles10 is important for the analysis of the
introduction of Christianity in on the Eastern Baltic
coast as well as for the beginning of the cult of the Virgin. This chronicle informs us on the missionary orders
and their function during the crusade of the German
Orders to the Baltic lands.
The main source for the analysis of the situation of
the Catholic church and the cult of the Virgin Mary
during the Reformation are the twelve letters written in
1551 by the Lutheran pastor, Martynas Mažvydas to
the Duke of Prussia, Albrecht. 11
The analysis of the period from the sixteenth - seventeenth centuries compared with the first period contains a larger source of information, both written and
iconographic. This is not only because this period is closer to nowadays, but also because Christianity developed in Lithuania during this period as well as the cult of
the Virgin Mary.
However, this source material also contains some problems. The church inventories from the seventeenth and
the eighteenth century provide little information about
the images themselves. They usually mention only a list
of images, which are in the churches, but do not describe them. Their importance is that these inventories mention gifts offered to the venerated images: votive offerings, silver coverings, and crowns. These inventories
provide insights into the cult of a certain image and
allow us to analyse when it was covered in silver.
The acts of the church visitations from the nineteenth century give very detailed information about the
images, describing them as well as providing a church
history. However, due to their late date they are not such
valuable primary sources. Sometimes, these acts repeated the information from the inventories of earlier periods, adding information. It is necessary to be careful
with the facts which these church documents provide
because sometimes the argumentation of such information is based mostly on legends and literary imagination,
which were characteristic for the nineteenth century12.
Another problem concerning this source material is terminology13 in the description of the images. For example, the inventory of the Dominican monastery in Raseiniai 14 refers to "icons"15 in naming the images of the
church. However, it is hard to believe that in the Dominican monastery and church there were only icons in the
modern sense of this word, but not images.16 This causes confusion because there is no possibility to know if
there were any icons in this monastery.
Another group of primary sources is the documentation detailing the restoration of the paintings. These
documents and restoration analyses are certainly very
important for the dating of images and for the their
painting school definition. They also help to understand how and when the image was overpainted. The
changing in the iconography is very significant for the
and Ouspenski33 and the recent studies of Western Eu-
study of a certain period.
ropean scholars, especially Hans Belting 34 , Gerhard
Narrative sources written in the seventeenth century
by A.W.Koiałowicz , S. Mankiewicz , and G. Gump19
WolP 5 , Hans Aurenhamme 36 , and David Freedberg37
are of particular importance for the comparative analy-
penberg have been of great importance. They were contemporaries with the veneration of these images and wrote
sis of Marian iconography.
The following discussion of this topic will be divi-
a history of these images and their cult. However, these
ded into two chapters. The second chapter will consi-
descriptions mostly concentrate on the cult which is very
important for the study of Marian images of the sevente-
der the development of Christianity until the Reformation in relation to the Marian cult. It will describe the
enth century. The description of the iconography of these
problems concerning the Christianisation of the coun-
images is uninformative: po Grecku malowana^, pietum
try, as well as the main influences on this development.
graeco habitu, or Ruthenico more. Another problem of abo-
The third chapter, which is divided into three sections
ve mentioned narrative sources is that during this period
will analyse the religious development in Lithuania du-
they intended to promote the cult of certain images; the-
ring the Counter Reformation, which also coincided
with the rise in the cult of the Virgin Mary. The first
refore, sometimes their descriptions were similar to panegyrics of the paintings.
section provides a general historical, cultural, and reli-
Narrative literature in the nineteenth and early twentieth century consist of mainly historical works which
gious background to this period. The second is a discussion of the cult of the Virgin Mary and the role of
also analysed the cult of the Virgin. The most impor-
her images in society. The third section is an analysis of
tant authors of such studies were Michał Baliński
the images themselves, which is based on the catalogue
Jan Kurczewski 22 . Another group of writers such as Sa-
appended to this thesis. The catalogue is a separate part
dok Barącz and Alojiz Fridrich , dedicated their work
to selected miraculous images.
of the thesis, which provides iconographic analysis of
the eleven most venerated images of the Virgin.
However, the earlier literature was mainly about the
cult of the Virgin. From the end of nineteenth century
and the beginning of the twentieth century research was
II. THE MARIAN CULT IN LITHUANIA FROM
THE MIDDLE AGES UNTIL THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
focused on iconography. This was done mainly by Polish art historians such as Mieczysław Skrudlik 25 . They
This chapter is a presentation of the development of
particularly focused on the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy from Aušra Gate (Dawn).
the Marian cult in Lithuania from the fourteenth until
One of the most important studies of Lithuanian
try and the situation between the Latin West and the
images was done by the priest Juozas Vaišnora , who
the sixteenth century. Late christianisation of the coun-
collected a great deal of information about each venera-
Orthodox East caused a particular religious situation
from the Middle Ages to the sixteenth century. Moreo-
ted image in Lithuania. His research was not only on
ver, in this period people of various faith lived here: pa-
the images but also the analysis of the development of
the Marian cult in Lithuania. Historian Zenonas Ivins-
gans, Orthodox Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Jews,
dedicated some chapters to the Virgin Mary in his
study of the development of Christianity in Lithuania.
Faith was one of the most important factors which
strongly influenced not only the society of the Grand
The focus of these authors was on the veneration of the
but it played a very significant role in its cultural deve-
Duchy of Lithuania (hereafter the GDL) in this period,
During recent years more and more scholars are in-
lopment. The Marian cult is indeed only one aspect of
volved in the study of Marian iconography in Lithua-
the Catholic faith; however, it has an influence on cer-
nia, such as Maria Kałamajska-Saeed28, Laima Šinkūnaitė29, and Rūta Vitkauskienė 30 . For this thesis the
works of the Russian scholars Kondakov31, Lazarev32,
tain periods and certain places throughout the Middle
Ages. It was also very significant in Lithuania's historical and religious development until the sixteenth centu-
ту. Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to provide
the peculiarities of Lithuania's religious situation in this
120248. The second Teutonic order, Fratres hospitalis
sanctae Mariae Theutonicorum lerosolimitari, was settled
period and to discuss the reasons which caused the for-
in Prussia in 123049. Later, these two orders acted together with the Augustinian and the Cistercian monks50,
mation of the Marian cult.
Lithuania was the last country in Europe to be christianised. The Catholic faith came to Lithuania, having
for example: the Livonian chronicles mentions that in
1208 the army together with the Augustinian abbot The-
hip of the Virgin Mary, which started after the christia-
odoricus and provost Engelbert captured the castle of
the Selen (the Baltic pagan tribe) where the banner of
nisation of the country in 1387. The first King, who
the Virgin was risen in the tower of the castle, then, the
adopted Christianity in 1251, was Mindaugas (Mendog)38. Though he was baptised in 1251, and crowned
abbot and the provost together with other priests instructed them the Catholic faith and baptised 51 .
King of Lithuania in 1253, this did not result in the
christianisation of the country 39 . The North Eastern
For the Teutonic Knights the Virgin Mary was the
symbol of their opposition to enemies. Her cult served
part of Lithuania was christianised in 1387 by King of
to strengthen the Order's political position and autho-
Poland Jogaila (Jagiełło) and his cousin Duke Vytautas
rity in Prussia. The idea that the Teutonic Knights iden-
(Witold), and the Western part of the country known
tified themselves with the Virgin Mary resulted in the
as Samogitia 40 was christianised in 1417, by initiative
concept of Teutonic Prussia as the Virgin Mary's property and her patronage over the Teutonic Order52. The-
already highly developed the cult and forms of the wors-
of Grand Duke Vytautas . In spite of the late christianisation of the country, in the two preceding centuries
the Lithuanian nobility and their followers had already
been in close contact with Christianity: Roman as well
as Orthodox . From the very beginning these two faiths
were important in the country and both determined
the peculiarity of the veneration of the Virgin Mary.
A very important role for the acceptance and the
popularity of the cult of the Virgin Mary in this early
refore, in early 1202, the bishop of Livonia, Albert of
Buxtehude adopted for his country the name "the land
of Mary," and this title of Terra Afarianawas bestowed
by the Fourth Lateran Council in 121553- The motif of
the Teutonic Knights as Mary's defenders appeared in
their religious literature at the end of the thirteenth century, and this idea was used by the Order's propaganda
until the beginning of the sixteenth century 54 . Certain-
period was the geographical position of Lithuania bet-
ly, this ideology inspired naming the castles in Mary's
ween Livonia and Prussia, where a strong cult of the
honour: three Marienburgs, two Marienwerders, Frau-
Virgin Mary had already been introduced by the men-
enburg, and Marienhausen 55 as well as churches and
monasteries dedicated to the glory of the Virgin Mary
dicant, the Augustinian and the Cistercian orders, and
two Teutonic Orders.43 Livonia, which today compri-
founded by the Teutonic Order56.
The development of Marian iconography was also
ses Latvia and Estonia, was Lithuania's main rival for
the Eastern Baltic lands in the late Middle Ages44. At
related to the Teutonic Order's patronage. For exam-
the end of the twelfth century the Cistercians and the
ple, the most popular theme was Mary's Triumph (Glo-
Augustinians did missionary work in Livonia and Prus-
rification), the most significant iconographic type was
sia45. The first missionary and first Livonian bishop was
Mary's Coronation by Christ57. The expeditions to fight
the Augustinian Mainhard who founded the monastery
of the Virgin Mary, near the parish church Ikiškilė (Lat.
in Lithuania were also related to the feasts of Virgin
Mary58. Such expeditions became a commemoration of
Ykescola), sometime around 1184. In 1201 it was trans-
these days. The consequence of this was that opposition
ferred to Riga by Albert of Buxtehude , bishop of Livonia; He dedicated this monastery together with the
to the Teutonic Knights was the same as opposition to
the Virgin Mary. The battle against the Order on Ma-
cathedral to the Glory of the Virgin Mary47. The same
ry's day was interprated as agression59.
Livonian bishop Albert with the help of the Cistercian
After the christianisation of Lithuania, the first chur-
monk Theodoricus founded the military order of the
ches founded by the King of Poland, Jogaila and the
Sword Brothers, Fratres militiae Christi de Livonia, in
Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas were mostly dedi-
cated to the Virgin Mary60. The early Marian cult in
Lithuania, particularly, was linked to Grand Duke Vytautas. This is possible to notice from his foundation of
and privileges for churches and monasteries, including
the monastery of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary
in Old Trakai (1405) and the church of the Visitation
of the Virgin Mary in New Trakai (1409) 61 . Although
the number of churches built in the fifteenth century
was not very large, "the largest part of them were dedicated to the Virgin Mary... The Virgin Mary was the
Patroness for every third church", founded by the Grand
Duke62. Another very important fact, which shows that
Grand Duke Vytautas strongly propagated the Marian
cult is his coronation date, the 8th of Sepember, - the
feast of the Nativity of the Virgin63. According to the
historian Zenonas Ivinskis, one explanation for his acceptance of the Marian cult could be that he wanted to
stop the conflicts with the Teutonic Order, because even
after the christianisation of the country the Teutonic
Order continued to attack and spread various negative
information to Western countries against Lithuania. Vytautas wanted to show that Lithuania was as Catholic as
Livonia64. Therefore, the only way to oppose the Teutonic Knights was to establish the cult of the Virgin
Mary in the same way as it was developed in the territories under the rule of the Order.
A different explanation could also be that the Grand
Duke propagated the Marian cult very much, following
the model of Western countries, particularly Poland,
Hungary, and Bohemia where the veneration of the Virgin was widespread and this Western experience came
together with the christianisation of the country. First,
Catholic feasts were introduced which were celebrated
in the whole Catholic church and others which were
celebrated in Poland65. Bishoprics were also founded in
Vilnius and Medininkai 66 . Moreover, new Catholic
churches built in the fifteenth century needed priests.
Therefore, many students from Lithuania went to study at the Universities of Cracow and Prague. At the
same time many of the clergy from Poland came to do
their missionary work in Lithuania 67 . Therefore, they
brought the Catholic traditions which had already existed in Europe in this period.
The missionary work of the mendicant orders, the
Franciscans and the Dominicans, which started from
the middle of the thirteenth century during the reign
of King Mindaugas, was also very important for the
Marian cult in Lithuania. At the beginning, they came
mostly from Livonia to Lithuania, and they were particularly important in the court of the Grand Duke when
the Franciscan Friedrich von Perenstein (1304-1340)
became the archbishop of Riga69. Later in the fourteenth century until 1341, the Franciscans mostly came
from Saxony and after 1342 from Bohemia70. From
the letters of Gediminas (Giedymin) it is known that
in the early fourteenth century the main missionaries
in Lithuania were the Franciscans and the Dominicans;
there even was a rivalry between them 71 . In the early
fifteenth century, in 1405, Grand Duke Vytautas settled Benedictines in Old Trakai coming from Tynec
monastery near Cracow72. These orders, introducing
the Catholic liturgy along with liturgical books and manuscripts, were propagated the veneration of the Virgin Mary in Lithuania. One part of the liturgical books
was brought from the monastic centres by missionaries, the other part was illuminated and copied in the
local monasteries, for example, in the Benedictine monastery of Old Trakai73. The manuscripts were mostly
copied by the Franciscans; there was, for example, one
scriptorium in Kaunas Bernardine (Franciscan
At the same time, the Orthodox faith also had major influence on the veneration of the Virgin Mary. During the late Middle Ages, the Slavic lands were the targets of Lithuanian attacks. From the middle of the
thirteenth century, the territory of the Catholic Mindaugas' 75 consisted not only of Lithuania proper76, but
also of Slavic lands as well (part of the Black Ruthenian
territory (present day Belarus'). Later, from the fourteenth century till the sixteenth century, the state of the
GDL comprised also the North Western part of Red
Ruthenia (Ukraine) 77 . Therefore, because of its expansion into Ruthenian territories Lithuania was also nr
der the influence of Orthodoxy. Catholicism and Orthodoxy had deep religious implications which were
important for the veneration of the Virgin Mary as well
as for the general religious development.
The Orthodox faith was quite accepted among the
Lithuanians because the Orthodox Christians were not
aggressive against the pagans compared with Catholics,
for example the Teutonic Order78. The historian Jerzy
Ochmański reported that in the fourteenth century in
jects mixed with the elements of the late Gothic and
Vilnius there were twelve Orthodox churches and one
The Orthodox faith also brought to the GDL the
monastery; and there were only four Catholic churches
and one monastery7'.
tradition of the veneration of icons. From late antique
The presence of Orthodox churches and monasteries in this period produced Orthodox liturgical books
customs the Orthodox Christians took over the veneration of the icons of the Virgin Mary. Albertas VijukasKojelavičius (Wojciech Wiiuk Koiałowicz) describes in
his History of Lithuani^ the parley for peace in Mos-
for the worship. It is known that in Vilnius and Trakai
the Gospels were written for the Orthodox church of
cow, in 1570, where the Moscovian noblemen asked to
the Mother of God, and the Psalter for St. Nicolas
exchange prisoners for the icon of the Virgin Mary,
church . The most important manuscript from the thir-
which was famous for the miracles in the Grand Duchy
teenth-fourteenth century is the The Gospels of Lav-
of Moscow but had been brought to Vilnius by Queen
ryshev . According to tradition, these Gospels were written in the monastery of Lavryshev near Novgorodok on
the River Neman, which was founded by the son of
Elena, the wife of King Alexander (1492-1506). After
her death this icon was transferred to the Vilnius Orthodox church of the Virgin Mary, which later was na-
King Mindaugas, Vaišvilkas (Voishelk), duke of Novgorodok, who accepted the Orthodox faith and was bap-
med after the Holy Trinity 90 . From this description it is
clear that at the end of the fifteenth century in Vilnius
tised with the name of Elisey Lavryshevsky82. He foun-
there was the Orthodox church of the Virgin Mary in
ded the monastery of the Mother of God in 1262. Later,
which was an old and very venerated icon that had alre-
this monastery was called after the name of the founder.
ady been famous in the Grand Duchy of Moscow91.
It became popular among the Lithuanian nobility; here
Icons had already been used among the Orthodox
they accepted the Orthodox faith and were baptised with
Slavs of the GDL as well as among Lithuanians who
The Orthodox faith was accepted by Lithuanian dukes because of the expansion in to the Slavic lands, and
accepted the Orthodox faith, or through the marriage
with Orthodoxs 92 . The chancellor Albertas Goštautas
there they became rulers as well as allies of the Grand
Duke. The same way was followed by the other lieute-
grandmother who was the duchess of Trobai (Kniagynia Trabskaja). Her testament of 1510 mentions two
nans of King Mindaugas: Tautvilas ruled over Polotsk,
icons covered with silver casing 93 .
(Albrycht Gasztold) received an inheritance from his
Vykintas over Vitebsk, and Edivydas over Smolensk .
Another document, which testifies that Albertas
Historians call the reign of the Dukes of Vaišelga and
Goštautas venerated icons, even though he was Catholic,
S varnas at the end of the thirteenth century the Golden
is his testament, preserved as a part in the inventory of the
Age for the Orthodox 85 . Another way of spread of the
Orthodox faith was through marriages. For example,
chapel of the Goštautas family of Vilnius Cathedral in
the foreign diplomacy of Grand Duke Gediminas was
1551, where he described the icon of the Virgin Mary
covered with very precious silver casing, and he asked item
based on the marriages of his numerous daughters. He
tabulam imaginisgloriosissimae Virginis Matris Mariae Do-
established a network of marriage alliances with his ri-
minae nostrae, grecaepictam cum lapilis pretiosis et margare-
vals in Poland as well as in Ruthenia .
The influence of the Orthodox faith on the GDL's
culture continued in the later period as well. Lithuanian historians think that during the period of the thirteenth- fifteenth centuries the Orthodox influence on
the GDL's culture was stronger than the Catholic one87.
Therefore, the confluence of the two faiths caused a
very particular syncretic culture in the fifteenth century; for example, Orthodox churches or liturgical ob-
tis, earn volo poni et collocari in capite sepulchri meP^. Therefore, Orthodox faith and the veneration of icons had
also great importance for the cult of the Virgin Mary.
While the Orthodox faith spread in Lithuania, Catholicism was popularised by the Dominicans in the Slavic territories of the GDL95. There, Catholic churches
and the bishoprics of Kiev (1405), Vladimir (1400),
Lutsk (1427) were founded by the Dominicans. In the
sixteenth century, the Bernardines did missionary work.
The main aim of these missions by Catholics was to get
influence on the Orthodox of the GDL96.
This ambiguity of Catholic and Orthodox Christia-
priests who arrived from Poland, were neither educated, nor moral. Therefore, the weak Catholic church
was not able to resist the against the influential and edu-
nity in the GDL caused the idea of a church union which
existed from the time of Grand Duke Vytautas but was
cated Protestant nobility107.
The most critical period for Catholicism was the mid-
realised only in the late sixteenth century 97 .
dle of the sixteenth century. However, one document
In the sixteenth century the Marian cult in the Grand
testifies that the Marian cult still existed in this difficult
Duchy of Lithuania as in whole Western Europe was
disrupted by the Reformation. The Reformation in Lit-
period, and was not stopped absolutely by the Reformation. This is a letter of the Lutheran pastor in Prus-
huania first came from Prussia, where the last grand master of the Teutonic Order, Albrecht of Brandenburg con-
sia, Martynas Mažvydas (Martinus Mosswidius. Paro-
versed to Protestantism and in 1 525 incorporated the
chus Regnetensis], written in 1551 to duke Albrecht of
Prussia. In this letter, the Lutheran pastor complains to
the Duke that he has many difficulties in converting his
Order into the Prussian Principality 9 8 . There is no doubt
that the Protestant University of Königsberg played a
parishioners to the Lutheran faith because they, in spite
very significant role for the development of the Refor-
of his force, followed the doctrina Papistamm. Moreo-
mation in Lithuania . The ideas of the Reformation
also derived from Poland and Germany and mostly
ver, very few of them come to his service paucissimi enim
adsunt. Finally, worst of all they go to celebrate the feast
through the aristocracy. The children of noble families
Marine Virginisgloriosae in Szidllowo (Šiluva), in Samo-
went to study at Western Universities, particularly, to
the universities of Leipzig, Heidelberg, where Protestantism was strong, and they were influenced by these
gitia, or for their marriages and for the other Catholic
feasts go to Lithuania to the most famous Catholic churches in Švėkšna, Batakiai, and Jurbarkas 1 0 8 . From this
ideas. In the sixteenth century almost all the nobility of
letter it is clear that Catholicism in Lithuania was not
Lithuania became Protestant 100 . During the reign of
absolutely destroyed, and it is known that at least in the
King Sigismund the Old (1506-1548) the Reforma-
middle of the sixteenth century the shrine of the Virgin
tion was restricted by the king
. However, the situa-
Mary of Šiluva was quite famous.
tion changed when King Sigismund II Augustus (1544-
From the evidence discussed in this chapter, it is cle-
1572) became the ruler and Protestantism had no
ar that the development of the Marian cult was influen-
difficulties being spread 102 .
ced by both the Latin West and Orthodox East; which
lojus Radvila the Black (Mikołaj Radziwiłł "Czarny")
The most active and strongest Protestant was Mika-
side was stronger, depended on the GDL's political
orientation as the historian Alvydas Nikžentaitis noti-
(1515-1565103. He was the richest and most influential nobleman, against whose actions King Sigismund
ced109. These two cultural influences were equally important in the formation of the Marian cult, which, not
August did not protest 104 . One reason for this was that
really stopped by the Reformation, highly developed du-
the King was married to Barbora Radvilaitė (Barbara
ring the triumph of the Counter Reformation in the
Radziwiłł), the cousin of Mikalojus Radvila the Black.
seventeenth century, when Catholicism finally took a
Therefore, when Radvila accepted Reformation, all the
decisive position in Lithuania. This will be discussed in
nobility followed his leadership for political, social, and
religious reasons 105 . The Reformation was also accep-
the following chapter.
ted by some Catholic priests, and even Orthodoxs
III. THE CULT OF THE VIRGIN MARY AND ITS IMAGES
IN THE SIXTEENTH AND THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES
The main reason which caused the widespread of
Reformation in the GDL was the weak roots of Catho-
The previous chapter discussed the christianisation
licism: firstly, the hierarchy of the church was still very
of the GDL from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centu-
weak and passive; secondly, the immorality of the priests,
ries. A general background of the religious situation was
as the pope's legate, Commendoni, noticed that the
provided presenting the main peculiarities of christiani-
sation which was also related to the development of the
Marian cult. This development was disrupted by strong
Reformation in the middle of the sixteenth century. However, almost at the same time the Counter Reformation reached the GDL. This religious movement was
very important for the consolidation of Catholic faith
in Lithuania. The veneration of the Virgin Mary and
her images was only one priority of the Counter Reformation but it was very significant in Lithuania's religious life. The cultural context of the GDL during this
period presented to the Counter Reformation's movement some peculiarities which reflected also on the veneration of the Virgin Mary. This will be provided and
discussed in this chapter which is divided in three parts:
the first part will present the analysis of the GDL's historical and religious context; the second one will be a
discussion of the Marian cult, and the third will analyse
the iconography of the Marian images.
III.l. The historical and religious context in the
sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries
This period represents an active religious life in the
GDL. It coincided with the beginning of the Counter
Reformation which was caused by the events in the
GDL, especially the Union of Lublin 1 1 0 . It was also a
period of transition for the GDL's economic and social
development because the state had a possibility to integrate into the economic and cultural life of Western
Countries. This certainly initiated closer contacts with
Western Europe; therefore, the Counter Reformation
from Western Europe reached the GDL as well. However, it came to a very controversial society based on different social groups and their religion. The cult of the
Virgin Mary being one priority of the Counter Reformation represented not only the triumph over the Reformation in Lithuania but also the rapprochement of
the different social groups of the GDL's society.
The inforcement of the Counter Reformation in the
GDL is possible to be attributed to the period when the
most important protector of Protestants Mikalojus Radvila the Black died in 1565 1 1 1 . The religious situation
started to change particularly after the Lublin Union,
because at the same date, in 1569, the bishop of Vilnius
Valerijonas Protasevičius (Valerian Protasewicz) invited
the Jesuits from Poland where they had been settled in
1564 by bishop Stanislaw Hosius (later cardinal) 112 . The
initiatives of Jesuits were also supported by King Stefan
Bathory (1570-586), who founded the Vilnius Jesuit
college to a university and confirmed its foundation in
1579 113 .
For the aristocracy, the conversion to Catholicism of
the four sons of Radvila the Black had great impact: Albertas (Albrycht), Stanislovas (Stanisław), Mikalojus Kristupas (Našlaitėlis) (Mikołaj Krzysztof "Sierotka" (Little
Orphan), and Jurgis (Jerzy)114. Other noble families followed after them, such as the Sapiega (Sapieha), the
Chodkevičiai (Chodkiewicz), and the Tiškevičiai (Tyszkewicz). Even some of the GDL's Orthodox converted
to Catholicism as well: Čartoriskiai (Czartoryški), Oginskiai (Oginski), and Krošinskiai (Krasiński) 115 .
The most important result of the Counter Reformation was the Church Union in the Polish Lithuanian
Commonwealth . This idea of the Church Union was
also supported by the king of the Commonwealth, Sigismund III Vasa (1587-1632) and the GDL's chancellor Leonas Sapiega (Leo Sapieha) . The Jesuits were also very significant for it because they were the main
advisers of the king 1 1 8 . This union showed the intention of Catholicism to penetrate into the Orthodox territories and subordinate them to the papacy 119 .
This period also coincided with the activity of the
richest noble families,magnates, such as the Pacas (Рас),
Sapiegas (Sapieha), and Radvilas (Radziwiłł)120. Their
cultural orientation was to Western countries such as
Poland, the Netherlands, and Italy. Particularly Italy
started to play an important role among Lithuanian aristocracy already in the sixteenth century; they claimed
themselves to have been direct "descent from Roman
emigres'^21. Therefore, their wish was to maintain closer contacts with Italy. The universities of Padua and
Bologna became popular among them . On the other
hand, there were branches of the magnate families who
oriented to other countries because of their confession:
Protestants travelled to the Netherlands, Germany, and
England. For example, the Radvilas family originating
from Biržai remained Calvinist during the whole seven123
teenth century . Noble families, who supported the
Counter Reformation, were the main founders of the
Baroque style churches and monasteries 124 .
However, a high number of the GDL's populace were
middle class-boyars125, whose lifestyle was very different from the cosmopolitan aristocracy. If the nobility
was oriented to Western countries, boyars focused on
local traditions126. They were the main conductors of
Polish culture in the GDL, which after the Lublin
Union, had a great influence on it 127 . However, it is
important to stress that, although the Lublin Union made close contacts with Polish as well as Western culture,
unlike Poland the GDL still remained between the Latin West and Orthodox East, and its cultural processes
represented the confluence of Western and Hastern traditions 128 .
Sarmatism , which originated in Poland, was very
soon adopted by the Lithuanian boyars, and its features
of traditionalism, conservatism, and exaggerated religiosity with many rituals were characteristic for them. On
the other hand, they were also strongly influenced by
Slavic traditions because Lithuanian boyars followed the
court rules of Ruthenian nobility, so, they liked luxury
and many ceremonies130.
This social strata of the seventeenth century still
maintained "medieval" lifestyle which was certainly
strongly reflected in the veneration of the Virgin Mary
and her images.
Moreover, paganism was still alive even in the sixteenth-seventeenth centuries not only among the peasantry but also among the boyars, especially in Samogitia.
This fact was confirmed when the pagan sanctuaries from
this period were excavated131, and by the visitors who
wrote their reports about Lithuania to Rome132. Sometimes, the faith of Lithuanian populace was expressed
in syncretic religion: a mixture of paganism and Christianity 133 . Such mixture in some places existed even in
the middle of the seventeenth century, for example in
the small village of Ugioniai in Samogitia, where at the
same time a holy spring was venerated, which had miraculous power, and the shrine of the Virgin Mary,
built in the middle of the seventeenth century. This place
is famous for two miraculous images of the Virgin Mary. One is in the church, another in the wooden chapel
near the spring 134 .
The end of the sixteenth century was also a period
when the orders of the Dominicans, the Franciscans,
the Augustinians and the Discalced Carmelites started
to recover, and their activity together with the Uniates
was significant for setting the cult of the Virgin Mary
during the entire seventeenth century. However, the
most active order were the Jesuits, who, together with
the Church hierarchy, totally reorganised the cultural
and religious life in the GDL. The educational system
in Lithuania was in the hands of the Jesuits because of
their foundation of colleges and, as already mentioned,
they ran the University. This provided Catholicism to
influence upon the intellectual development of both the
gentry and magnates 135 . They developed the art of rhetoric, theatre and various theatrical processions, which
were very popular during whole the seventeenth century 13 . These elements, which presented an understandable language for the major part of the society, were
also used by them for popularising the cult of the Virgin Mary, which was one priority of the Jesuits' activity. However, under their leadership the other orders followed as well, including the Dominicans and the
Franciscans. This resulted in a strong development of
the Marian cult, particularly in the Lithuanian parts of
In conclusion, the Marian cult, which certainly was a
result of a strong influence of Western culture, was introduced by the monastic orders; however, it reached a basis
of multi-layered and syncretic culture of paganism, Protestantism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy. The Church
Union derived from Lithuania's situation between the
Catholic West and Orthodox East, which also influenced the veneration of the Marian images in Lithuania in
this period. On the other hand, the strong cult of the
Virgin Mary was a result of the victorious Counter Reformation, and also represents a final christianisation of
the country; moreover, the aim of this was also to unify
two faiths: Catholicism and Orthodoxy.
III. 2. The cult of the Virgin Mary
This part of the chapter will present a discussion of
the cult of the Virgin Mary, which was mostly promoted by different religious orders, including the Dominicans, the Discalced Carmelites and especially the Jesuits.
It was also supported by the Church hierarchy, nobility, and the king. Many ceremonies, processions, pilgrimages, and theatrical events were used for the introduc-
tion of the Marian cult among the populace; however,
the cult of images played the most significant role in
which were founded by the orders as well as by guilds' 4 '.
this process, and these images will be the focus of this
Such pie congregationeswerc described by bishops in their
reports to Rome 1 ' 6 . In a report from 1646, Jurgis
Until the seventeenth century, as mentioned in pre-
Tiškevičius (Jerzv Tyszkewicz), bishop of Samogitia,
mentioned that there was a confraternity of the Virgin
vious chapters, there were not enough Catholic chur-
Mary of the Rosary, founded by the Dominicans near
ches in the country, especially in small towns and villa-
almost every church within the area 147 . This confrater-
ges. Therefore, the "Renaissance of Catholicism" from
nity was the most popular in Lithuania. The first con-
the very beginning coincided with the foundation of
fraternities of the Rosary in the country are known from
churches and monasteries 137 . In the remote countrysi-
the end of the sixteenth century for the first time were
mentioned in a report by the bishop of Samogitia, Mer-
de many Catholic churches were built for the first time
only in the early seventeenth century, for example: the
church of the Visitation in Tverai (1614), or the church
kelis Giedraitis (Melchior Giedroyc) (l574-1609)148.
Later, in 1626, the Dominicans founded a confraterni-
of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Tytuvėnai (І6І4) 138 .
ty of the Immaculata, in Cracow; in Lithuania this con-
Many monasteries were founded near parish chur-
fraternity existed as well, but there is no evidence that
ches as well, including for example a Bernardine mo-
the Dominicans were responsible for it 149 . This religious society in Lithuania was mostly connected with the
nastery in Tytuvėnai (1613)139, a Dominican in Raseiniai (1642) °, and a Benedictine in Pivašiūnai
(1624) . From the list of monasteries from this pe-
Uniates who popularised not only the idea of the Church
riod we can see that the settlement of Dominicans, Jesuits, Bernardines, and Discalced Carmelites was parti-
Union and also strengthened the idea of the Immaculata. They even influenced the Russian Orthodoxs, who
in the middle of the seventeenth century founded the
cularly active even by the late sixteenth century, and
same confraternity in Polotsk, which was particularly
not only in ethnic Lithuania but in other parts of the
popular among young people 150 .
GDL as well . The settlement of the orders also resul-
The confraternity of the Virgin Mary of Mercy was
ted in the reconstruction of wooden churches to brick
founded by the Order of Lateran Canons (Ordo Cano-
as well as in the arrangement of new altars. This change
in the churches can be best illustrated by an example of
nicorum)^ in 1624, near the church of St. Peter and
Paul in Vilnius. This order also venerated the image
the church of the Visitation of the Virgin Mary in Trakai, because written sources mention that in 1600, a
with the same title 1 5 2 . The Mater Dolorosa was initiated
by the bishop of Cracow, Szyszkowski, in 1595; later, it
restoration of this church was done as well as of the
spread to some places in Lithuania as well 153 . One of
main altar . These new Baroque altars were arranged
according to the program of the Counter Reformation -
the oldest confraternities of the Virgin Mary in the GDL
was that of the Annunciation, founded near the parish
the main altar almost always contained the image of the
church in Geranainiai (Gieranony) in the middle of the
Virgin Mary and the altar's iconographic program fo-
sixteenth century. In the early seventeenth century the
cused on her adoration. Even if a church was dedicated
same association also existed in Vilnius near the church
to another saint, the altar of the Virgin was always in
of St. John; however, its name was changed to congregu-
the church, and sometimes, there was more than one
venerated image. For example, the inventory of the Do-
tio Lauretana and was especially connected with the cult
minican monastery in Raseiniai describes three venera-
of the Black Madonna from Loretto, which was particularly venerated during the Counter Reformation 154
ted Marian images in the monastery church; one was
In Lithuania, the cult of the Loretto Madonna was pro-
the copy of the Częstochowa image, another one of the
moted by the Jesuits and Franciscans .
Virgin Mary of the Rosary, and a third venerated image
in the main altar, which still exists .
The imago Lauretanawas, first introduced in the early
seventeenth century when the wife of Albertas Radvila
The altars of the Virgin Mary were also arranged by
(Albrycht Radziwiłł), who after converting to Catholi-
various religious confraternities and societies, many of
cism, founded the church of St Ann in Paširvinčiai (pre-
sent day Alvitas) in 1617 and also donated the image of
the image for its miraculous power165. All these proces-
the Madonna of Loretto156. Later in 1647, the statue of
sions are the best example of the described Sarmatian sense
the Madonna of Loretto was brought to the church of
St. John in Vilnius, by the Jesuits 157 .
of religion and its rhetorical pomposity.
Certainly, the cult of images was closely related not
Certain images played a very significant role both
among the populace as well as the upper classes. Church
only with orders 158 , who intensively promoted their cult,
documents, especially the acts of visitations contain not
but also with various religious communities and guilds.
From all these examples we can see that the image not
only a description of the inventory of the church but
also a list of the gifts given to the image. These docu-
only gathered people for its veneration but also organi-
ments mention precious votive offerings as well as the
sed them into confraternities and other religious communities, which were very popular during this period159.
gifts donated to the image: crowns, rings, and jewellery.
The church was the main institution, which unified all
The offering of gifts to the images is a peculiar venera-
these different religious communities and guilds; and
the image of the Virgin without any doubt played a dis-
tion of them. One of the most precious gifts that could
tinctive role. Such organisation of society is very close
to medieval lifestyle because as already discussed in the
Gifts offered to the images is a very old tradition.
be donated to an image is the crowning of the image in
gold, which expresses the sign of the image's honour,
previous section the largest part of the GDL's social strata
practised "medieval lifestyle." Therefore, this type of li-
which later became a fixed rite. This tradition in the
Eastern Church derived from Greek pagans, where the
offering of golden crowns to their idols symbolised a
fe was acceptable for a large number of people; and the
specially worthy gift 1 6 6 . This tradition also passed to
orders, especially the Jesuits, exploited this situation .
the Roman Church167. However, the right to crown
The same strong connection between society and ima-
statues and images of the Virgin developed from the
ges is reflected in various processions and pilgrimages,
which were also mainly organised by the Jesuits. The pro-
seventeenth century168; and this tradition was also ac-
cession organised in 1602-3, by the Bishop of Vilnius
century 169 , where it also became a custom.
Benediktas Vaina (Benedykt Wojna) 1 6 1 and the Jesuits
to the holy image of Trakai, was the first time this place
The highest point in the cult of the Virgin Mary was
reached when the King of the Commonwealth, Wla-
became a pilgrimage site. Later it became so important
dislas IV Vasa, had the intention in 1637 to found the
cepted in the Commonwealth from the early eighteenth
that even King Vladislas IV Vasa visited it in І639 .
The Jesuits used many theatrical elements for these
tion of the Virgin Mary. The members of this order
Order of Knights devoted to the Immaculate Concep-
processions, such as clothing, ceremonial rituals, chan-
were to wear a special badge with the symbols of the
ting, and preaching. Every pilgrimage was based on spe-
Immaculata170. However, this plan was not realised171.
cial rituals, for example, when the group of people went
from one parish to another, the meeting of the two pa-
Another important factor for the strength of the Virgin's cult in the Commonwealth was King Casimir's
rishes was ritualised 163 . The pilgrimage to the venerated places became so popular that even servants were
released for several days in order to go to164.
vow to the Virgin. In 1656, during a very difficult pe-
The images of the Virgin Mary were also accompanied by solemn processions when they had to be moved
to the Virgin's protection 1 7 3 . At the same time the Virgin's patronage over the state already existed in France,
from one church to another. In such processions the pe-
Portugal, and Austria 1 7 4 .
riod for the Republic of two states , the King Casimir, commended the Kingdom of Poland and the GDL
ople gathered, as well as bishops and the noble families.
The tradition of the Virgin's patronage over the
In one such procession the image of Trakai was carried to
country was formed in Byzantium and was expressed in
Vilnius Cathedra] because it had to be hidden during the
Swedish-Russian war in the middle of the seventeenth
century. Later it was returned with the same solemn pro-
the poem Akathisto^. In Western Europe the idea of
the Virgin's patronage was spread by monks from the
twelfth century. From the thirteenth century this idea
cession to Trakai, where the Jesuits recited panegyrics to
developed into offering oneself, as a servant or slave, to
the Virgin 1 7 . The best illustration of this custom are
the Teutonic Knights who considered themselves to be
"Mary's Dieners" 177 .
Another example of this is Hungary, where the Virgin Mary had also been the patroness of the country
from the Middle Ages178. On the other hand, in Ruthenia there were also famous icons of the Virgin which
played the role of the country's palladia, for example, in
the Rus' territory the icon Vladimir skuja was patroness
of Ruthenia and Kiev, and later Moscow179. Generally,
the roots of the Virgin's protection over a country lie in
the defence of the Catholic faith in the religious wars of
the fifteenth-seventeenth centuries. Her cult was a distinct element of Catholic identity which helped the consolidation of the Roman Catholic Church 180 .
In conclusion, from this analysis of the Virgin's cult,
the main cult object was certainly the image of the Virgin, in contrast to Western countries where sculptures
were used as well 181 . The strong role of images derives
from the close contacts of the GDL with the Orthodox
culture over many centuries. The peculiar veneration
itself was determined by the Sarmatian sense of religion
and lifestyle. On the other hand, the strong relation to
the Virgin, which developed in Western Europe from
the Middle Ages, shows a strong Western influence on
the GDL. Here, the Virgin's cult also became the lead
to Catholic identity as well as to the consolidation of
the Roman Catholic Church.
III. 3. The images of the Virgin Mary
This section will analyse the images themselves: their
iconography and provenance, which will be done based
on the catalogue appended to this work, where every
image has a very detailed description of the iconographic type, its analysis, provenance, and location. The research of these images is difficult because their parts are
covered with silver and in red material; it is possible to
see only overpainted faces, hands, and the Child's feet.
Some images have no church documentation and have
never been restored; therefore, there are certain difficulties in dating them. However, some general historical,
religious, and artistic context is very helpful. Several of
these images were researched, and their analysis is also
helpful for understanding the process of altar painting.
The silver coverings and crowns are part of the Marian
iconography and this will be discussed as well in this
part of the chapter.
In the early seventeenth century, the synods of the
bishops instructed artists to use the Byzantine style in
altar paintings . As already discussed in previous chapters, this was a result of the Counter Reformation183.
These changes in the iconography can be best illustrated by the image of the Madonna of Trakai, which was
not only overpainted, changing the iconography closer
to Byzantine style, but the painting was cut to make it
smaller and similar to an icon . Generally, special iconographic details such as a rosary, sceptre, and crown
were added to paintings of the Madonna for the expression of the Virgin's Heavenly power, which was characteristic of Counter Reformation iconography. These
slight modifications can be seen in the images of the
Madonna of Troškūnai (Fig. 5), Merkinė (Fig. 3), and
the Madonna of the Old Trakai (Fig. 1).
All these images, described in the catalogue, belong
to a common Western European type of the Virgin Mary
called Gnadenbilder— miraculous images or pilgrimage
images, which were particularly widespread during the
Counter Reformation. This Marian iconography, as already mentioned, was based on the most venerated Byzantine icon prototypes. These images were adorned with
crowns and jewellery 1 8 5 . Pilgrimage images had already
appeared in Western Europe in the fifteenth century
but they became widespread during the Counter Reformation 1 8 6 . The origin of pilgrimage images is always
surrounded by many legends — one group of them forms
the acheiropoietic images187. They appeared ex nihilo.
Another different group of images was believed to "have been painted - or even carved by Saint Luke"188.
The Lithuanian miraculous images follow the same tradition. From this thesis catalogue one can see that each
image has its legend of provenance. The ex nihilo provenance of Lithuanian images is almost always connected
with a legend that the image was found somewhere, either
in the forest, for example, the image of Šiluva, or in the
ruins of an old church, like the Madonna of the Sapiega
family 189 . Another group of legends tells that certain images were brought by somebody (usually noblemen) from a
very distant country190. The most attractive stories are
about noblemen, who after converting to Catholicism,
went for pilgrimage to Rome and met the Pope who do-
of the seventeenth century in the GDL 197 . Lithuanian
nated the image to them. Such stories can be found in the
descriptions of the images in Gumppenberg's Atlas Ma-
Hodegetria's are characterised by the idealised style of
the faces and generalisation of the painting 198 . The Child
rianus, for example, the story of the Alvitas image, which
was donated by the Pope to Ona Radvilienė (Anna Radzi-
is dissimilar to those in Byzantine icons: small in size
but with the face of an adult, symbolising the "pre-eter-
wiłł)191, or the image of Kazokiškės brought from Rome
nal God" 199 . He is not the "Renaissance baby" either.
by the Dominican friar Liudvikas Skinckis (Ludwik Skins-
He is an older child in face but not an infant, for exam-
ki), who studied there .
ple, the Child of the Madonna of Trakai (Fig. 8), Rasei-
The explanation of such legends related to Italy may
niai (Fig. 12), and Krekenava (Fig. 11). The Child of
be seen as an expression of the wish to connect the ima-
the Madonna of Pivašiūnai (Fig. 13) and Troškūnai (Fig.
ge with the Holy See.
In these stories the authority
of the Pope played a significant role in the popularity of
the image. The image became a mediator between people and the Holy See, and especially, the Holy Father.
The Madonna of Old Trakai (Fig. 1) and the Madonna of Trakai (Fig. 8) are parts of legends which link
5) are closer to Byzantine Child representation. Modifications also take place in the Byzantine stars on the
Madonna's maphorion, which maintain a symbolic meaning, when one see but they are different from the Byzantine representation, for example, the Madonna of
them to the Grand Duke Vytautas. The authority of grand
Trakai. The Madonna of Troškūnai (Fig. 5) is the best
example of the mixture of Byzantine and Latin West
ducal probably had similar function. As already mentio-
elements: the star on her right shoulder and the crown
ned in the second chapter, in the early period the cult of
on her head200.
The faces of the Virgin and Child painted chiaroscu-
the Virgin Mary was particularly linked to his name. Therefore, his authority was important in popularising the
ro, the dark material in the background, and the silver
Catholic faith with the help of certain images.
However, in spite of the images' provenance, there
are always certain details in the paintings which wit-
covering on the body of the Virgin, give the impression
that the image is an old painting and it is similar to an
hout any doubt reveal the local school, for example, the
type of crowns on the heads of the Virgins from Troškū-
least "archaic", if it is not painted by Saint Luke 201 . The
dark painting certainly resembles old icon painting 202 .
nai and Merkinė; the specific modelling of the Virgin
The same characteristics maintain the images of Troškū-
and Child faces. Their type of faces were particularly
nai (Fig. 5), Merkinė (Fig. 3), Pivašiūnai (Fig. 13), and
characteristic of the type of Madonna faces painted in
the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. For example, Žy-
the Aušra Gate (Fig. 16).
The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy (Fig.
mante Kasparavičienė in the article The Madonna of Tra-
16) has nothing to do with the Byzantine venerated pro-
kai states that the facial expression of the Madonna of
Trakai is very similar to that of Polish Madonnas 194 .
totypes. This image is without any doubt a representative of Western Marian iconography in its type and si-
Generally, in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth a
specific representation of the Virgin based on the By-
ze. It is a large size altar painting, which was one of the
zantine prototypes was established. The Polish scholar
ced into the context of Gnadenbilder. The Virgin of Auš-
icon. The pilgrimage or miraculous image has to be at
first in the GDL . However, this image was introdu-
Mariusz Karpowicz named this process "Neobyzantism,"
ra Gate has been identified for a long time with an old
and the Madonnas painted according to this style form
a very peculiar group in the iconography of the Virgin
icon from Holy Trinity church in Vilnius. First of all,
Mary, which "has no analogues" in Europe 195 .
The most popular representation of the Virgin is as
this resulted in the popularity of this image not only
among the Catholic, but also the Orthodox. Moreover,
this was also the result of many polemics between the
Hodegetria™, which was modified with various elements
Orthodox and the Catholic. Orthodox authors such as
such as a rosary added to the hands of the Virgin, for
Kazlovski and Sokolov strongly defended the existence
example in the Madonna of Troškūnai (Fig. 5). This
of such a legend which linked the origin of this image to
type was very popular in the sixteenth and the first half
the famous icon . The importance of the cult of this
image is that being of Western provenance it became
venerated, miraculous image which unified both faiths:
paintings which were sometimes used for this type of
images, for example, the Madonna of the Sapiega fami-
ly was totally overpainted because the earlier painting
All these venerated images are covered with silver. The
was completely damaged 215 . Certainly, there were ma-
tradition to cover the altar paintings of saints, martyrs,
and the Virgin Mary started in the first half of the seven-
ny of such ravaged paintings.
Another important fact to notice is that many of these
teenth century206. The tradition of the adoration of the
venerated image with precious metals is an old custom in
images are not restored. This can be seen from the image catalogue. We do not know about the painting un-
the Eastern Church and has a sacred meaning207.
der the material and silver covering. There is also a pos-
the Catholic and Orthodox .
Veneration of icons in the Eastern Church is based
sibility that the painting is incomplete the same as
on the theology that explains the incarnation of the idea -
Russian icons of the seventeenth century. However, this
'Incarnation of God' (Ru, Bogovoploščenije), According
can be testified only by the restoration work.
to this theology the icon is sacred208. This theological
dogma allows the covering of the figure, face, and hands,
The silver covering of the image of Trakai (Fig. 10)
because through them the believer has contact with
also resembles the riza; however, it is modified with a
decoration of very rich floral ornamentation characte-
God209. The icon of Tverai (Fig. 6) follows the same
pattern. However, this icon's casing 210 has few slight
ristic of Baroque style 216 . The other silver coverings,
which spread in Lithuania, were modified. They do not
repeat the lines of the Virgin's figure and the design of
The second meaning of the silver adornment on the
her dress. They were all decorated with Baroque style
Virgin's image is that of votum, the offering to the Virgin for her graces as well as a peculiar veneration of the
ornamentation. These features one can notice from the
image itself 2 1 1 . The tradition of donating of gifts and
elements to these paintings such as stars around the Vir-
precious votive offerings, such as jewellery, to the miraculous icons originated in Byzantium and, later, passed
gin's head, the silver gilded halo with long beams, and a
silver moon at the bottom of the image217. Sometimes,
to Russia. There this tradition was adopted but through
there is a silver dove symbolising the Holy Ghost218 abo-
the centuries it was modified as well 212 . In the seventeenth century a new type of the silver coverings, which
ve the Virgin's head, or the Virgin has a silver sceptre.
originated in Russia, covers the whole icon, except for
13). They certainly derived from Western Marian ico-
catalogue of the images. There are also additional silver
All these elements we see in the image of Pivašiūnai (Fig.
the faces. This was a result of the changes in the Ortho-
nography and were added to the silver coverings. Ho-
dox Church and also the influence of the Catholic
wever, the use of silver coverings in the GDL originated
Church as well. The adoration of the icon also chan-
from the Eastern parts of the countries because of the
ged. Instead of religious and spiritual meaning, it became important to show ones' wealth 213 . These new sil-
close contacts with the Ruthenian lands and in general
Byzantine culture 2 1 9 .
ver coverings were called "riza ikony'2 .
The same term "riza" is used in the inventories of
sed the origin of silver coverings in the Polish-Lithua-
churches to describe the silver coverings of Lithuanian
nian Commonwealth and refered to the Western Euro-
images. The covering of the Madonna of Šiluva most
pean tradition to "dress" the image. He compares the
The Polish art historian Mariusz Karpowicz analy-
closely resembles the Russian "riza' (Fig. 15). In Lithu-
Polish coverings with "the well known Spanish custom
ania it was not characteristic to cover the background
of textile "costumes" for cult sculptures" 220 . However,
with silver but in red material. It may have had a deco-
the Lithuanian scholar Rūta Vitkauskienė disagrees. She
rative meaning because silver or silver gilded covering
on the red tissue gives the impression of splendour and
argues that Karpowicz had not noticed the difference in
the cultural traditions in Poland and the GDL of this
richness which were its main function, deriving from
period. The GDL was always strongly influenced by Orthodox culture. Therefore, the origin of the silver cove-
Sarmatian desire for gold and luxury. The red material
in the background may have covered also the damaged
rings is without doubt the result of this Orthodox influ-
ence, even if these silver coverings were modified by the
Baroque ornamentation 221 . The discussed silver covering of Tverai shows that the goldsmiths in the GDL
were familiar with the Byzantine tradition as well; however, the Counter Reformation's different conception
of the sacrality introduced the modifications in the silver coverings222.
From the catalogue of images we can see that various influences existed. There is little evidence about the
earlier altar paintings from the period of the fourteenth
and sixteenth centuries in the GDL. Certainly, they were
more numerous but only few of them from this period
have survived until the present day. One reason for this
is that until the seventeenth century churches were mostly wooden and were destroyed many times by fire. Another factor which affected the survival of altar paintings
in the Lithuanian part of the GDL was the Counter
Reformation which introduced changes in the altar arrangements. Very few sculptures of the Virgin, already
mentioned in the second chapter, testify to the important influence of Germany. Another example of Western influence is the original painting technique of the
sixteenth century Madonna of Trakai which links it to
Bohemia. This fact can be easily supported by historical
evidence because the GDL had very close cultural contacts with Bohemia, especially during the period of the
fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries 223 . On the other
hand, the icon of Tverai is a reminder of Lithuania's
contacts with Orthodox countries.
Summarising the Marian iconography of this period,
it is possible to determine that the most popular type
were pilgrimage images. This was certainly the result of
the Counter Reformation which presented a very intensive change in iconography, especially from the early
seventeenth century. However, the influence of Orthodox culture existed as well, especially in image veneration itself, its importance in society, and its adoration
with precious metals.
The Marian cult in Lithuania can be divided into
two main periods: the first from the christianisation of
the country until the Reformation, the second the Counter Reformation. The religious and cultural processes in
the GDL during the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries
are very important for the later development of the Marian cult because the roots of the strong cult of the Virgin in the seventeenth century were founded in this
earlier period. Despite the controversy in the religious
situation, as well as very few iconographic sources representing the cult of the Virgin from this period. The
evidence of the first period can be summarised in the
1. The beginning of the Marian cult in Lithuania started with the christianisation of the country.
2. Its development and formation from the very beginning was under the influence of the Latin West
and the Orthodox East. These two cultures were present from the beginning of the state's foundation,
and the prevalence of one over the other depended
on the GDL's political orientation.
3. In spite of very few iconographic sources, historical
evidence shows the strong influence of Germany,
Poland, and Bohemia because of the close contacts
maintained by the GDL with these countries between the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries.
4. The GDL's expansion to the Ruthenian territories,
which had an Orthodox culture, is reflected in the
influence of Byzantine culture on Lithuania, and
which certainly had an impact on the Virgin's veneration.
5. The strong Reformation, which derived from Western Europe, in the middle of the sixteenth century,
had political, social, and religious causes; however, it
did not disrupt the development of the Marian cult.
The second period, which is the Counter Reformation,
is the most important for the development of the cult of
the Virgin and represented the consolidation of the Catholic faith in Lithuania. The following factors in the
development of the Marian cult and iconography, which
occurred during the period from the christianisation of
Lithuania up to the seventeenth century, are the most
informative and relevant for this thesis; therefore, they
should be summarised.
6. The strong Counter Reformation movement in the
GDL was strongly connected to the cult of the Virgin, which was mainly propagated by the Jesuits.
7. The Marian cult, being the priority of the Counter
Reformation, was the main implement, not only
against the Protestant aristocracy, but her cult had
the aim of finally christianising the peasantry, whose religion was paganism or religious syncretism based on a mixture of paganism and Catholicism.
8. The images of the Virgin played the most significant role in her cult. This was a result of close contacts with the Orthodox culture.
9. Solemn processions, theatrical oratories, and luxury
in the adoration of the Marian images derived from
the Sarmatian lifestyle, which originated in Poland,
and which also became very popular among Lithuanian boyars.
10. The characteristic feature of Lithuanian Marian iconography of the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is that the images were pilgrimage images. The
most popular Byzantine prototype used in the GDL
was the Hodegetria; however, not only Byzantine
prototypes, but also Western iconographic types such
as Annunziata, were venerated.
11. The representation of the Virgin is close to the iconography of Polish Madonnas in the modelling of the faces of the Virgin and the Child's representation.
12. The Byzantine prototypes were modified with additional elements such as a rosary, crowns, and sceptre.
13. The adoration of the image in silver, which derived
from Byzantine tradition, became very popular in the
Commonwealth from the early seventeenth century.
14. The silver coverings, called "riza," originated in Russia in the seventeenth century. Their use on the images first spread in the Eastern part of the GDL; however, in Lithuania the rizas were modified with
Baroque ornaments, and additional silver elements,
such as crowns, stars, a moon at the bottom of the
image, and silver doves.
15. The silver coverings and crowns are the most distinctive details related to the pilgrimage images in
Lithuania in the seventeenth century; they represent
the confluence of Western and Eastern traditions.
Reviewing this evidence, we can see that the cult of
the Virgin and her images in this period were certainly
the result of the Counter Reformation; however, the
peculiar veneration of images themselves, their distinctive role in the society of the seventeenth century, lie in
Lithuania's relationship with the Orthodox culture. Moreover, Orthodox territories were a very significant part
of the GDL, and this certainly had an impact on Lithuania's cultural development. Therefore, these images and
their cult represent the confluence of both cultures: Western and Eastern.
CATALOGUE OF THE MOST VENERATED
IMAGES OF THE VIRGIN MARY
I. VIRGIN AND CHILD OR MADONNA OF OLD TRAKAI.
Panel, gilding. 39x29,5 cm. Original painting:
15th century. Overpainted: 17th century.
Vilnius, Cathedral-Basilica of
St. Stanislas and Vladislas2 (Fig. 1).
1. The Queen of Heaven or Maria Regina also means Ecclesia Regina. It is a theme in literature and iconography, which developed from the iconographic type
of Maria Regina popular in Western iconography. This
type was identified first in Byzantine frescoes (Durazze,
6c.) in Rome. The Maria Regina type rose in Rome and
it was particularly strong there because of political and
ideological problems. The authority of the Pope had to
oppose the Byzantine Empire, therefore, Maria Regina
represented Ecclesia Reginazs well. The oldest representation of the Virgin Mary as the Queen of Heaven is in
the apside of the baldachin of S. Maria Maggiore in
Rome. In that fresco, Maria is represented wearing a
diadem on her head as thefeminae clarissime, the noble
women in ancient times.3 Later in the twelfth and the
thirteenth centuries in the iconography of the Mother
of God, she is represented in frontal position and sitting on a throne, with a crown on her head. In one
hand she has a sceptre, in another the orb. More often
she is represented with the Child on her right side, and
in the left hand she holds a sceptre. The Infant has the
orb in the left hand, and with the right hand he blesses.
The position of the Child is frontal as well. Such representation of the Virgin symbolises the Queen of heaven
with the Saviour of the World. The specific iconographic type spread rapidly in the iconography of the Counter -Reformation. 4
(Fig. 2). It is written that this image was a gift for Duke
Vytautas, on the occasion of his Baptism, received from
the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus (13911425) which the Duke later donated to the monastery
of the Benedictines of Old Trakai. The Benedictines
had kept this image until the monastery was closed in
1832. Čechavičius (Czechowicz), the last abbot of the
monastery, took it. Later around 1849 he gave it to the
suffragan of Lutsk, Fijalkovski (Fijałkowski), Together
with the written story about this image. Then Fijalkovski gave it to the Chapter of Vilnius on condition that it
had to be located in the chapel of Vytautas. However,
such a chapel never existed; therefore, it was located near the memorial desk of Vytautas in the Cathedral of
St. Stanislas and Vladislas, where it has been until the
present time. 7
Fig. l . Virgin and Child or Madonna of Old Trakai. Archives of
Gudynas. Neg. inv. no 11-36-3610
2. The figures of the Virgin and Child have been
overpainted, which can be seen clearly from the Virgin
and Child's clothes. The restoration of the Madonna of
Old Frakai, done in 1985, showed that the image originally was painted in the fifteenth century. Ultraviolet
luminescence analysis reveals that the image was restored, but who and when it was done is not known. The
radiographic analysis shows that the painting's composition was not changed. 5 The face of the Virgin may
have been overpainted at the end of the seventeenth or
early eighteenth century because the model of the facial
expression, especially her mysterious smile, is very similar to the faces of noble women in the portraits of t h i s
3. The origin of this image is not clear. However,
the legend of the Madonna of Old Trakai is traditionally connected to Grand Duke Vytautas (Witold). On
the back of the image there is an inscription, written in
Polish, which describes the whole story of the image
II. VIRGIN AND CHILD.
Panel. Gilding. 84,5x57,5cm. Original painting:
early 16th century. Overpainted:
early 17th century. Local school.
Merkinė, Church of the Assumption of the Virgin.
4. This image is overpainted. This is possible to notice from the painting of the Virgin's clothes and the
Child. The Virgin and Child wear very typical crowns
(Fig. 3), which were added to the painting later. The
Madonna of Troškūnai has a similar crown (Fig. 5).
This type of crown is characteristic of the early seventeenth century and is associated with the Grand Duchy
of Lithuania, so, this image is certainly a representative
of a local school of art.8
The other detail added to the image is an adornment decorated with dark precious stones, the same as
on the crown. This adornment is around the Virgin's
neck and cover her shoulders, and over the maphorion.
This particular detail gives the idea that it is made from
metal, and was probably painted later over the maphorion because its position is very unnatural. Such metal
detail in the Virgin's dress could be taken from the clothes of the Polish-Lithuanian army used from the late
sixteenth to the eighteenth century. This metal detail
came from the armour and was called the gorget, which
was worn to protect the throat (Fig. 4). It developed
from the hussar officers' armors used in the sixteenthseventeenth century in the Polish-Lithuanian army,
which had been influenced by the armor worn in the
West, especially in Hungary.9 The gorgets were decorated with the family crest or the image of the Virgin
(Fig. 4).'° From the eighteenth century this detail became separated from the armor, then lost its previous
significance and became a simple adornment for an officer's dress. 11 The gorget on the Merkinė Madonna's
maphorion may symbolically represent the Virgin as the
Protector of the faithful the same as the crown, which
has the symbolical meaning of the Queen of Heaven.
The gorget may have been painted on the maphorion at
the same time as the crown in the early seventeenth century; or it was added to the painting even later, in the
middle of the eighteenth century.
big. 3. Virgin and Child, Merkinė. Archives ot the Institute ot
Fine Arts Heritage
Fig. 4. Gorget with the image of the Częstochowa Madonna, 18'1'
century, Military Museum in Warsaw (From O. Mažeikienė. XIVXIX ginkLü. Katalogas. V i l n i u s LTSR istorijos-etnografijos
muziejus, 1987, No 34, p. 67.)
III. VIRGIN AND CHILD, QUEEN OF THE ROSARY.
Canvas, oil. 175x123 cm. Original painting:
ca. 1569-1579. Overpainted: early 17 century.
Troškūnai, Church of Holy Trinity.
5. The seventeenth century painting of the Madonna of Troškūnai consists of two iconographic types: the Hodegetria and the Virgin Mary of the Rosary (Fig. 5). The Child sits on the Virgin's left hand,
blesses with his right hand and has a book in his left.
On the right shoulder of the Virgin there is a star. It
derived from Byzantine icons where three stars, two
on the Virgin's shoulders and one on her forehead symbolise her virginity before, during, and after the confinement.13
A rosary was added to the Hodegetria type and is in
the hands of the Virgin. The Virgin with Child is surrounded by small round pictures (Fig. 5) that depict
mysteries of the Rosary, which are divided into three
parts: Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious... At the corners
of the image are the four Evangelists with their attributes: Luke with the ox, Mark with the lion, Matthew
with the angel, and John with the eagle.
The representation of the Virgin surrounded by small
images derives from Byzantine icons. These are minia-
Fig. 5. Virgin and Child, Queen of the Rosary, Troškūnai (The
photo received from restorer of the image Tauras Jurkūnas,
Kultūros paminklo restauravimo pasas, No. 84)
tures usually of quadratic form, and they show scenes
from the life of Christ. Some icons are surrounded by
the apostles. 14 The earliest representation of the Virgin
surrounded by the Rosary is from the fifteenth century.
The Rosary was an attribute of St. Dominic, Catherine
of Siena and the Virgin. The origin of the Rosary has
been linked by legend to St. Dominic. The Dominicans have had a major role in the apostolate of the Rosary. Therefore, the representation of the 'Virgin of the
Rosary' was especially used in the churches and monasteries of the Dominican order. This type of images became particularly widespread during the Counter Reformation. 1 5
6. The composition of the original painting was sligh-
7. The changes to the painting may have been done
in the early seventeenth century. The Virgin and Child
wear very typical crowns, which were added to the painting in this period. The Madonna of Merkinė has a similar crown (Fig. 3). This was characteristic of the early
seventeenth century and is associated with the Grand
Duchy of Lithuania, so this image is certainly a representative of the local school of art. 17 The Rosary was
added and placed in the hands of the Madonna of
Troškūnai 1 8 and an inscription Monstra TeesseMatrem
(Show Yourself as Mother) was added to the image at
the bottom at the same time. 1 9
tly modified. There are some remains from the previous
pictorial layer: the nimbus of the Madonna and Child,
and the beads on the neck of the Virgin. Of the original
painting the clothes of the Child and the Rosary mysteries around the Virgin remained. 16
IV. VIRGIN AND CHILD.
Panel. 19xl4cm. (25x19,5 cm with frame).
Tverai, Church of the Visitation of the Virgin.
8. This icon contains all the features of the Byzantine icon tradition. It is a half- length Hodegetria. The
Child sits on the Virgin's left arm. The Child blesses
with his right hand and in his left he holds a book.20 It
is a high quality painting because of the fine gilding on
the clothes. This method of icon painting is called "assiste"- done with liquid gold which demanded highly
skilled work. Such a technique is characteristic of sixteenth century painting (Fig. 6).21
The origin of this icon might be from Russia because it corresponds to all the features of the icon of Tichvine Mother of God icon (Fig. 7). The name of this
type of icon derives from the town of Tichvine in Northern Russia. This type has been venerated in Russia since 1383. The Tichvine Mother of God is also an old
Byzantine half-length Hodegetria type. However, it has
certain modifications: the representation of Child is no
longer straight before the spectator, and the Child's face, which is three quarters shown, is turned fully towards the right shoulder of his Mother. The Child still
holds himself very upright, seated on his Mother's left
arm, but his attitude is less severe: his right leg, folded
under the himation, allows one to see the sole of the
foot, emerging from under the left leg which is stretched forward. Also, the gesture of benediction is less
solemn: instead of stretching out his arm majestically,
the Infant raises the right hand simply in benediction.
The body of the Mother of God is slightly turned towards the right side of the icon. Without losing the solemn expression, detached from all human affection, the
Virgin of Tichvine inclines her head towards the Infant; however she does not turn her look towards the
Child but to the spectator. Her whole attitude and above all the expression of the pensive and saddened face,
show us a merciful Hodegetria who intercedes before
her Son praying for the fallen world. Therefore, she most
closely resembles the Byzantine type of the Hodegetria
Eleousa - the Merciful. 22 The icon of the Tichvine Mother of God has a very important place along with other
b'ig. 6. Virgin and Child, Tverai. Photo Klaudijus Driskius
Fig. 7. The Tichvine Mother of God, Russian school, first hal
of the 17'1' century (From L. Ouspenski and V. l.ossky. The
Meaning of Icons. Trans!. G. F,. H. Palmer F.. Kadloubovsky.
Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's seminary Press, 1989, p. 86.)
V. OUR LADY OF TRAKAI, PATRONESS OF LITHUANIA.
miraculous icons of the Virgin Mary such as those of
Panel, gilding. 127x110cm. Original painting:
Smolensk and Kazan.
sixteenth century. Overpainted: early 17 century.
9. The form of the casing of the Tverai icon is also
traditional Byzantine: the frame and the background of
Silver covering: early 18th century. Local school.
the icon are covered with silver; however, the painted
Trakai, Church of the Visitation of the Virgin,
figures of the Virgin and Child are not (Fig. 7). Nevert-
St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist.
heless the workmanship and the decoration is not Byzantine. The silver plate is bordered in relief by the fra-
11. This image is a modified seated Hodegetria ty-
me of the icon. The plain surface of the frame is engraved
pe. The Virgin is shown directly facing the viewer. The
with the vine scroll as an Eucharistic symbol. This or-
Child, sitting on her right knee, holds a book in his
namentation is similar to that of German Renaissance
right hand and his left is stretched towards the flower
engravings of the beginning and middle of the sixte-
offered by the Virgin. 2 The maphorion and the mant-
enth century, particularly to the work of Heinrich AJ-
le of the Virgin are blue. The edge of the mantle is de-
degrever (1502-1555) of the Nürnberg school. 24 On
corated with a fine, golden ornamental band. The Vir-
the frame there are symmetrically spread flowers. In the
gin's dress is red tied under her breast, and the pleats are
background two small silver angels hold the Virgin's
close to Gothic style. 27 On the maphorion of the Vir-
crown, expressing the idea of the Queen of Heaven. The
gin's forehead there is a cross and on her left shoulder a
Angels are probably the figures of the Archangels Gab-
star. The representation of stars on the maphorion deri-
riel and Michael. The representation of them near the
ved from Byzantine icons where they symbolise the Vir-
Virgin is characteristic of the Hodegetria icons.
gin's virginity, before, during, and after her confine-
10. The origin of the icon is not clear, there are only
ment. 28 However, there is one modification of the
legends. One of them is that this image belonged to the
Byzantine style in that the star on the Virgin's forehead
founder of the church, Elijas Ilgovskis (Ilgowski). He
was changed into a cross (Fig. 8).
appreciated this icon very much and he was very devo-
12. This image has an unusual composition in that
ted to it. He had never been separated from the icon,
it finishes at the knees of the Virgin. M.Baliński in
even when he had to go to war. When he was taken
Starożytna Polska wrote that in 1600, during the resto-
prisoner by the Tartars, he often prayed to this icon.
ration of the church, the image was cut before it had
One day when he was praying he suddenly saw the icon
been a full figure.29
surrounded by light, at that moment he took a vow that
The fact, that the image was changed, has also been
if he returned home, he would build a church to the
confirmed by the restoration analysis. In 1994 the ima-
Virgin Mary; he kept his promise and donated this icon
ge was restored. From the restoration analysis it is clear
to the new church. However, there is another story; Bis-
that the Madonna of Trakai is a painting from the six-
hop Valavičius mentioned that this image was brought
The painting technique is similar to
by the headman of Tverai, Potockis (Potocki) who ru-
that of fifteenth and sixteenth century ones found in
led Tverai some time after Elias Ilgovskis, on his return
Bohemia and the Netherlands. In the seventeenth cen-
from captivity by the Tartars around 1650. He left this
tury it was overpainted and its previous image was chan-
icon in the estate of Tverai where people began to see it
ged. In the original painting the head of the Virgin is
surrounded by light. The bishop was invited to investi-
without maphorion. In the painting of the sixteenth cen-
gate this miracle and then this icon was located in the
tury the Virgin wears a transparent or white veil and a
main altar of the church. Most people believe the for-
diadem on her head. It is difficult to say if the facial
mer legend that this icon was donated by the founder of
expression was changed as well. The Virgin was repre-
the church of Tverai, Elijas Ilgovskis.
sented sitting, and her clothes from the previous layer
of the painting make her figure a little bit narrower.
The golden edge of the Virgin's dress was broader. From
Xray it is evident that the Child has moved, although it
is unclear if he was in the centre or on the left. The
position of the Virgin's arms were changed; they may
have been together in prayer, or for holding the Child.31
The gilded background was changed as well. Before the
seventeenth century ornamentation was smaller, and it
was similar to the ornamentation found on textiles. In
the seventeenth century it became similar to the metal
work of the time.32
I was told by art historians33 that they believe that
before the seventeenth century there was a Gothic altar,
and the Virgin of Trakai was perhaps from the iconographic scene of the Sacra Conversazione. It is difficult to
describe the previous altar because there are no sources
to confirm such a hypothesis. It is clear that in the seventeenth century was the intention to change the painting and make it closer to Byzantine style. This was done by cutting the image and adding the maphorion
which shapes the figure of the Virgin into a triangle.
13. Traditionally, this image is linked to Grand Duke Vytautas. On the back of the painting of the Madonna of Trakai there is an inscription which explains
Fig. 8. Our Lady of Trakai, Patroness of Lithuania, Trakai.
Archives of Gudynas. Neg. inv. no 11-104 (13a)
that this image was a gift to the Duke on his baptism
from the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus
(1391-1425) 34 : Imago haec E.V. Mariae miraculis in
Lituania in civitate Trod Celebris ab Emanuale U Imperatore Orientalis Alexandra Witolda Magno Dud Lituaniae nuper ad Sanctam Fidem Catholicam converso donata est. Ferunt hanc esse ipsam imaginėm cuius ope
Joannes Comnenus Imperator Orientalis hunnos et persus
vicit, obbentisque hisce victoris vehiculo argentes tracto a
quator equis albi Constantinopolim solemniter invexit in
>' ОІ'ч n tu jtiiitn
propriusque locoposuit (Fig. 9).35 Historically this is possible because Grand Duke Vytautas communicated with
Emperor Manuel II, however, iconographically, as discussed before it is impossible because the image is from
the sixteenth century.
14. The Madonna of Trakai was the first image
crowned in gold by permission of the Pope and the ceremony guidelines of the Chapter of the Vatican Basili-
Fig. 9. Inscription written on the back of the image. Archives of
Gudynas. Neg. inv. no 1-22-10907
ca. It was crowned on September 8, 1718 by the Bishop of Vilnius, Konstantinas Bžostovskis (Brzostowski),
and he conferred upon it the name of the Mother of
God, Patroness of Lithuania.^ The whole procedure for
the Coronation of the Virgin was described in the book
Solemnitas coronationis B. V.Mariae in antiquissima sua
ad praepositalem Palatino Trocensis civitatis basilicam,
published 1719 in Vilnius. This image had already
received other crowns before. One was donated by the
VI. VIRGIN AND CHILD.
Panel. 172x112cm. Early 17 century.
Silver covering: early 18 century.
chancellor of Lithuania, Leonas Sapiega (Leo Sapieha),
to the Virgin and one by the vice-chancellor Alleksan-
dras Naruševičius (Aleksander Naruszewicz) to the
of the Virgin.
Krekenava, Church of the Assumption
15. The Papal Nuntius wrote on July 16, 1639 a
16. The origin of t h i s image is unknown. There is
report to Rome about the pilgrimage of King Vladislas
only a legend explaining the provenance of the Virgin
IV Vasa to the Madonna of Trakai on July 10, 1639,
testifying the popularity of this image. The venera-
of Krekenava. It is told that it was brought from Cracow by a very devoted knight, Šilingas, and presented
to the missionary Albert. In the beginning this image
tion of the image was particularly strong during the seventeenth century. Later, however, when in the eighte-
was in a small chapel, and later it was transferred to the
enth century the cult of the Blessed Virgin of Aušra Gate
church of Krekenava (Fig. 11).
(Ostrabrama) developed, the Madonna of Trakai came
under her shadow.
Fig. 10. The silver covering of Our Lady of
Trakai, ordered by Bishop ol V i l n i u s
Mikalojus Steponas Pacas. 1677. Archives
of KPC. (From the article of
B. R. Vitkauskienė. 'Frakų Marijos
paveikslo aptaisai // Lietuvos Didžiosios
Kunigaikštystės barokas: formos, įtakos,
Fig. 11. V i r g i n and Child, Krekenava. Photo K l a u d i j u s Driskius
kryptys. Vilniaus dailės akademijos darbai /
Actą acadcmiae artium Vilnensis 21.
V i l n i u s : Vilniaus dailės akademijos
leidykla, 2001, p. l 57.)
sed the Dominican monastery in Raseiniai, and the
church was given to the parish. In 1932 the Dominicans resettled in Raseiniai. 44
Various sources mention that in the chapel of the
first Dominican church there was a copy of the image
of Częstochowa that had a silver-gilded covering and
crown. Another miraculous image of the Virgin Mary,
reportedly from the monastery's chapter house, is covered with silver, and the heads of the Virgin and Child
are adorned with crowns. It is thought that the image
from the chapter house is the present image of the Virgin and Child, which is still in the main altar of the
VIII. OUR LADY OF PIVAŠIŪNAI,
CONSOLATION OF SORROWFUL.
Canvas, oil. 195xl40cm. Early 17th century.
Silver covering: ca І750.
Pivašiūnai, Church of the Assumption
of the Virgin.
Fig. 12. Virgin and Child, Raseiniai. Archives of KPC. Neg. inv.
No D 4080
18. The origin of the Pivašiūnai image is unknown
but there is a legend that somebody brought it from
Turkey. However, there are no documents that can con-
VII. VIRGIN AND CHILD.
Canvas, oil. 144x112cm. Early 17th century.
Silver covering: early 18th century.
Raseiniai, Church of the Assumption
of the Virgin Mary.
17. This image can be found in the main altar of the
church of the Assumption of the Virgin in Raseiniai
(Fig. 12).41 It is believed that the first church was founded by Duke Vytautas the Great in 1421.42 In 1642 the
bishop of Samogitia permitted the clerk of the Grand
Duchy of Lithuania, Mikalojus Slanka Bilevicius (Mikołaj Stanka Bilewicz) and his brother Adomas (Adam)
to settle the Dominicans in Raseiniai. The Dominicans first settled in 1642, near the parish church. Later,
around 1663, the Dominicans founded a brick-church
and monastery. In 1889 the Russian government clo-
Fig. 13. Our Lady of Pivašiūnai, Consolation of Sorrowful,
Pivašiūnai. Archives of KPC. Neg. inv. no D 2188
firm this fact, nor of the miracles of the Madonna of
Pivašiūnai. They could have been destroyed in one of
the fires, which also destroyed the church. However,
the image was always called "the miraculous" in the writings of the diocesis.46
19. This is the fifth image in Lithuania to be crowned according to the ceremony guidelines of the Chapter of the Vatican Basilica. It was crowned on the 15th
August of 1988 by Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevičius with
a crown given Pope John Paul II. The name Virgin
Mary the Consolation of the Sorrowful, was conferred
upon it (Fig. 13).47
IX. VIRGIN AND CHILD.
Canvas, oil. 200x122cm. Early 17th century.
Silver covering: early 18th century.
Tytuvėnai, Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Pig. 1 5. Our Lady of Šiluva, Health of Patients. Archives of
KPC. Neg. inv. no D 4132
X. OUR LADY OF ŠILUVA, HEALTH OF PATIENTS.
Canvas, oil. 232x140cm. Early 17th century.
Silver Covering: 1674 by Laurent Hoffman
Šiluva, Basilica of the Nativity of the Virgin.
Fig. 14. Virgin and Child, Tytuvėnai. Archives of KPC.
Neg. inv. no D 2623
20. The story of the image's provenance explains
that it was found in the forest. It might refer to the time
when Catholics hid the property from the first Catholic
church in the nearby forest. It is not know, if it is the
same image from the earlier church or that of a later
one. Another possible version regarding the origin of
the image of Šiluva is that it was brought directly from
Rome by the founder of the first church, Petras Gedgaudas (Piotr Gedgowd). This is historically possible because Petras Gedgaudas was in Rome with other mem181
bers of a delegation in 1413, who were sent by Grand
Duke Vytautas to Pope Martin V in Rome, regarding
the matter of his coronation.48 There is, however, no
document confirming this fact.
XI. BLESSED VIRGIN MARY, MOTHER OF MERCY.
Panel, mixed media. 200x163 cm. Painted:
ca. 1620-1630. Unknown artist. Silver covering:
late seventeenth-early eighteenth century.
Vilnius, Aušra Gate.
21. The figure of the Virgin is represented in halflength, without Child. Her head is slightly turned to
the right and down, her arms are crossed, the body's
proportions lengthened, and the face and arms are delicately shaped (Fig. 16). Iconographically, the Blessed
Virgin Mary is represented in the painting in a scene
identified with the Annunciation (The Annunziata). 49
22. The cult of the image of the Aušra Gate was
promoted by the Discalced Carmelite order who settled
nearby in 1620, and here they started the construction
of the monastery and church which were founded by
Steponas Pacas (Stefan Рас) between 1626-1650.50
At the same time the Carmelites founded the first
wooden chapel in the Aušra Gate which was totally
destroyed during the great fire of 1715. The image
from the chapel was saved by the Carmelites and located for some time in the main altar of the monastery's church. In 1719 the chapel was rebuilt in
brick. 51 The image was returned to the chapel in a
solemn procession.52 In the present day chapel there is an inscription on the outside wall from the town
side: MATER MISERICORDIAE. SUB TUUM PRAESIDIUM CONFUGIMUS. In the chapel there are
many votive offerings, in ] 927 there were more than
14.000: gold and silver hearts, hands, legs, eyes, etc.,
and jewellery - rings, beads, etc. 53
Fig. 16. Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy. (From Aušros
Vartų Švč. Marijos Gailestingumo Motinos paveikslas. Vilniaus
dailės akademijos darbai / Actą academiae artium Vilnensis 10,
Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademijos leidykla, 1997, no page.)
23. The Carmelites kept this image based on the
legend identifying the Madonna with the icon from Holy
Trinity church. The Carmelites probably invented this
legend because they wished to attribute the image to an
List of Abbreviations
Kultūros paveldo centras / Cultural Heritage Center
Lietuvos mokslų akademijos Rankraščių skyrius / Department of Manuscripts of the Academy of Science
Lietuvos dailės muziejaus P. Gudyno restauravimo
centras / Lithuanian Art Museum: Center of Restoration and Conservation of Pranas Gudynas
The present article is based on my M.A. thesis completed under
the supervision of Gerhard Jaritz and defended at the Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest in June 1999. I am very thankful for the external reader
Anna Egger as well as the professors Livia Vargą, Hana Hlavačkova, and the Associated Professor Marija Matušakaitė for their
help and remarks. My thanks go to R. Vitkauskienė who suggested and encouraged me to publish this work.
The large volume of the thesis does not allow to publish the
whole work, therefore, the second part, which is catalogue of
the images has been significantly abbreviated. However, the main
body of the thesis, which is also the most important part, is
presented the whole in the article.
L. Ouspenski, Theology of the Icon, vol. 1, Crestwood: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1992, p. 60.
Ibid., p. 342 and N. P. Kondakov, Ikonografija Bogomateri (The
iconography of the Mother of God), vol. 2, Petrograd: Tipogra5
fija Imperatorskoi Akademii Nauk, 1915, p. 157—158.
H. Aurenhammer, Marienikone und Marienandachtsbild //
Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinischen Gesellschaft, vol. 4,
ed. Herbert Hunger, Vienna: Rudolf M. Rohrer, 1955, p. 135136.
H. Belting, Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before the
Era of Art, transl. E. Jephcott Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1993, p. 484.
Generally, the cult of the images was always focused on a few
privileged images, see H. Belting, Likeness..., p. 484.
'Ibid., p. 484-485.
' Vitoldiana: Codex privilegiorum Vitoldi Magni Ducts Lithuaniae.
1386—1430, ed. J. Ochmański, Warszawa—Poznan: Państwowe
Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1986 (henceforth - Vitoldiana}; and
Codex diplomaticus Ecclesiae Cathedralis necnon dioeceseos Vilnensis
/Kodeks dyplomaticzny Katedry i diecezji Wileńskiej, vol. 1, 13871507, ed. J. Fijałek and W. Semkowicz, Kraków: Editionum
Colegii Historici Academiae Litterarum Poloniae, 1932 (henceforth — Codex diplomaticus).
Heinrici Chronicon Livoniae, ed. L. ArbusowandA. Bauer, Hannover: Impensis B i b l i o p o l i i Hahniani, 1955 (henceforth —
' MAB RS, Martyno Mažvydo laiškai prūsų kunigaikščiui Albrechtui 1551 m., mf„ f. 563, inv. 730.
For example, the inventory of Raseiniai church states that the
church of the Assumption of the Virgin was founded by Grand
Duke Vytautas (Witold) in 1421, see MAB RS - Raseinių dominikonų vienuolyno inventorinis aprašas 1883 m., f. 38—120,
f. 15. However, from the privileges of Grand Duke Vytautas,
we see that in Samogitia he founded only two churches: the
Cathedral of St. Alexander in Medininkai—Varniai, see Z. Ivinskis, Rinktiniai raštai, T. 4, Krikščionybė Lietuvoje, Roma: Lietuvių Katalikų Mokslo Akademija, 1978, p. 586-587; and the
church of the Assumption of the Virgin in Veliuona, see Vitoldiana, no. 34, p. 42. The other ten churches had his privileges.
Generally, the inventories of the 17th and the 18th centuries
were written mostly in Polish or, very occasionally, in Latin.
The inventories of the 19th century were written in Russian.
MAB RS, Raseinių..., f. 38-120, f. 15.
The term to identify an image was usually "obraz."
The copy of the Częstochowa image, which is certainly not an
icon, was also referred to as an icon; therefore, one can guess
that this term was used to identity every image.
A. W. Koiałowicz, Miscellanea rerum adstatum ecclesiasticum in
Magno Lituaniae Ducatu pertinentium, Vilnae: Typis Akademicis, 1650.
Kościół farski Tracki, cudami Przenajśwętey Bogurodzice Panny
obideniony a przez xiedza Symona Mankiewicza Biskuptswa
Zmudzkiego dyocesiana nowo na świat wystawiony, Wilno: W Drukarni Ojców Bazylianów, 1645.
G. Gumppemberg, Atlas Marianus quo Sanctae dei Genitricis
Mariae imaginėm miraculorum origines duodecim historiarum centuris explicantur, Monachii: Typis & Impensis J. Yaechlini, Ty-
pographi Electoralis & Bibliopolae, 1672 (henceforth — Atlas
Marianus). The information about the miraculous images of the
GDL for Gumppenberg was provided by A.W. Koiałowicz.
"po Grecku malowana" — painted in Greek style.
M. Baliński, T. Lipiński, Starożytna Polska, T. 3, Wielkie Księstwo
Litewskie, Warszawa: Nakładem i Drukiem S. Orgelbranda,
Kościół zamkowy czyli Katedra Wileńska: w jei dziejowym, liturgicznym, architektonicznym i ekonomicznym rozwoju, ed. Jan
Kurczewski, vol. 1—3, Wilno: Nakładem J. Zawadskiego, 1908—
S. Barącz, Cudowne obrazy Matki Najświętszej w Polsce, Lwów:
Nakładem Autora, 1891.
A. Fridrich, Historye cudownych obrazów Najśw. Maryi Panny w
Polsce, T. 3—4, Kraków: Nakładem Wydawnictwa Tow. Jeż.,
M. Skrudlik, Wsprawie twórcy obrazu N. Maryi Panny Ostrabramskiej, Wilno: Księgarnia Stowarzyczenia Nauczycielstwa Polskiego, 1924.
J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas Lietuvoje, Roma: Lietuvių Katalikų Mokslo Akademija, 1958.
Z. Ivinskis, Rinktiniai...
M. Kałamajska-Saeed, Ostra Brama w Wilnie, Warszawa: Państ-
order. Their function was to protect the missionaries and the
Catholics from the pagans, see V. Gidžiūnas, Vienuolijos Lietu49
wowe Wydawnicwto Naukowe, 1990.
L. Šinkūnaitė, Lietuva — Marijos žemė, Marijampolė: Ardor,
Strayer, vol. 3, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1983, p.
306. The Livonian Sword Brothers were incorporated into the
R. Vitkauskienė did the research on the silver coverings of the
Teutonic Order by the bull of Pope Gregory IX on May 12,
1237: Liv—, Esth— and Curländishes Urkundenbuch nebst Regesten, cd. Friedrich Georg von Bunge, vol. l, 1093—1300, Reval:
images: Tu perfusa coeli rore castitatis salvo flore // Aušros Vartų
įvc. Marijos gailestingumo Motinos paveikslas, Vilnius: Dailės aka-
n.p., 1853, no. 149, p. 191-194. Therefore, since 1237 only
demijos darbai / Actą Academiae Artium Vilnensis 10, Vilnius:
one German Order under the title "the Teutonic Order" existed
Dailės akademijos leidykla, 1997, p. 10—26.
N. P. Kondakov, Ikonografija....
in the Baltic region, separated by the territory of Samogitia. Even
though these two orders were unified into one, they acted sepa-
V. Lazarev, Studies in Byzantine Painting, London: The Pindar
L. Ouspenski and V. Lossky, The Meaning of Icons, transl.
rately: V. Gidžiūnas, Vienuolijos Lietuvoje IX—XV a., p. 252.
G. E. H. Palmer and E. Kadloubovsky, Crestwood, NY: St. Vla-
in castrum, adfidem iniciando eos instruunt et aspergentes castrum
dimir's Seminary Press, 1989.
aqua benedicta et vexillum beate Mariae in arcefigunt, see HChL,
H. Belting, Likeness....
G. Wolf, Salus Populi Romani: Die Geschichte römischer Kultbil-
der im Mittelalter, Wenheim: VCH, Acta Humaniora, 1990.
H. Aurenhammer, Marienikone und Marienandachtsbild.
cult of the Virgin Mary for political purposes, see ibid., p. 77.
cago Press, 1989.
Mendog is the Polish version of the name Mindaugas. In the
text the names of Lithuanian dukes are written in Lithuanian;
however, the most important names of dukes as well as noble
parenthesis when they appear in the text for the first time. King's
chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Upper Castle in Marienburg, see M. Dygo, The Political Role..., p. 68.
Ibid., p. 64. Additionally, the popularity of the iconographic
type of the Coronation and, especially, "the multiplication of j
the insignia of power" as well as "the method of propagating
Z. Ivinskis, Lietuvos istorija. Roma: Lietuvių Katalikų Mokslo
political ideals" were influences from Bohemia on the Teuto- j
nic Knights, according to Dygo, p. 64. Another significant ty- I
pe of the Virgin's iconography were the Schreinmadonnas, which
davičius, Vilnius: Mokslas, 1997, p. 173-178.
Samogitia (Samogithia) - Žemaitija in Lithuanian, the literal
English translation: Lowland.
were very popular in the territories of the Teutonic Order. The І
highest point of the popularity of these Madonnas was ca. 1400,
Codex Diplomaticus, p. 101.
as noted by G. Radler, Der Beitrag des Deutschordenslandes
M. Giedroyć, The Arrival of Christianity in Lithuania: Early
zur Entwicklung der Schreinmadonna (1390-1420) // Sztuki
w kręgu zakonu krzyżackiego w Prusach i Inflantach l Die Kunst
Contacts (Thirteenth Century) // Oxford Slavonic Papers 18,
um den Deutschen Orden in Preussen und Livland, Studia Borussico-Baltica Torunensia Historiae Artium 2, ed. M. Wozniak, Toruń: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Mikołaja Koperni-
1985, (henceforth - Giedroyć): p. 1.
For example, the Cistercian nunery of St. Mary in Löbenicht
founded in 1349 by the grand master Henry Dusmer and the
Akademija, 1976; reprint reviewed and commented by E. Gu-
Z. Ivinskis, Rinktiniai..., p. 579.
Ibid., p. 64.
R. Barber, The Knight and Chivalry, p. 316.
families and bishops are also provided their Polish version in the
966—1945, Westport, Connecticut, London: Greenwood Press,
M. Dygo, The Political Role of the Cult of the Virgin Mary in
Teutonic Prussia in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries //
Journal of Medieval History 15, 1989. This was probably the
reason for the decision of the Teutonic Knights to proclaim the
D. Freedberg, The Power of Images: Studies in the History and
names have their English version and this will be used in the text
according to George J. Lerski, Historical Dictionary of Poland,
'... unde abbas etprepositus cum aliis sacerdotibus ascedentes ad ipsoi
Theory of Response, Chicago and London: The University of Chi38
voje IX-XV a., p. 246-247.
Ibid., p. 251-2; Dictionary of the Middle Ages, ed. Joseph R.
Z. Ivinskis, Rinktiniai..., p. 588.
Ibid., p. 579.
V. Gidžiūnas, Vienuolijos Lietuvoje IX-XV a. // Suvažiavimo
ka, 1995, p. 246. One example of such Madonnas survived in
darbai, T. 10, Roma: Lietuvių Katalikų Mokslo Akademija,
For example, the winter expedition was during Purificatio Мл-
1969, p. 245, 249.
R. Barber, The Knight and Chivalry, Woodbridge: The Boydell
пае (2 February), the summer ones were on Assumptio Mariat
Press, 1974, p. 299.
(15 August) and Nativitas Mariae (8 September), see M. Dygo,
The Political Role..., p. 67.
ЯШ., р. 17.
The establishment of this Order was confirmed by Pope Inno-
cent III in 1204 and was given the constitution of the Templars'
Z. Ivinskis, Rinktiniai..., p. 588.
Vitoldiana, no. 18, 24; no. 21, 27; the other Marian sites are the
Cathedral of Vilnius, ibid., no. 23, 30; the church of the Virgin
Mary in Veliuona, ibid., no. 34, p. 42, as well as Gardinas (Grodno), ibid., no. 45, 52; another example is the Franciscan church
of the Assumption of the Virgin in Kaunas, Codex Diplomatien!,
no. 159, p. 180.
Z. Ivinskis, Rinktiniai..., p. 588. There is nothing known about
the altar paintings from this early period. They did not survive
to the present day. However, there are very few Gothic sculptures of Beautiful Madonnas in Lithuania. Art historians suppose
that these Beautiful Madonnas derived from the territories of
the Teutonic Order because this type was popular there. Certainly, in this period these sculptures were more plentiful because they were used for the popularisation of Catholicism, as sta-
ted by T. Adomonis, Lietuvos gotikos skulptūra // Dailėtyra 2,
1987, p. 81-94.
Ibid., p. 589.
Ibid., p. 588-589.
J. Vaišnora, Marijos..., p. 38-39.
' The Bishopric of Vilnius was founded by King Jogaila after the
christianisation of the country in 1387, Grand Duke Vytautas
founded the Bishopric of Medininkai after the christianisation
of Samogitia in 1417, see J. Vaišnora, Marijos..., p. 218.
J. Jurginis, I. Lukšaitė, Lietuvos kultūros istorijos bruožai: feodalizmo epocha iki aštuonioliktojo amžiaus, Vilnius: Mokslas, 1981,
V. Gidžiūnas, Vienuolijos Lietuvoje IX-XV a., p. 253-258.
Ibid., p. 269.
A. Nikžentaitis, Svetimšaliai ikikrikščioniškoje Lietuvos visuomenėje // Naujasis židinys*), 1993, p. 57.
V. Gidžiūnas, Šv. Benedikto regulos vienuoliai Lietuvoje // Metraštis, T. 6, Roma: Lietuvių Katalikų Mokslo Akademija, 1985,
p. 14-15 and Vitoldiana, no. 18, p. 24.
T. Adomonis, Lietuvos XIV—XVI amžių miniatiūra // Menotyra
l, 1967, p. 210.
Ibid. p. 210. This monastery was one of the four Bernardine
monasteries founded at the end of the fifteenth century in the
GDL, and was under the jurisdiction of the Bernardine monastery in Poland founded in 1467, as noted by L. Šinkūnaitė, Kauno
šv. Jurgio Kankinio Bernardinų bažnyčia: interjero įrangos kaita ir raida // Lietuvos dailė europiniame kontekste, Vilnius: Dailės
had their Christian traditions, according to Ya. N. Shchapov,
Christianity and the Church in the 12th-14th Centuries // The
Russian Orthodox Church: 10th to 20th Centuries, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1988, p. 24-27.
A. Nikžentaitis, Svetimšaliai..., p. 58-59 and M.Giedroyć, p. 14.
A. Nikžentaitis, Svetimšaliai..., p. 59.
Ibid., p. 207.
Laurušavo Evangelija is preserved in the Library of Czartoryskich in Cracow, MS# 2097, see T. Adomonis, Lietuvos XIVXVI amžių miniatiūra, p. 207, 209. According to Giedroyć
the transcription of this title is "Lavryshev"; however, there is
another transcription "Lavrashev" in the book of S. C. Rowell,
Lithuania Ascending: A Pagan Empire within East-Central Europe, 1295-1345, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
There is a tradition of identifying Duke Vaišvilkas with the Orthodox Saint Elisey Lavryshevsky, whose cult was confirmed by
Metropolitan Josif II Soltan at the Synod of 1514. However,
there is a disagreement among historians in the interpretation of
this fact, see M. Giedroyć, p. 17—18.
Ibid., p. 205-210. This monastery received donations from the
descendants of Grand Duke Algirdas and later, towards the end
of the eighteenth century, it was also the major educational centre for the Uniates, as noted by M. Giedroyć, p. 18.
Ibid., p. 12.
A. Nikžentaitis, Svetimšaliai
p. 59; however, it is not known
if these dukes popularised the Orthodox faith among the Lithu78
S. C. Rowell, Lithuania...., p. 299.
R. Vitkauskienė, Tu perfusa caeli rore castitatis salvo flore...,
Historia Litvaniae by Albertus Wiiuk Koiałowicz, is a two volume edition; the first volume was published in Gdansk, in 1650;
the second in Antwerp, in 1669.
A. V. Kojalavičius, Lietuvos istorija, Vilnius: Vaga, 1989, p. 753.
A. Širmulis, Aušros Vartų Švč. Marijos Gailestingumo paveikslas // Aušros Vartų Švč. Marijos Gailestingumo Motinos paveikslas,
Vilniaus dailės akademijos darbai / Actą Academiae Artium Vilnensis 10, ed. A. Širmulis, Vilnius: Dailės akademijos leidykla,
1997, p. 8.
R. Vitkauskienė, Tu perfusa caeli rore castitatis salvo flore...,
akademijos leidykla, 1995, p. 53.
King Mindaugas accepted Roman baptism from Livonia's provincial Andrew von Stierland, see M. Giedroyć, p. 1.
The term Lithuania is a general name for both principal parts of
Ibid., p. 12. The author Rūta Vitkauskienė investigated the cul-
the country Aukštaitija (Upland) and Žemaitija, Samogitia (Low-
hodoxs of the GDL, for example, the dukes of Alšėnai and
In these territories Christianity had already been introduced during the late tenth and the eleventh century. It began when the
Druckas, Goštautas' wife Sophia Vereiska, the daughter of the
son of the Grand Prince of Kiev, Vladimir was baptised in Byzantium in 988, and he established Russian Orthodox Christianity for centuries to come; therefore, the Slavic lands already
tural orientation of the chancellor of the GDLAlbertas Goštautas and discovered the fact that many of his relatives were Ort-
duke of Moscow, ibid., p. 12.
Kościół zamkowy..., s. 104.
Z. Kiaupa, J. Kiaupienė, A. Kuncevičius, Lietuvos istorija iki
1795 metų, Vilnius: Lietuvos istorijos institutas, 1998, p. 175.
be looked after by the affairs of the other. Poles could purcha-
The Union was established on October 9 in 1596 in Brest,
and it was called the Brest Union, see A. W. Koiałowicz,
Miscellanea..., p. 30; and S. Litak, Czas wielkich reform //
se property in Lithuania and vice versa, see Harry E. Dembkowski, The Union of Lublin: Polish Federalism in the Golden
Chrześcijaństwo w Polsce, ed J. Kłoczowski, Lublin: Wydaw-
Age, New York: Columbia University Press, 1982, p. 175194. The Lithuanian nobility with the leadership of the Rad-
nictwo Towarzystwa Naukowego Katolickiego Uniwersitetu,
1981, p. 129-132.
vilas family, especially Mikalojus Radvila the Black, opposed
this union. Radvila wanted Lithuania to remain a sovereign
A. Musteikis, The Reformation in Lithuania: Religious Fluctuations in the Sixteenth Century, New York: Columbia University
state, with only a personal union based on royal marriage.
Press, 1988, p. 43.
After the death of Radvila the Black in 1565, the leadership
took his cousin Mikalojus Radvila the Brown (Mikołaj Radzi-
R. Krasauskas, Katalikų bažnyčia Lietuvoje XVI-XVII amžiuje: nuosmukio priežastys ir atgimimo veiksniai // Suvažiavimo
darkai, T. 6, Roma: Lietuvių Katalikų Mokslo Akademija, 1969,
He prohibited studying in Western universities, particularly in
Wittenberg. This order was changed in 1543 and only the pro-
hibition of accepting the Lutheran faith remained, ibid., p. 199.
wiłł "Rudy"), ibid., p. 82-103.
Z. Kiaupa, Lietuvos istorija iki 1795 metų, p. 270.
Ibid., p. 271, and E. Dembkowski, The Union of Lub113
lin..., p. 172.
R. Krasauskas, Katalikų bažnyčia Lietuvoje XVI—XVII amžiųj e . . „ p . 221.
Radvila Našlaitėlis "Sierotka" (Little Orphan) (1549-1616)
was famous in the GDL for his pilgrimage to Jerusalem and
Egypt. Afterwards, he wrote a book in Latin "Pilgrimage to
This family, divided into several branches, was one of the
wealthiest of its time. In 1547 they obtained the hereditary
title of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire. Radvila the Black
Jerusalem and Egypt", which later was translated into Polish.
was the founder of the political power of the Radvilas family;
or priests travelled only for professional reasons, see J. Jurginis,
Generally, pilgrimage was not popular in the GDL. Noblemen
see The Cambridge History of Poland: From the Origins to So-
I. Lukšaitė, Lietuvos kultūros istorijos bruožui, p. 69; Jurgis Rad-
bieski (to 1696), ed. W. F. Reddaway, J. H. Penson, O. Halecki, and R. Dyboski Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
vila (Jerzy Radziwiłł) — Cardinal, Bishop of Vilnius (1581-
1950, p. 359. As a result of his education and travel in Western Europe, Radvila embraced the Reformation very soon
rija iki 1795 metų, p. 270.
Ibid., p. 271.
"' I. Vaišvilaitė, Baroko pradžia Lietuvoje, Actą Academiae Ar-
after he returned from Austria in 1553. First he converted to
Lutheranism, later to Calvinism. He also made large endow-
1591), from 1591, Bishop of Cracow. Z. Kiaupa, Lietuvos isto-
tium Vilnensis 6, Vilnius: Dailės akademijos leidykla, 1995,
ments to Protestant churches, see A. Musteikis, The Reforma-
p. 18. The Church Union was fixed on October 9, 1596 in
tion in Lithuania, p. 49.
The pope's legate Luigi Lippomano wrote that he was "everything for the King: advisor, chancellor, marshal, and faithful
Brest; therefore, it was called the Brest Union. It was confir-
friend with whom the King takes part in banquets, entertai-
but retained their own rituals and practices. However, very so-
ning, and dancing": ibid., p. 49. The other very influential per-
on after the Union the opposition formed to the Uniates, and
son was J. Chodkevičius (J. Chodkiewicz), Livonia's governor,
palatine of Samogitians. They both had a major role in sprea-
their leader was Prince Konstantinas Vasilijus Ostrogiškis (Ostrogski) from an Orthodox family, as noted by Z. Kiaupa, Lie-
ding the Reformation, see A. Musteikis, The Reformation in
Lithuania, p. 52.
tuvos istorija iki 1795 metų, p. 274. The idea to unify the Catholic and Orthodox faiths was always alive in Western Europe,
Ibid., p. 50.
see I. Vaišvilaitė, Unijai l Krantai 18,1990, p. 18. Already Grand
R. Krasauskas, Katalikų bažnyčia Lietuvoje XVI-XVII amžiu-
Duke Vytautas and the Polish King Jogaila wanted to realise it
je..., p. 193-194.
because most of the population in the eastern parts of the GDL
MAB RS, Martyno..., mf., f. 563, inv. 730, f. 12-3.
A. Nikžentaitis, Svetimšaliai..., p. 59.
med by Pope Clemens VIII on December 25, 1596. The Orthodox of the Commonwealth accepted the papal supremacy,
was Orthodox, see A. W. Koiałowicz, Miscellanea..., p. 30.
tuvos—Lenkijos valstybėje // Lietuvių katalikų mokslą akademi-
The Commonwealth of Both Nations (Rzeczpospolita Obojga
Narodów) was established by the Union of Lublin in 1569,
jos metraštis, Roma: Lietuvių Katalikų Mokslo Akademija, 1966,
which united the territories of the Polish Kingdom with the
GDL. The head of this Commonwealth was to be elected in
common in Cracow and crowned King of Poland and Grand
Z. Kiaupa, Lietuvos istorija iki 1795 metų, p. 274.
J. Vaišnora, Bandymas įvesti Nekaltai Pradėtosios ordiną Lie-
I. Vaišvilaitė, Unija, p. 17-18, and I. Vaišvilaitė, Baroko...,
p. 18 and S. Litak, Czas wielkich reform, p. 129-132. The
result of this union later developed in many religious conflicts,
Duke of Lithuania. Both countries shared a Parliament and
Senate; the same foreign policy was practised by both states.
which were characteristic for the whole seventeenth century,
Both had to aid each other, and the affairs of one state were to
and complicated the situation of the Republic, especially in re-
According to this fantastic concept, the descendants of the Sarmatian horsemen-warriors, became Polish knights. Therefore,
the Eastern influences reflected on their dress and arms. They
were fascinated by luxury, glittering fabrics, jewellery, richly
decorated arms, Oriental ornamentation. The pomposity was
characteristic both of their dress and oratory. The gentry's men-
lations with Russia, as noted by Z. Kiaupa, Lietuvos istorija iki
1795 metų, p. 275.
120 These Lithuanian noble families played a prominent political
role in the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Radvilas
family was the most influential one during the whole 16th century and lost its dominant position only in the late 17th century. The Pacas (Рас) family started to rise in the middle of the
15th century and achieved its greatest influence in the second
half of the 17th century. By the end of the 17th century their
influence was overshadowed by the Sapiegas. Some members
of the Sapiegas f a m i l y received the titles of count and prince
from the Holy Roman Emperors, sec G. Lerski, Historical Dictionary of Poland, p. 414, 491-492, 525.
A. Wyrobisz, The Arts and Social Prestige in Poland between
the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Centuries // A Republic of Nobles:
Studies in Polish History to 1864, ed. and transl. J.K. Fedoro-
wicz, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982, p. 155.
This legend was particularly popular among the family of the
Pacas, because they claimed to be descendants of the Italian
noble family Pazzi who accepted this kinship, see A. Mączak,
The structure of power in the Commonwealth // A Republic of Nobles: Studies in Polish History to 1864, ed. and transl.
J.K. Fedorowicz, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1982, p. 129 and I. Vaišvilaitė, Baroko..,, p. 15. Mikalojus
Pacas (Mikołaj Pac) spent the last ten years of his life in Padua.
There, also bishop B. Vaina (Wojna) died. L. Jovaiša, Baroko
pradžia Lietuvoje // Suvažiavimo darbai, T. 16, Vilnius: Katalikų Akademija, 1996, p. 485.
I. Vaišvilaitė, Baroko..., p. 14.
Ibid. The last member of this family, Liudvika Karolina Radvilaitė (Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł) died in 1695. She was the
protector of the Calvinist and the Arians, see Z. Kiaupa, Lietuvos istorija iki 1795 metų, p. 270.
I. Vaišvilaitė, Baroko..., p. 14-15.
The term "boyar" was adopted by Lithuanian nobility after the
expansion to the Ruthenian territories.
I. Vaišvilaitė, Baroko..., p. 13-16, 18.
However, it does not mean that the GDL had no contacts with
other countries, which were maintained through the aristocracy, as was discussed above. I. Vaišvilaitė, Baroko..., p. 13.
Sarmatism (Sarmatyzm) - this term is used to describe the culture of the Polish gentry (Polskiej szlachty) in the 17th-18th
century. The concept crystallised in the sixteenth century. This
was an ideology as well as lifestyle based on the legend that
Polish knights ate descendants of the Sarmatian horsemen-warriors, the one European nation never conquered by the Romans, see A. Wyrobisz, The Arts and Social Prestige in Poland,
p. 155. Historians A. Miechowita and M. Bielski proposed the
following as the explanation of this concept. In the first centuries of the modern era a part of the Iranian Sarmatian people
left the Black Sea steppes and settled in the Dnjepr and Vistula
River valleys, turning the local Slavic population into slaves.
tality was reflected in a rural, parochial life. This lifestyle developed during the Counter Reformation; therefore, Sarmatian
gentry identified themselves as staunch Catholics. An exaggerate sense of their religiosity was a characteristic feature. This
ideology was reflected in literature as well as in art, which combined Oriental motifs with Baroque, see G. Lerski, Historical
Dictionary of Poland, p. 527; Cz. Miłosz, The History of Polish
Literature, Berkeley Los Angeles London: University of California Press, 1983, p. 116.
I. Vaišvilaitė, Baroko
Z. Kiaupa, Lietuvos istorija iki 1795 metų, p. 175132
In these reports, descriptions of the Lithuanian people, sometimes very detailed, often s t i l l mention paganism. For example, the papal nuntius Torres, in his report from 1622, wrote
that in Samogitia, in one remote place the Franciscans converted many people who venerated idols, trees, and snakes. In
such reports the visitors very often mention the reasons of
paganism: presbyteros et parochos linguae suae peritos поп habent, see Z. Ivinskis, Lietuvos ir Apaštalų sosto santykiai amžių
bėgyje (iki XVIII amžiaus galo) // Suvažiavimo darbai, T. 4,
Roma: Lietuvių Katalikų Mokslo Akademija, 1961, p.137138.
Z. Kiaupa, Lietuvos istorija iki 1795 metų, p. 175.
J. Vaišnora, Marijos..., p. 363-364.
E. Dembkowski, The Union of Lublin..., p. 211-212.
I. Vaišvilaitė, Baroko..., p. 17.
Z. Ivinskis, Rinktiniai..., p. 594.
Elenchus omnium ecclesiarum et universi deriprovinciae ecclesiasticae Lituanaepro anno domini 1940, p. 68, 131.
K. Misius, R. Šinkūnas, Lietuvos katalikų bažnyčios, Vilnius:
Pradai, 1993, p. 193 and B. Kviklys, Mūsų Lietuvi, T. 4, Bostonas: Lietuvių Enciklopedijos Leidykla, 1968, p. 537.
Ibid., p. 493.
B. Kviklys, Mūsų Lietuva, T. l, p. 397.
K. Misius, Lietuvos katalikų bažnyčios, p. 25—28; 34—35.
M. Baliński, T. Lipiński, Starożytna Polska..., p. 317.
MAB RS, Raseinių..., f. 10—11. More extensive information
about this chutch and image is provided in the catalogue appended to the thesis on no 17.
Z. Ivinskis, Rinktiniai..., p. 594-595-
The relations of Lithuania with the Apostle See, until the Council
of Trent, were maintained through Poland. The Pope's legates
who came to Poland to make visitations, also spent some time
in Lithuania. However, the Counter Reformation changed this
situation, as well. This innovation was based on the regulation
that a bishop from Lithuania had to go ad Limina Apostolorum
every five years and deliver the report about the religious situa-
tion in the bishopric, see Z. Ivinskis, Lietuvos ir Apaštalų sosto
santykiai..., p. 137-144.
image of the statue of the Loretto Madonna, which was dona-
Z. Ivinskis, Rinktiniai..., p. 595. For the development of the
ted by the Pope. Ibid.
Ibid. p. 611. This statue is described by the Jesuit A. W. Koi-
Rosary see Roberta I. M. Olson, The Rosary and its Iconograp-
ałowicz in Miscellanea..., published in Vilnius in 1650. He wri-
hy, part. 1: Background for Devotional Tondi // Arte Christia-
tes that the statue of the Madonna of Loretto was very popular
nal?,!, 1998, p. 63.
This confraternity remained very popular until the 19 th century. It was probably founded before the Dominican spread
because, except tor Vilnius, their intensive settlement took pla-
in the second half of the 17th century, and it had also votive
offerings. The same information is given by Gumppenberg in
Atlas Marianus, p. 611. However, its cult later gradually dis-
ce only in the seventeenth century. The confraternity was foun-
Virgin Mary are not as popular in Lithuania as her images.
pensed, sec J. Vaišnora, Marijos..., p. 302. Sculptures of the
ded by rectors of the churches as well, see J. Vaišnora, Mari-
There are very few venerated sculptures from the late period,
jos..., p. 98. The confraternity of the Rosary may have been
mostly from the late eighteenth century, see R. G. Skrinskas,
formed from Germany because in the 15th-16th centuries it
Piligrimo vadovas: po stebuklingas Marijos vietas, Kaunas: Judex,
was very popular there. Ibid, and J. M. Olson, The Rosary
and its Iconography, p. 267—273. Another important fact
1999, p. 390-416. These sculptures do not have such importance as, for example, the images of Šiluva, Aušra Gate, or
which testifies to this evidence is that, in this period, Germans
Žemaičių Kalvarija. One late Medieval example of a venerated
sculpture is the Schreinmadonna from Seinai (Sejny — present
had the commerce of Vilnius in their hands. The confraternity of St. Martin known as one of the oldest in Lithuania was
also founded by Germans, near the Franciscan church of
St. Ann in Vilnius. In 1507, they rebuilt the church of St.
Ann, see J. Kurczewski, Biskupstwo Wileńskie, Wilno: Nakła-
day Poland). Ibid., p. 417.
For example, the cult of the images in Raseiniai, Kazokiškės,
and Žemaičių Kalvarija was spread by the Dominicans, see
J. Vaišnora, Marijos..., p. 343, 403-404, 372-375. The Uniates venerated the image from the church of Holy Trinity, whe-
dem i Drukiem Józefa Zawadskiego, 1912, p. 164—165. The
Franciscans who settled near St. Ann church were mostly Ger-
re they settled in 1608, and which was also popular among
mans, see J. Vaišnora, Marijos.,., p. 7Ü.
other faithful: Catholic as well as Orthodox, see Atlas Maria-
, p. 595, and I. Vaišnora, Marijos...,
nus, p. 178. When the Discalced Carmelites settled near Aušra
Ibid., p. 88.
Ordo Canonicorum Regularium Mendicantium S. Marine de
Metro de Poenitentia is a congregation which flourished in Po-
Gate in Vilnius in 1626, they started to promote the cult of the
image from Aušra Gate, see catalogue, no. 22.
Z. Ivinskis, Rinktiniai
described by the Jesuit A.W. Koiałowicz in Miscellanea....
land and Bohemia in the 16th century. There are various opinions as to the period of its foundation, some dating it back
Three of them belonged to religious communities: one to Mater
to the time of Pope Cletus, but it is certain that the order was
flourishing in Poland and Lithuania in the second half of the
Dolorosa, which had its chapel and altar with the inscription
thirteenth century, the most important monastery being that
Altareprivilegiatum pro defunctis. The guild of goldsmiths had
the second image of the Virgin, in the chapel of St. Barbara;
of St. Mark in Cracow, where the order lived under the Rule
and the third was the Madonna of Students which belonged
of St. Augustine. The prior bore the title Ecclesia S. Maria de
Metro. Their habit was white, with a white scapular, on which
to Vilnius Academy students association, see R. G. Skrinskas,
Piligrimo..., p. 353—354; andj. Vaišnora, Marijos..., p. 302304.
a red cross and heart were embroidered. In 16th century documents the members of this order are referred to as canons
I. Vaišvilaitė, Baroko..., p. 17-21.
regular and mendicants, see The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 11,
"Penitential Orders", New York: Robert Appleton Company,
Kościół zamkowy..., p. 313. In this pilgrimage procession almost all the people of Vilnius participated. The leader was the
1911, p. 637. This order is one of the earliest orders in Lithu-
bishop, who walked the whole way (ca. 30 km) barefoot, together with other pilgrims. The whole procession stopped every
ania which had the title of the Virgin Mary. They were first
settled by King Jogaila during the baptism of Lithuania in the
7 kilometres, and the Jesuits preached. Later such pilgrimages
late 14th century. In Lithuania they were called "White Au-
were organised every year by the students of Vilnius Acade-
gustinians," because of their white clothes, see J. Vaišnora,
Marijos..., p. 110-111.
my. Pilgrimage processions also went to Trakai from other
J. Kurczewski, Biskupstwo..., 525.
J. Vaišnora, Marijos..., p. 83.
Ibid., p. 81.
For example, the church of St. Johns, the Baptist and the
Evangelist had six venerated images of the Virgin, which were
places: for example, Kaunas, Merkinė, etc. see J. Vaišnora,
Ibid., p. 82-83.
Atlas Marianus, 216-217. In the Atlas Marianus, the author
also describes how she travelled to Rome and returned with the
Marijos garbinimas.,., p. 281.
See Catalogue, no. 15.
Rethorical speaches and other tools were used such as was flag
waving, and certainly music, see J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 140-141.
many people were deported to Siberia or were inprisoned.
Lithuanian bishops, living in exile, gathered in Rome on May
13, 1951, in the chapel of the college of St. Casimir to ask for
the Virgin's protection for their ravaged country, seej. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 152 and R. G. Skrinskas, Piligri-
J. Kurczcwski, Historya koronacyi cudownego obrazu Najśw. Panny Maryi Trackiej, Warszawa: Drukarnia Synów St. Niemiry,
1906, p. 12-13.
Catholic Encyclopedia, Veneration of Images: Coronation of
The oldest crowned sculpture in Rome is in St. Agnese church,
near via Nomentana. Archaeologists date it to the 7th century.
The first pope, who crowned the image of the Virgin, was Gregory III (731-741), see M. J. Rolewicz, Wiadomość o cudownych obrazach Pana naszego Jezusa Chrystusa i Najśw. Panny Maryi w mieście Wilnie: o koronacyi obrazów uroczystym obrzędem w
Kościele bożym, Wilno: Nakładem I. Krasnosielskiego Księgar168
za, 1863, p. 48-49.
The initiator of this custom was a certain count Alexander SforzaPallavicini of Piacenza who set aside a sum of money to pay for
crowns to be used for this purpose. This custom started from
1631 when the image of the Madonna was crowned in Vatican
St. Peter's Basilica on August 27, 1631. Count Alexander left a
considerable sum of money to the chapter, under the condition
that it should be spent on crowning famous pictures and statues of the Virgin. The procedure is that a bishop may apply to
the Chapter of the Vatican Basilica to crown an image in his
diocese. The canons would consider his petition and if they
approved to it, they would have a crown made and sent for this
ceremony. Sometimes, the crowns could be made from precious metals which came from donations of the believers, see Coronation of Images, http://www.knight.org/advent/cathen/
169 ~Y\iC first image crowned in the Commonwealth was the Virgin
of Częstochowa image, crowned in 1717, see I. Rolewicz, Wiadomość. .., p. 52. The first image crowned in the GDL in 1718
was the image of Trakai, see catalogue, no. 14. This custom is
also practised today, for example the image of Pivašiūnai was
crowned in 1988, see catalogue, no. 19.
The aim of this order was to defend the Catholic faith and also
to support the power of the State, see The Cambridge History of
Poland, p. 494.
It failed because the idea of the founding of such an order under special obligation to the King resulted in a strong protest
from nobles and magnates, who "jealously defended their legal
equality", therefore, the King was forced to abandon this pro-
Ibid., p. 278-279.
M. Dygo, The Political Role..., p. 76. A more extended explanation concerning the role of the Virgin for the Teutonic Order can be found in the second chapter of the article.
J. J. Kopec, Geneza patronatu Maryjnego nad narodem Polskim, p. 279-280.
Ibid., p. 284.
Ibid., p. 276-277.
Sculpture veneration derives from the tradition of relic veneration. The earliest Virgin's Andachtsbild, started to be used
in the 10th century, it was very similar to reliquaries, for example, the Golden Madonna in Essen, (dated to 976-982) or
Imad-Madonna (1051-1076), see Gertrud Schiller, Maria, vol.
4/2 // Ikonographie der christlichen Kunst, Gütersloh: Gütersloh Verlagshaus Gerd Mohn, 1968, p. 181-182.
M. Karpowicz, Stuka Polska XVII wieku, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Artysticzne i Filmowe, 1975, p. 67.
M. Baliński, T. Lipiński, Starożytna Polska, p. 317, morę extensive information about the changing of the painting is in
the appended catalogue, no. 12.
Lexikon der Christlichen Ikonographie, ed. Engelbert Kischbaum,
vol. 3, Freiburg: Herder, 1990, p. 198.
In the fourteenth-fifteenth centuries, the copies of the most
venerated icons started to be spread, see H. Aurenhammer,
Marienikone und Marienandachtsbild, p. 136-137. For example, in 1478, Pope Sixtus IV confirmed the Virgin's image in
S. Maria del Popolo as an authentic image painted by St. Luke;
the copying of this image had already started before this date,
because the ruler of Pesaro and papal general Alexander Sforza
had already had this icon copied by Melozzo da Forli, see H.
The Virgin was accepted as the Queen of Poland and the
GDL, see ibid., p. 147. The document relating King Casi-
Belting, Likeness..., p. 342.
A-cheiro-poieton "not made by hand" - this term came into use
describing the images which were believed to have originated
miraculously. In Latin, this term is поп manufactum; in Russian nerukotvorenyi, sec H. Belting, Likeness..., p. 49.
D. Freedberg, The Power of Images..., p. 110.
R. G. Skrinskas, Piligrimo..., p. 125.
190 por exanlple) t h e legends of the provenance of the images of
mir's vow to the Virgin, which took place in Lviv, is preserved
in the Vatican archives, ibid., p. 148. This was the first time
the Virgin became Patroness of Lithuania. The second time,
the Virgin became the Patroness of modern Lithuania in 1951,
also during a very difficult period for the country, when
Krekenava, Pivašiūnai, and Tverai.
'" Atlas Marianus, p. 216—217. However, the biographical facts
concerning this woman contradict to the dating of the image, see
R. Stankevičienė, Religinės dailės sąlyčio su Europos krikščioniškąja kultūra aspektai // Europos dailė: lietuviškieji variantai,
During the Swedish-Russian war, in the middle of the seventeenth century, the Commonwealth was severely ravaged by these foreign armies, see J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 145173
mo..., p. 445-446.
J. Vaišnora, Marijos..., p. 145.
J. J. Kopeć, Geneza patronatu Maryjnego nad narodem Polskim // Roczniki Humanistyczne 34, vol. 2, 1986, p. 282-283.
Vilnius: Dailes akademijos darbai, 1994, p. 150-151. Someti-
L. Ouspenski, Theology of the Icon, p. 62—64. Hodegetria — "She
mes, these stories are funny. For example, the story of the image
from Kodan church, which is a copy of the Virgin of Guadelupe.
who leads the way" represents the Christological dogma by sho-
According to the legend, it was brought to this church by the
wing the Virgin presenting her son, he who is the way. She
carries the Child, who blesses with his right hand, seated on her
Palatine of Vilnius, Mikalojus Sapiega (Mikołaj Sapieha), who
stole it from a Vatican chapel, during his visit to Pope Urban
see P. Evdakimov, The Art of the Icon: A Theology of Beauty,
VIII. This story happened c. 1632—1633. Certainly, the Pope
was angry with him and wanted to send Sapiega to prison. However, Sapiega went to the Pope a second time to ask for pardon.
left arm. With her right hand, the Virgin points to the Saviour,
transl. Fr. Steven Bigham, Redondo Beach, California: Oakwood Publications, 1990, p. 263.
L. Šinkūnaitė, Lietuva - Marijos žemė, p. 64.
He explained his behaviour as a desire to strengthen the Catholic
faith in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Pope forgave him and donated a copy of the stolen image, the original of
which he had to return to the chapel. The copy was located in
the church of Kodan and became veiy popular, because it was
Virgin is Theotokos — Mother of God; however, she is linked
to fallen m a n k i n d , which bears the consequences of the origi-
cudownych obrazów..., p. 193—195.
nal sin; she was not excluded from Adam's lineage by the
J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 404.
As already discussed in chapter III.l, Italy was very important
Church. At the same time, her superior dignity as the Mother
among the nobility. This certainly had an impact also on the
popularity of such legends. However, one can notice that in
of God explains her exceptional veneration: The Virgin is the
first of all human beings to have reached the ultimate degree
of holiness "through the complete transfiguration of her being,
these legends a certain outstanding personalities, mentioned by
name is connected to the origin of the image, for example, Mi-
to which every creature is summoned," see L. Ouspensky, The-
kalojus Radvila (Mikołaj Radziwiłł), Ona Radvilienė (Anna Radziwiłł), and Grand Duke Vytautas.
Z. Kasparavičienė, Trakų Dievo Motina // Kultūros paminklai
ology of the Icon, p. 62.
D. Frecdberg, The Power ofImages..., p. 100.
Cleaning or restoration of the faces of such images was not
l, 1994: p. 124—125. I. Vaišvilaitė noticed that according to
written sources many altar painters worked during this pe-
allowed because many of them were believed to have originated
riod, in Vilnius. N. F. Vysockaja states that there may have
lar Images // The Dictionary of Art, vol. 8, New York: Grove,
miraculously, see cd. J. Turner, Devotional Objects and Popu-
been a painter's guild which belonged to the confraternity of
St Ann, see L Vaišvilaitė, Baroko..., p. 49.
M. Karpowicz, Sztuka polska XVII wieku, p. 67. Polish influ-
ence is best illustrated by the great number of copies of the
Madonna of Częstochowa which were widespread in Lithua-
well as in Vosyliškės, Radviliškis, and other places. These copies as the other Marian images were covered with silver and
1996, p. 835.
I. Vaišvilaitė, Baroko..., p. 50.
A. Širmulis, Aušros Vartai..., p. 7.
The cult of this image is practised by both faiths until present
day. The feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy is on January 8, according to the Orthodox calendar, see
nia, for example, the already mentioned copy in Raseiniai as
The Virgin as the Queen of Heaven developed in Roman
Catholicism, sec catalogue, no 1. This type is not used in Byzantine icon painting because in the Orthodox Church the
donated to the nobleman by the Pope, sec A. Fridrich, Historyc
Ibid., p. 95.
L. Ouspensky and V. Lossky, The Meaning of Icons, p. 81.
R. G. Skrinskas, Piligrimo..., p. 373.
S. Mikėnas, Paveikslų aptaisai XVII-ХІХ a. Lietuvoje // Nuo
adorned with crowns.
gotikos iki romantizmo: senoji Lietuvos dailė, ed. I. Vaišvilaitė,
Hodegetria - there are various transcriptions of this name by
Vilnius: Dailės akademijos leidykla, 1992, p. 89. First, a silver
different scholars: Hodegetria, Hodigitria, and Hodighitria. In
or silver gilded crown was given to the image, then a halo and,
later, other silver elements, such as jewellery on the Virgin's
this thesis Hodegetria will be used according to H. Belting's,
neck, stars around her head, as well as the moon at the bottom
Likeness..., p. 73—75. This type of icon was probably the mostreproduced icon of all, ibid. Hodegetria is the oldest iconograp-
of the image were added. The Child was adorned with silver
in the same way. Finally, these images were entirely covered
hic type of the Virgin and Child. The Virgin can be represented
as standing full figure or half figure, or seated, sec V. Lazarev,
Studies in Byzantine Painting, p. 229. The history of this icon
with silver, see ibid.
R. Vitkauskienė, Tu perfusa coeli rore castitatis salvo flore...,
p. 13. It is believed that metal casings used in the Greek Church
derived from Georgia and later, spread in all Byzantium. In
can be traced back to "apostolic times," because it is believed
that this icon was painted by the Evangelist Luke, see H. Belting, Likeness..., p. 49. The original painting of St. Luke the
Evangelist was a standing Virgin and Child seated on her left
Georgia, the tradition to cover the whole figure of the Mother
arm. For the Hodegetria'^ origin, see L. Ouspcnsky and V. Lossky, The Meaning of Icons, transl. G. E. H. Palmer and E. Kad-
gin's hands were covered, see N. P. Kondakov, Ikonografija.,.,
loubovsky, Crestwood, NY: St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1989,
p. 80. N. P. Kondakov, Ikonografija..., p. 152—163 and
of God with silver spread very early. Sometimes, only the Virpages 87, 91, 213, 215, 226, 266, 291.
H. Belting, Likeness..., p. 53-55.
N. P. Kondakov, Ikonografija..., p. 291.
"Casing" is an English translation for the Russian "oklad."
R. Vitkauskienė, Tu peiiusa cocli rorc castitatis salvo flore...,
Ibid., p. 13.
The riza covers the entire painting, except for faces, hands,
and feet. The characteristic feature of the "riza" is the exact
repetition of all the lines and details of the painting and the
covering of the whole image; see R. Vitkauskienė, Tu perfusa
coeli rore castitatis salvo florc..., p. 17. Later craftsmen, however, no longer bothered to paint the entire panel of the
icon, but only those parts of the figures which were to remain
visible. Although these coverings were sometimes made of precious metals, the icon underneath was incomplete or virtually
Symbols in Christian Art, New York: Oxford University Press,
1 954, p. 59-60. For example, the image of Pivašiūnai and the
image of Aušra Gate have these elements.
The dove, as the symbol of the Holy Ghost, first appears in the
story of the baptism of Christ (John 1:32). It is present in the
representation of the Trinity, the Baptism, and the Annunciation of Mary, see ibid., p. 10—12.
' R. Vitkauskienė, Tu perfusa coeli rore castitatis salvo flore...,
M. Karpowicz, Uwagi o aplikacjach na obrazy i o roli sreber w
dawnej Rzeczypospolitej // Rocznik Historii Sztuki 16,1986, p.
worthless, unlike the icons of earlier times, see L. Brkich, Und e r s t a n d i n g R u s s i a n Icons // European History, h t t p : / /
www.mpm.edu/collect/icon.html. Western pilgrimage images
have the same characteristics. The housing or the adornment
of the pilgrimage image is often more distinctive and precious
than the image itself. Generally, they give "the impression of
being rather rude and rudimentary;" see D. Freedberg, The
Power of Images..,, p. 1 10, 117. However, for their veneration, not the quality but the rich adornment was more important, ibid.
This image was completely ravaged by fire in the 17 th century
R. Vitkauskienė, Tu perfusa cocli rore castitatis salvo flore...,
These contacts were in various fields: in law, military, missionary work, and book production, see N. Neporožnia, Čekijos
ir lietuvių kultūrinių sąveikų barai. LDK laikotarpis // Kultūros
barai, 3, 1999, p. 59. Therefore, there is no doubt that the
influence of Bohemia was also in the altar paintings.
Endnotes of catalogue
and, at the same time, it was overpainted. From the original
image there remained only the face of the Virgin, see the document: Gudynas — Kultūros p a m i n k l o restauravimo pasas.
Nežinomas tapytojas: Madona su Kūdikiu, part 2, inv. 5250,
1985, p. 3-10.
For more detail information about the silver coverings of
Madonna of Trakai, see B. R. Vitkauskienė. Trakų Marijos
paveikslo aptaisai // Lietuvos Didžiosios Kunigaikštystės barokas:
formos, įtakos, kryptys, Vilniaus dailės akademijos darbai 21.
Vilnius: Dailės akademijos leidykla, 2001, p. 153-166. In the
16th -17th centuries, two schools of goldsmiths existed in the
GDL. The first was in Vilnius. The main features of this school
were the floral and the geometric ornaments, especially acanthus leaves. This school was strongly influenced by German artisans, because many German goldsmiths worked in Vilnius.
For example, to this school belong the silver coverings of the
images of Trakai and of the Aušra Gate. The second school was
in Samogitia. Its main features were smaller ornamentation of
flowers. The main focus was not on the ornamentation but on
the motif of the silver strips, for example, the silver covering of
the Madonna of Tytuvėnai, see S. Mikėnas, Paveikslų aptaisai
XVII-XIX a. Lietuvoje, p. 92-96. From these examples one
can notice the features of both schools.
Iconographically, such details of the silver covering represent
the Virgin as the Apocalyptic Woman: crowned with twelve
stars, clothed with the sun and with the moon under her feet.
(Revelation 12,1). This also symbolises the Immaculate Conception and the Queen of Heaven, see G. Ferguson, Signs 0"
The catalogue of the images is very shortened as well as the list of
illustrations. The list of the images is the whole but in their
description one can see only these parts, which are important
for the analysis of the main part of the thesis. In addition to this
article I introduced the numbers which mark the paragraphs
needed for the quotation in the main text.
The English version of names are used according to George
J. Lerski, Historical Dictionary of Poland, 1996.
G. Wolf, Salus Populi Romani..., p. 119-124.
Krikščioniškos ikonografijos žodynas, sud. D. Ramonienė, Vilnius:
Vilniaus dailės akademijos leidykla, 1997, p. 186-187.
Gudynas - Kultūros paminklo restauravimo pasas. Nežinomas
tapytojas: Madona iš Senųjų Trakų Inv. 2565, 1985, p. 54-55,
J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 250. The monastery of the
Annunciation of the Virgin in Old Trakai was founded through
the privilege of Pope Inocent VII on 27 July, 1405. From 14051410, a church founded by Grand Duke Vytautas was built, see
Vitoldiana, no 18, 24. The Benedictines from Tinec, near Cracow, were invited to this monastery. In 1757 the monastery was
destroyed by fire but was rebuilt at the end of the eighteenth cen-
tury, sec Catalogus ecclesiarum et deri Dioecesis Vilnensis pro anno
Domini, 1925, p. 93; and J. Kurczewski, Biskupstwo Wileńskie,
Wilno: Nakładem i drukiem]. Zawadskiego, 1912, p. 189.
J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 249-250.
L. Šinkūnaitė, Lietuva - Marijos žemė, p. 1 1 4 , 161; T. Adomonis, K. Cerbulėnas, Lietuvos TSR dailės ir architektūros
istorija, t. l , Nuo seniausių laikų iki 1755, Vilnius: Mokslas,
1987, p. 37.
O. Mažeikienė, XIV-XIXginklai. Katalogas, Vilnius: LTSR isto-
rijos-etnografijos muziejus, 1987, p. 59, 95; and A. Czerwinski,
Historyczny oraz ze zbiorów wojska polskiego w Warszawie, War-
szawa: Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, 1978, (Album), no page.
Lexikon der Christlicher Ikonographie, vol. 3, p. 168—169.
MAß RS, Raseinių..., f. 38-120, f. 15; and Elenchus.,., 1940,
MAB RS, Raseinių..., f. 15.
Wallfahrt kennt keine Grenzen, ed. T. Raff, München: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, 1984, p. 180.
Ibid., p. 378; and B. Kviklys, Mūsų Lietuva, vol. 2, p. 594.
B. Kviklys, Mūsų Lietuva, vol. 4, p. 493.
J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 343.
MAB RS, Raseinių..., f. 16; and J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 343.
L. Ouspenski and V. Lossky, The Meaning of Icons, transl. G. E.
Ibid, p. 407, and Elenchus omnium ecclesiarum et universi deri
H. Palmer and E. Kadloubovsky, Creswood, NY: St. Vladimir's
provinciae ecclesiasticae Lituanaepro anno Domini 1939, p. 192.
L. Šinkūnaitė, Lietuva..., p. 146.
Seminary Press, 1989, p. 81.
Die Ikonen, ed. K. Weitzmann, G. Alibegasvili, and A. Volskaja, Freiburg, Basel, Wien: Herder, 1982, p. 61; and A. Dcquer,
Ikonen, Bergbaus.: n.p., 1977, p. 67.
" K. S. Moisan, and B. Szafranicc, Maryja Orędowniczka wiernych,
J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 357-358.
Lexikon der Christlicher Ikonographie, vol. 3, p. 197.
J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 292, and W. Nowakowski, O cudownym obrazie Najśw. Maryi P. Ostrabramskiej: wiado-
Warszawa: Akademia Teologii Katolickiej, 1987, p. 44-50.
Studio of Tauras Jurkūnas — Kultūros paminklo restauravimo
mość historyczna, Kraków: Nakładem Autora, 1895, p. 1-31.
The Carmelites were settled for the first time in 1506 by Mika-
pasas: nežinomas tapytojas Svc. Mergelė Rožinio Karalienė, No.
lojus Radvila (Mikołaj Radziwiłł). He founded a monastery and
church of Maria ad Nives for them. Ibid., p. 116.
L. Šinkūnaitė, Lietuva..., p. 161, T. Adomonis, K. Čerbulėnas,
Lietuvos TSR dailės ir architektūros istorija, p. 37.
Studio of Tauras Jurkūnas — Kultūros paminklo restauravimo
pasas..., No 84.
Lexikon der Christlicher Ikonographie, vol. 3, p. 168-169.
L. Ouspensky and V. Lossky, The Meaning of Icons, p. 54.
Ibid., p. 80-81.
Ibid., p. 81.
R. Vitkauskienė, Tu perfusa caeli rore castitatis salvo florc..., p. 16.
A. Širmulis, Aušros Vartų..., p. 7.
In this procession four bishops, all clerks, the nobility, and the
populace participated. The image was carried by the most important noblemen of the country, the Palatine of Vilnius Mykolas Pacas (Mikołaj Рас), Chancellor of the GDL Kristupas Pacas
(Krzysztof Рас), and the Marshal of the GDL Hilaras Palubinskas. A lot of panegyrics were told about the image for its mira-
culous power, see]. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 293.
Ibid., p. 19; 292.
' A. Širmulis, Aušros Vartų..., p. 8.
J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 369—370; and B. Kviklys,
Mūsų Lietuva, vol. 4, p. 99-100.
V. Lazarev, Studies in Byzantine Painting, London: The Pindar
Press, 1995, p. 119-142.
L. Šinkūnaitė, Lietuva ..., p. 161.
L. Ouspenski and V. Lossky, The Meaning of Icons, p. 81.
M. Baliński, T. Lipiński, Starożytna Pobka, vol. 3, Wielkie Księstwo Litewskie, Warszawa: Nakładem i drukiem S. Orgelbranda,
1850, p. 317.
Gudynas — Tyrimo ataskaita: 16—17a. nežinomi tapytojai. Non
published file, 1994.
Ibid; A. Cyžienė, Trakų Dievo Motinos paveikslo restauravimas // Kultūros paminklai 4, 1997, p. 166-167.
This hypothesis was told by Associate Professor Marija Ma-
tušakaitė and Gintautas Žalėnas.
J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 280.
J. Maceika, Trakai, Vilnius: Raida, 1940, p. 55.
J. Kurczewski, Hmorya koronacyi..., p. 8-16.
L. Šinkūnaitė, Lietuva..., p. 12.
J. Vaišnora, Marijos garbinimas..., p. 282—283.
This document is from Nunziatura di Polonia, vol. 47, f. 530531, and it is preserved in the Vatican archives, see J. Vaišnora,
Marijos garbinimas..., p. 281.
SVC. MERGELĖS MARIJOS KULTAS
IR JOS ATVAIZDAI LIETUVOJE
NUO VIDURAMŽIŲ IKI XVII a.
niuansus, kurie buvo ypač reikšmingi tolesniam Marijos kulto formavimuisi.
Antrasis laikotarpis, arba poreformacinis, jau daug
gausesnis šaltinių. XVII a. buvo labai svarbus krikščio-
nybės įsitvirtinimui Lietuvoje, taip pat ir Marijos gar-
procesas, kai Marijos kultas kartu stiprino krikščioniš-
Siame straipsnyje nagrinėjama Marijos kulto ir iko-
ką tikėjimą po reformacijos, platino jį tiek etninėje Lietuvoje, dar vis atsikratančiai paskutinių pagonybės lie-
binimo tradicijos išpopuliarėjimui. Vyko ir atvirkštinis
nografijos raida Lietuvoje nuo krikščionybės įvedimo
iki XVII a. Straipsnis padalytas į du skyrius, kuriuose
apžvelgiami skirtingi laikotarpiai: pirmasis apima ankstyvąjį krikščionybės laikotarpį Lietuvoje iki reformaci-
kanų, tiek slaviškose stačiatikių žemėse, esančiose
tuometinėje LDK teritorijoje.
Marijos kultas į Lietuvą atėjo kartu su krikščionybe
iš Vakarų Europos, kur jis jau buvo visiškai nusistovėjęs
jos išplitimo XVI a., o antrasis nagrinėja kontrreformacijos pradžią ir įsigalėjimą XVII a.
va, nors ir perėmė šią tradiciją, vis dėlto ją savaip inter-
Ankstyvasis laikotarpis labai sudėtingas pirmiausia
pretavo. Tai, be abejonės, lėmė savita to laikotarpio Lie-
dėl negausių šaltinių, ypač ikonografinių. Sudėtingas
tiek dogmatiniu, tiek liturginiu požiūriu. Tačiau Lietu-
tuvos kultūrinė ir religinė situacija.
dar ir todėl, kad pati krikščionybė buvo silpna. Mari-
Lietuvoje Marijos garbinimas pasižymi išskirtine
jos kulto tyrinėtojai, tokie kaip Z. Ivinskis ar L. Vaiš-
pagarba Dievo Motinos paveikslams. Tai liudija jų gau-
nora, šį laikotarpį apibūdino labai šykščiai, lyg ir atidėjo jį į šalį. Straipsnyje, pasitelkiant istorinius faktus,
sa bažnyčiose ne tik XVII a., bet ir išlikusių garbini-
aptariant XIII-XVI a. Lietuvos kultūros aspektus bei
plėšimus, nepalankų krikščionybei metą, sovietinę oku-
naudojantis lyginamąja analize, bandoma atidžiau pa-
paciją. Tačiau šis kultūros paveldas dar kelia daug ne-
žvelgti į šį laikotarpį ir atskleisti kai kuriuos svarbius
mas net mūsų dienomis. Paveikslai pergyveno karo