Dominican Monastery and the Church of the Holy Spirit

Jean Baptiste Arnout, Adolphe Jean-Baptiste Bayot, Dominikonų Street and the Gentry Institute in Vilnius. 1850. Lithuanian National Museum of Art

You can see the white hooded habits typical of the Dominicans on Vilnius’ streets nowadays as well. The Dominican Monastery was set up in the 16th century, when Duke Alexander gave the Dominicans the Parochial Church of the Holy Spirit funded by Vytautas the Great. The Dominican friars were known for their intelligence and high levels of education, and studied philosophy.

The legendary abandoned building of the Church of the Holy Spirit stimulates and excites the imagination – hundreds of dead bodies that turned into mummies due to the dry air were found in the basements of the church. Among them, the remains of different prominent figures, troops of the Napoleon army, victims of plagues and monks. A few decades ago, it was still possible to visit them. After the Russian Tsarist government closed the monastery and installed flats there, it was also used as a prison in which one of the most famous leaders of the 1863 rebellion – Konstantinas Kalinauskas – was imprisoned. Presently, the monastery is abandoned and is under restoration. For this reason, the Dominican friars had to move to Vilnius’ Church of St. Philip and St. Jacob.

Dominikonų g. 8
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