Christian PilgrimagePilgrimages in LithuaniaJohn Paul II and Lithuania

Jesus, I trust in you!
Gailestingumo šventovės bokštai ir stogas, toliau matyti Šventosios Dvasios bažnyčia


This gothic church, built at the end of the 15th century, originally bore the name of the Most Holy Trinity. It is among the sanctuaries of Vilnius that have suffered most during difficult periods of history. Reconstruction after a fire in the middle of the 18th century moved the presbytery to the opposite end of the edifice, erecting towers and an entryway in place of the former gothic apse. The church belonged to Vilnius University during the 18th and 19th centuries. At one point its pastor was the famous university rector and astronomer Martynas Počobutas. The Tsarist regime converted the building into an Orthodox church in 1821. Eventually it was set aside for the pastoral care of Orthodox soldiers in Vilnius. In 1920, the building again became a Catholic church, though only for two decades. The last clergyman to work regularly in the church before World War II was Father Michael Sopocko (1888-1975, beatified in 2008), who served as spiritual director and guardian for Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938, canonized in 2000). With the consent of the Servant of God Archbishop Mečislovas Reinys, Father Sopocko here introduced the first Russian-language Catholic services and homilies in Vilnius. In the fall of 1947, Father Sopocko was repatriated to Poland. The Soviet authorities then closed the church, converting it first into an athletic association and later a warehouse and workshops.

The building was returned to the archdiocese after Lithuania regained independence. As no traces remained of its former sacred functions, the church had to be renovated and refurnished. In a decree dated March 8, 2004, Cardinal Audrys Juozas Bačkis established the Divine Mercy Shrine here as a place for the veneration of the celebrated Merciful Jesus image. The shine was blessed in 2004 on the Feast of Divine Mercy. Subtly coloured frescos and stained glass windows, the work of artist Nijolė Vilutytė, underline the Divine Mercy Shrine’s link with devotion to the Mother of Mercy, who is venerated at the Gate of Dawn. The words “Jesus, I trust in you” are written in more than a dozen languages – those of the lands from which pilgrims most often come to pray at the shrine.