Christian PilgrimagePilgrimages in LithuaniaJohn Paul II and Lithuania

The very best of Samogitia.
Bishop Motiejus Valančius
Andriaus Mačiūno fotografija

Piety and Feasts

Šiauliai Cathedral is famous as a starting point for walking pilgrimages to the Hill of Crosses. Pious processions have been organized on many occasions since the very creation of the diocese, most often led by Šiauliai Bishop Eugenijus Bartulis. The first such procession to advance not along the highway but by forest paths and smaller roads took place on May 19, 2000.

Many people join the traditional pilgrimages from Šiauliai Cathedral to the Hill of Crosses on the last Sunday of July each year. People travel 12 kilometres on foot together with their bishop, singing hymns and praying the Rosary along the way, and then take part in the annual Hill of Crosses indulgenced feast.

Crosses are carried from the Cathedral to the Hill of Crosses each year to mark World Life Day as well as on June 1, the international Child Protection Day. Pupils from Fr Benediktas Andruška Catholic School play an active role in the procession for Child Protection Day, and also mark the end of each school year with a pilgrimage from the Cathedral to the Hill of Crosses.

From spring to mid autumn, whether it’s raining or the sun is shining, groups large and small continually depart from Šiauliai Cathedral. Singing hymns that touch the hearts of all those they meet on the way, they carry the crosses that weigh on their own hearts to be “planted” at the Hill of Crosses.

Šiauliai Cathedral contains a celebrated painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child, whose origins are unknown but before which people can often be seen kneeling in prayer, and where they leave votive offerings in thanksgiving for special graces.

An International Festival of Sacral Music has been held at Šiauliai Cathedral every year since 1978 during the second week after Easter. Participants include professional musicians and ensembles not only from Lithuania, but also from Sweden, Italy, Latvia and other countries.