Tytuvėnai Church and Monastery

Tytuvėnai is a little town located in North West Lithuania. Only a bit more than two and a half thousand inhabitants live there. The town is special for being a pilgrimage center where magnificent ensemble of Saint Mary the Virgin church and monastery stands.  Tytuvėnai Church and Monastery is an architectural masterpiece which is thought to be one of the most beautiful baroque monuments in North East Europe. Thus it attracts pilgrims from all over the world.

For a long time Tytuvėnai was also called a resort city as three lakes Bridvaišis, Gilius and Epušis surround the town. In addition, Tytuvėnai is located in territory of regional park. Since 2004 various international art festivals are held there.

Every September during Šilinė feast, that is one of the greatest feast in Lithuania, pilgrimage procession between Tytuvėnai and Šiluva is being organized. The procession connects two great religious objects –the  Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Šiluva and the amazing baroque ensemble of Tytuvėnai Church and Monastery.

The Tytuvėnai Church and Monastery were built here in 17th century for Bernardine monks by then ruling Valavičiai family. In the beginning of 18th century at the North war the beautiful buildings were hardly damaged, but luckily after this historical disaster the ensemble was soon reconstructed. That inspired the monks to build there an inside graveyard and equip 39 stages of Christ crucifix . In the center of it the temple was erected which is symbolizing the Passion of Christ till nowadays. Prayers can meditate the torment of Christ while climbing the 28 stairs on knees here nowadays.  After these constructional works the masterpiece of baroque appeared in the town which is one of the most important and protected national architectural monuments in Lithuania. By the way, the graveyard of Tytuvėnai monastery includes the only one left gallery of stages of Christ journey to the cross in Lithuania.

Tytuvėnai Church and Monastery are touched by baroque and gothic elements. They include many beautiful architectural elements like high arched windows, cross vaulting. The beauty of inside interior astonish everyone too. In addition, a unique collection of paintings can also be seen in the vestry of the church. True, the paintings are painted not equally professionally. Moreover, there is an interesting exhibition of original wooden works. Most of them portray Christ suffering. The collection includes many interesting examples of early folk carving.

Everyone nowadays visiting the Tytuvėnai Church and Monastery are surprised as just next to the ensemble an orthodox church also stands. The strange head on of contradictory religions was initiated by one historical moment. In 1964 tsarist government closed the monastery because of the rebellion in 1863 and built the orthodox church demonstrating the scorn for Catholicism. The building stands till nowadays, but it is not distinguishing among mass of orthodox churches. It was built under exact plan of these years so many similar ones are scattered all around Lithuania.

Tytuvėnai Church and Monastery is worth visiting for both – pilgrimage purposes and architecture lovers. It is a beautiful monument of baroque standing in surroundings of simple Lithuanian town. There is one undoubtedly clear moment: Tytuvėnai citizens love their town and are really proud to have such an exceptional architectural ensemble.