Vilnius Cathedral Chapter

Seal of the Vilnius Cathedral Chapter, 1780. Lithuanian National Museum of Art

The date of Lithuania’s Christianisation is not gauged by the baptising of a specific ruler or all resident’s but the establishment of Vilnius’ bishopric in 1387, which has been operating until today. The following year, the Pope, in cooperation with the bishopric, approved the Cathedral Chapter of Vilnius’ archbishopric – the institution that rallied the clergy elite and served as the advisory body to the archbishop. It was responsible for the construction of churches, the sacred music of Vilnius Cathedral, choirs, organs and the preservation and maintenance of the treasury. The chapter had its own coat of arms – a cross split at the bottom with two crowns on its sides.

Today when you go down Pilies Street, you can thank the chapter for the view. Members of the chapter lived near the Cathedral in the so-called Chapter Quarter and had 14 buildings at their disposition on Pilies Street alone. Due to fires in the city, the chapter undertook the construction of masonry buildings, masonry breweries and used tiles for the roofs. The Vilnius Cathedral Chapter operated until the closing of the Cathedral in 1949.

After the declaration of the Restoration of Independence of Lithuania, it was replaced by the priests’ council of the bishopric. Nevertheless, buildings on Pilies Street and other streets of Vilnius Old Town that once belonged to the chapter have since become the property of the Vilnius archbishopric. It may be that your favourite shop is set up in one of the chapter’s buildings.

Katedros a.
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