The Barefoot Carmelites

Unknown Austrian artist. Discalced Carmelite, Dominic of Jesus of Mary. Late 17th - early 18th century. Lithuanian National Museum of Art

Did the Barefoot Carmelites really walk around Vilnius barefoot? Maybe not all of them, but this order of monks was known for its asceticism and godliness.

The monastery and the first small wooden Church of St. Theresa nestled near the Chapel of the Gate of Dawn began operating in the second half of the 17th century and was replaced by the masonry church that we know today. Since the Pacai family funded the construction of the monastery buildings, they emerged near the defensive wall of the city in the territory of three residential quarters. Today most of the world’s Catholics have heard of the icon of the Gate of Dawn Madonna, but only a few know that the Barefoot Carmelites started spreading the news about it.

Moreover, before the Halės Market was established, trading took place at the Basokai Market, situated between Visų Šventųjų, Karmelitų and Arklių streets. A square was established during the rule of the Russian Empire when the Church of St. Joseph the Betrothed was destroyed along with the monastery of the Barefoot Carmelites. There were about 100 wooden kiosks where city dwellers could buy food products and domestic birds.

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