Thursday, 28 January 2016

Icon of the Holy Mother of Mercy - Vilnius

- Vilnius, Lithuania,
the Gate of Dawn (Ausros Vartai)

The chapel in the Gate of Dawn with the Icon of the Holy Mother of Mercy

Oil painting on boards
The picture in silver dress

The icon of the Gate of Dawn Madonna was probably painted in Vilnius in the period of 1620-1630. Despite numerous investigations, the painter is still unknown. The oil painting sized 200x165 cm is painted on oak boards covered with a thin chalky primer. The double crowns and the gilded silver dress were placed on the painting at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries. A distinctive feature of the picture is a votive offering in the form of crescent moon, placed at the bottom part of the painting in 1849. The silver lining of the chapel walls, where the painting of the Holy Mother of Mercy is displayed, is made up of selected votive offerings.
The votive offerings covering the walls include also those sent by Holy Father John Paul II.
The number of the exposed silver votive offerings donated by the faithful as the gratitude for the graces obtained is estimated at approximately 8000.
In the chapel the residents of Vilnius pray for special graces for themselves and their families through the intercession of the Mother of God. Numerous replicas of the icon of the Holy Mother of Mercy are in churches in other countries, including the Basilica of St. Peter and Paul where a replica of the image is displayed in a chapel.

In 1773, Pope Clement XVI granted indulgences to the Fraternity of the Guardianship of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Vilnius.
By the Pope’s decree of 1927, the painting of Madonna in the Gate of Dawn chapel was given the name of the Icon of the Holy Mother of Mercy and was crowned with papal crowns. The coronation ceremony became an important national and religious event - the image was crowned by the papal nuncio (the crowns went missing during the WWII).

Thanks to Divine Providence, a few years later (in 1935), the painting with the image of the Merciful Jesus was venerated for the first time in public next to the Icon of the Holy Mother of Mercy.
During the World War II, by the decision of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Vilnius Romuald Jałbrzykowski, the Icon of the Holy Mother of Mercy was left with the faithful worshippers in the Gate of Dawn. After the war, when Vilnius constituted a part of the Soviet Union and most of the churches in Lithuania were closed, the Gate of Dawn chapel remained open.

"For us, Mary is a Mother of Mercy, and her testimony of mercy began already at the Calvary. Since then, each grace is streaming on people through the intercession of Mary: She strengthened the Disciples in their work; she obtained the inspiration for the Evangelists. And particularly after she was assumed to heaven, she looks after us and obtains the Divine Mercy for us even more.
Maybe we are to record numerous sins in our lives; maybe somebody sank into sin -Mary obtained for him the grace of conversion. How many times it was repeated, it will remain a secret known only to God, but if many times -we were becoming the subject of special endeavors of our Mother of Mercy. She was the one who put in our mouths the words: JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU and postponed the moment of the eternal and horrendous punishment.
Most likely everything comes from the Merciful Jesus, but all the graces we are granted come to us through Mary. (...) It has been proven by numerous, wonderful places where, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, people are cured from the illnesses, comforted in sorrows, get hope in despair. It was not a coincidence that the picture of the Most Merciful Saviour, enjoying the worship and graces all over the world, was originally displayed at the foot of the Holy Mother of Mercy (April 28, 1935 on the Sunday after Easter), so to say for her to approve and recommend it. Therefore, let strengthen our ties with the Mary Mother of Mercy and trust Her boundlessly" (Father M. Sopoćko).

Prayer for the protection and intercession of the Holy Mother of Mercy
To Your mercy, special protection and Your compassion
today and every day and in the hour of my death
my soul and my body I entrust.
My every hope and happiness,
oppression and concern,
my life and end of my life to You I confide,
so through Your merits  all my deeds are done
according to Your will and of Your Son. Amen.

Holy Father John Paul II (in 1993), The Chapel of the Holy Mother of Mercy

Vilnia (Vilnius)
The Chapel of the Gate of Dawn.
Drawing from the middle of XIX century

The Chapel of the Gate of Dawn.
Postcard from the 1930th

The Chapel of the Gate of Dawn.
Postcard from the 1930th

The Gates of Dawn (Ausros Vartai), Vilnius, Lithuania:

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