Join a festive procession at an age-old Marian apparition site. No pilgrimage to Lithuania is complete without a visit to one of the oldest European Marian apparition sites at Šiluva. The feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been celebrated here for nearly five hundred years, drawing hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year.
The oldest and most prominent celebrations are held here in September. Also known as Šilinės, the Feast of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary attracts thousands of pilgrims that gather here in walking processions starting at various corners of the country: the Kaunas procession led by Archbishop of Kaunas, the Tytuvėnai procession led by Archbishop of Šiauliai as well as the various military, youth and ministry groups that venture on foot in a three day procession led by the Chaplain of Defence Forces. Another popular pilgrim route winds its way down from the famous Hill of Crosses near Šiauliai.
A week-long religious congress unfolds, complete with special masses and celebrations, catecheses, vigils, reflections and adorations, rosary prayers and chaplets, among other spiritual and cultural events, widely attended by pilgrims from Lithuania and beyond.
Even if you miss the Feast, the Chapel of the Apparition of Our Lady of Šiluva stands at the precise spot where Our Lady appeared four centuries ago and where the remnants of an old Catholic church were discovered. The miraculous painting of our Lady of Šiluva, part of the discovered treasure, can be venerated at the nearby Basilica bearing the same name. Its most famous grace dates back to the year of the apparition in 1608, when the land of the Catholic church had long been seized by the flourishing Calvinist faith; Upon the Apparition witnessed by the local shepherds, the rumour spread into the village and an old blind man, over a 100 years old, recalled helping a local priest hide an ironclad chest under a rock in a field. Led by the villagers, the man walked to the site of the Apparition only to have his sight miraculously restored the moment he reached the place; falling to his knees with joy and gratitude, he pointed to the exact spot where the chest had been buried. Among the treasures of the chest, unearthed at the site of the apparition, lay the perfectly preserved painting of Our Lady of Šiluva, documents of the Catholic church that once stood there, vestments, chalices and other valuables. The painting of Our Lady found its permanent home at the Basilica and is venerated by the thousands of pilgrims that come here each year.
Combine Šiluva with neighbouring shrines along St. John Paul II Pilgrimage Route, taking in Tytuvėnai, Žemaičių Kalvarija and the fascinating Hill of Crosses. Vilnius, Trakai and Kaunas can be added for a more in depth pilgrimage itinerary.
For additional information, please call one of our Pilgrimage Specialists:
- Currency: Euro (€, EUR)
- Local time: GMT +2 hours
- Airports: Vilnius (VNO) / Kaunas (KUN)
- Flight duration: 2 hours 50 minutes approximately
- Transfer time: 15 minutes from Vilnius (VNO) airport / 30 minutes from Kaunas (KUN) airport
- Languages: Lithuanian; many people speak English
- Climate: Typical European continental influenced climate with warm, dry summers and fairly severe winters; Best time to travel is mid -April to mid-October, when the days are warm and the nights are cool
- Voltage: 230V A/C, sockets outlets and sockets Type C 2 pin and Type F 2 pin are used
- Visa: not required for EU citizens; non-EU citizens are advised to check with the relevant authorities
- Passport: EU passport holders travelling to Lithuania must have an up-to-date passport valid for travel three months beyond the date of return; non-EU citizens are advised to check with the relevant authorities