Lithuania in the News
3rd February 2008
Lithuania’s Catholics to Celebrate 400 Year Anniversary of Our Lady of Šiluva
Faithful travelling on foot to Šiluva. Photo by Algirdas Kazla,
courtesy "Šiluvos Žinia Išeivijoje".
This year is the 400th anniversary of the appearance of the Virgin Mary in 1608 at Šiluva, a small town in the Žemaitija (Samogitia) region in Western Lithuania. Most Lithuanians are Catholics and this anniversary will be celebrated
The November 2007 issue
of "Kirche heute"
throughout Lithuania throughout 2008, culminating in September 8 - 15 in celebrations at the Šiluva shrine itself.
There are many places in the world venerated for the apparitions of the Virgin, but only five sites in Europe are officially recgonised by the Church. Of these the one in Šiluva is the oldest in Europe (the second oldest in the world). Other well known shrines are those in Fatima (Portugal) and Lourdes (France). Šiluva has always been a place of pilgrimage in Lithuania, with the faithful traditionally travelling on foot to the shrine.
In Šiluva itself there are two sites of pilgrimage - the Šiluva Basilica, which houses a famous icon of the Virgin, and the Chapel of the Appearance, built on the spot of the appearance. Pope John Paul II made a special pilgrimage to the Šiluva shrine during his Papal visit to Lithuania in 1993. The German magazine "Kirche heute" ("Church today") has called its November 2007 issue "400 Jahre Schiluwa - Hoffnung für Europa" ("400 years Šiluva - Hope for Europe"). The magazine on its front cover shows the Archbishop of Kaunas, Sigitas Tamkevičius SJ, blessing the painting of Our Lady of Šiluva. Further information:
Šiluva -
Lithuanian Catholics Abroad -
Kirche heute -