Christian PilgrimagePilgrimages in LithuaniaJohn Paul II and Lithuania

O gracious Queen, who at Calvary works wonders, to your protection we entrust our families!
Gintaro Česonio fotografija

John Paul II and Samogitian Calvary

During the years of Soviet repression, news reached Pope John Paul II about the unique role that the shrine of Samogitian Calvary was playing in the defence of religious freedom. In 1987, as Lithuania celebrated the 600-year jubilee of its conversion to Christianity, the Pope wrote a letter to the country’s bishops, in which he recalled the Lithuanian people’s devotion to the Passion of Christ and special love for the Virgin Mary. To illustrate the point, he mentioned Samogitian Calvary.

On June 28, 1987, during a Sunday Angelus Address, John Paul II spoke to tens of thousands of pilgrims in St Peter’s Square about Samogitian Calvary as one of the most visited Marian shrines in Lithuania.

On May 6, 1988, on occasion of the Marian Year then in progress, the Holy Father granted the church at Samogitian Calvary the title of minor basilica, with all the rights and privileges this title implies. On April 17, 2004, Pope John Paul II set the conditions for gaining a plenary indulgence at the shrine, and gave permission to begin the process of adorning its miraculous painting of Mary and Jesus with papal crowns. The painting was solemnly crowned on October 8, 2006, with crowns blessed by Pope Benedict XVI.