Christian PilgrimagePilgrimages in LithuaniaJohn Paul II and Lithuania

Hail, o Cross, our victory and our hope!
Andriaus Mačiūno fotografija

Indulgenced Feast of the Hill of Crosses

In the early 20th century, many people would gather at the Hill of Crosses on feast days, when Holy Mass would be celebrated on the hill. Particularly large crowds would form on St John’s Day in midsummer, when the priest would bless crosses. The Indulgenced Feast of the Hill of Crosses, which at that time coincided with the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on July 16, also attracted vast numbers of pilgrims. Up to 10,000 would join in the processions and liturgy. The celebration proved impossible during the Soviet year, due to persecution, but the indulgenced feast was revived in 1997, after the diocese of Šiauliai was established, and fixed on the last Sunday of July. Since then, the annual feast has come to combine old and new traditions: walking pilgrimages, the carrying and erection of crosses, vigils, following the Way of the Cross, adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, catechesis sessions, sacral music concerts and art exhibits.