Christian PilgrimagePilgrimages in LithuaniaJohn Paul II and Lithuania

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

Franciscan Monastery

In the fall of 1993, a few weeks after his trip to Lithuania, Pope John Paul II visited the Franciscan monastery on Mount La Verna in Italy and encouraged the order to build a monastery by the Hill of Crosses. The Franciscans took up the project immediately. The new sanctuary was designed by the architects Angelo Polesello and Nunzio Rimmaudo. Its cornerstone was cut from Mount La Verna and blessed by Pope John Paul II. A capsule inside the stone guards the founding documents of the monastery.

The edifice contains about 15 cells, a chapel and a library. The chapel boasts stain glass windows by Algirdas Dovydėnas portraying scenes from the history of the Franciscan order, as well as a highly expressive altar, tabernacle and pulpit, work of the artist Rimantas Sakalauskas. Relief work on the altar draws associations between the Hill of Crosses and Mount La Verna. While praying on that mountain, St Francis received the stigmata, the wounds of Christ. The novitiate of the Lithuanian Province of St Casimir is housed in the new Franciscan monastery, which also offers refuge to pilgrims seeking to pray in solitude. The building stands 300 metres from the Hill of Crosses.