Franciscan Monastery

Juozas Kamarauskas. Vilnius’s Franciscan Church. 1897. Lithuanian National Museum of Art

Formerly, there was one more city in Vilnius and it belonged to the Franciscans. They had their own governor, judge and chief of the monastery (now called the abbot). The oldest house owned by them was the Franciscan Monastery set up not far from the then Trakai Road in the 14th century. In the 16th century, during the plague, all the monks died, and the monastery was empty for some time, suffering a few big fires along the way. For this reason, the building of the monastery looks very different.

To join the Franciscan Order, it was important to have a musical aptitude. The monks focused heavily on music, as well as science and art. The monastery was famous for being an intellectual centre of Vilnius. In the 17th century, it housed a school and a printing house, and theological conferences were organised for noblemen and city dwellers. The monastery library stored a few thousand volumes of books and manuscripts. Here the first Lithuanian school was established. It accommodated many renowned figures, such as Jonas Basanavičius and Józef Montwiłł. To this day, you can see the statue of a pregnant Mother of God created in the 17-18th centuries in the Franciscan church. It has survived numerous disasters and has been famous for miracles bestowed on couples who wanted to have a baby.

Trakų g. 9
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