Posted by: Mary | March 5, 2011

A Day of Churches and a Kaziukas Parade

Saturday morning was filled with visiting churches. Some were open, others were not, but all were different and worth the time to seek them out. I wandered the Old Town with my map in my pocket, looking for some of the churches I had previously missed. I went back to St. Anne’s to get some better photos since the first morning I was there, snow flurries caused white dots in my photos. There were a few churches between St. Anne’s and the Old Town Square, but the majority of the churches I visited were around the square or just up the street. Several were visited by Pope John Paul II when he had been in Lithuania and have plaques commemorating the visit.

    

St. Casimir’s Jesuit Church had a beautiful facade and is the church for the patron Saint of Lithuania. Next was the Church of the Holy Trinity, followed by the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit. I then went to the Church of St. Theresa, located at the top of the street at the end of the Old Town. It was built in the Baroque style in 1650 and was more simplistic on the exterior than the others nearby, but very ornate inside.

I then walked the short distance to the Gates of Dawn, which leads out of the Old Town. Above the gate is a very small chapel to the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Black Madonna inside. I stood in the long line and waited for a chance to walk up and see it. I’ve noticed at a number of “landmark” churches throughout Europe and in Lithuania that visitors are allowed to wander the outskirts of the church as Mass goes on. This chapel was no exception, but seemed even more intrusive due to the size. It could only fit about a dozen people seated and maybe another 20 standing, packed in like sardines. The service was broadcast on a speaker system so those in the hall and on the staircase could hear, but it was in Lithuanian, so I couldn’t understand it.

At noon, the Kaziukas parade was to end at the Old Town Square and I made it just in time and with a good view for taking photographs. The parade was made up of a number of people from around the country, representing their region. Some were in costume and some were carrying flags. When the parade was over, I went to a traditional Lithuanian restaurant for a late lunch and tried a local beer and a chicken “pudding”, which was sort of a cross between a risotto and a pot pie.  I got a table by the window so that I could people watch as I wrote postcards home while enjoying my beer and waiting for my food.  It was a perfect place to warm up a bit from the cold temperatures outside.

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