Man patinka Lietuva

I like Lithuania – a visitor's point of view


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The Church of St Parasceve in Vilnius

DSC00220DSC00268This attractive little Russian Orthodox Church, the Church of St Parasceve (or Piatnickaya in Russian) is situated at Ribiskiu Didzioji 2 behind the outdoor market place at the top of Pilies g.before it becomes Didžioji g. and seems to be in regular use.

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It has been rebuilt several times and has an interesting history some of which is described on the plaque outside the church.

In the early 1960s it was used as a Lithuanian Folk Art Museum.

The Soviet regime wanted it to be a Museum of Atheism (they liked to disparage religion in their soviet republics) although in this case it might have been appropriate as the church is said to have been built on the site of a temple to the pagan god Ragutis, one of three gods associated with beer and brewing in the Baltics.

It was reconsecrated as a Russian Orthodox church on 31 May 1991.

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Šv. Konstantino ir Michailo Cerkvė, Vilnius, Lietuva.

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

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On Basanavicius Street, a bit away from the city centre, you’ll find the Russian Orthodox church built to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the reign of the Russian Romanoff tsar dynasty. The citizens of Vilnius informally call it The Romanoff Cerkov. The church was built between 1911-1913 and the tsar could enjoy it in the then free Lithuania until the family was brutally murdered by Bolshevists one day in July 1918. Cerkov is the Russian word for church, but the Lithuanians take great care to differentiate between cerkve (Russian Orthodox church) and baznycia (Catholic church).

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Prince Casimir’s crown rises above the rooftops in Vilnius

DSCF1492This church (Sv. Kazimiero baznycia) was built by the Jesuits starting in 1604 with the interior completed in 1618. It was dedicated to Prince Casimir who had just been canonised. It was the first baroque church in Vilnius although the dome with the lantern and crown wasn’t added until the 18c.

Later the church was taken over by the Russian Orthodox church, made into a cathedral, and rededicated to St Michael but was returned to the Jesuits in the early 20c.

However it was closed after being damaged in WWII and then in 1961 re-opened as a museum of atheism – something which happened in other parts of the soviet union as a way of humiliating the church. It was only returned to the Catholic Church in 1989.

This view is from the backstreets, the church front is on Didžioji gatvė.


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Church of the Apparition of the Holy Mother of God [Znamenskaya]

CNV00014_5I took this photo across the River Neris in 2005 on my first visit to Vilnius.
I’d walked down Gediminas Ave to the Parliament building (Seimas) and there it was over the Žvėrynas bridge.

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I was a little surprised to see such a beautiful example of Eastern Orthodox architecture in a catholic country like Lithuania.

It was also very different from the orthodox churches I’ve seen Ukraine and everything in the church is written in Old Church Slavonic, which is different from the cyrillic alphabet.
The church was fully restored inside and out in 2009 although when I took the second photograph in September 2009, which shows the new entrance with signs in Russian and Lithuanian on either side, there was still work being completed.