Christian PilgrimagePilgrimages in LithuaniaJohn Paul II and Lithuania

Mother of God and our Mother, Comfort of the Afflicted – Pray for us!
Klaudijaus Driskiaus fotografija
Piligrimų kelias
Pivašiūnų bažnyčia

The Church

The Pivašiūnai Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption into Heaven is a tribute to classicist wooden religious architecture in Lithuania. It is simple, yet graceful, distinctive, though reminiscent of the Vilnius Cathedral. The church’s floor plan is a Latin cross with a transept equal in width to that of the naves. Rows of elegant columns separate the three naves, of which the central nave is much wider than the others. The façade boasts a four-column portico and a deep-set triangular gable with an oval-shaped window. Rays of light depicted all around the window seem to symbolize the Eye of Divine Providence. The side walls feature a contrast between horizontal boards and broad pillars.

Inside, the spacious, portico-style main altar repeats and develops the main shapes on the church’s façade. Its decoration was embellished with sculptures and other decorations between the mid 17th century and the 1830s. This portico is almost like another, inner temple in honour of the Pivašiūnai church’s greatest treasure: the painting of the Virgin Mary so long renowned for special graces. The main altar was built together with the church, and later updated and enhanced. It was probably inspired by the main altar of the Vilnius Cathedral.

The altar in the left chapel, featuring a carved wooden Crucifix by sculptor Kazimieras Jelskis, was installed sometime before 1828. A quite similar altar in the right chapel, which is dedicated to St John the Baptist, one of the church’s patron saints, dates to between 1860 and 1864. An altar dedicated to the church’s other patron, St Benedict, is located in the left nave. It dates to the 18th century.