The Cathedral of the Theotokos in Vilnius

The Cathedral of the Theotokos in Vilnius and its Layout. Unknown 19th century artist. Vasiliy Gryaznov. 1874. Berlin, Germany. National Museum of Lithuania

Where would you look for the grave of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Algirdas? There are various legends: some say that he was burned according to pagan customs, and the orthodox Christians think that Algirdas was buried in the Orthodox Cathedral, one of the oldest Christian temples of Vilnius. Only the Church of Saint Paraskeva is older than this one.

The church was completed and blessed in 1348 on the initiative of Algirdas’ wife Julijona. She was buried here, and this is confirmed by a memorial plaque on the wall of the church. The church is located on a picturesque bank of the Vilnelė River, next to the Church of St. Anne and Bernardine Complex, which were built later. They say that Algirdas chose the place for the church personally as his manor was not far from here.

In the 19th century, when the Russian Tsar ruled, the church changed completely, but the oldest parts of its masonry – both visible and not visible – have remained. Archaeological explorations have revealed that to build the church, the same bricks used for the construction of Gediminas castle were chosen. For some time, the church facilities were used as university rooms and a library, barracks and a warehouse. The church was restored by the famous architect of the time Nikolay Chagin in the 19th century and was returned to the congregation

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