Vilnius, Lithuania: Our Lady Gate of Dawn
About Our Lady Gate of Dawn:
The sanctuary of Our Lady Gate of Dawn houses a miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, that dates from the 16th Century. This picture of Our Lady that was affixed to the inside of the city walls, is credited with saving the city from destruction.
In the sixteenth century, city officials built a stone wall around the city for protection. Two religious paintings were placed in its walls at one of the gates. Facing outward was the picture of Jesus, and facing inward was a picture of the Blessed Virgin.
The local monks who built a monastery near the gate began to take care of the painting in 1626. They built a wooden chapel over the gate in 1671. Then in 1702, Vilnius was captured by the Swedish army during the Great Northern War, but, according to tradition, at dawn the following day, the iron city gates fell, crushing and killing Swedish soldiers at the gate, after which the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth Army liberated the city.
Although religious services were stopped during the years of Soviet occupation, when the country gained it’s independence in 1991, the church was re-opened. The sanctuary today is one of the country’s biggest attractions in the city for both Catholics and Orthodox alike. The Feast of Our Lady Gate of Dawn is celebrated on November 16.
Pope John Paul II visited here September 4, 1993 and prayed the rosary at the shrine.
On Sept. 22, 2018, Pope Francis visited the Shrine.
Finding Our Lady Gate of Dawn:
Address: Aušros Vartų g. 12, Vilnius 01304, Lithuania
GPS coordinates: 54° 40′ 30.6732” N, 25° 17′ 22.7688” E
Tel: +370 (5) 212 3513