Ongoing Exhibitions

The Monastic Orders of Vilnius and Their Treasuries. Bernardine Sisters

The exhibition showcases archaeological findings from the 16th–19th centuries attesting to the everyday life of the nuns: pieces of tableware, tools, stove tiles etc. Liturgical vessels and clothing reflect festive moments. The exhibition also reveals what life was like in monastic communities; an inscription on the foot of the ciborium found in the Church of Palūšė indicates that it was donated to the Convent of St Archangel Michael in 1706 by the convent senior Antanina Žabaitė. It remains unknown who embroidered the golden chasuble but the register of the Bernardine Convent in Vilnius includes the names of sisters who worked on golden embroideries. Documents found in the reliquary of St Felicissimus, which is also on display, prove that the head of St Felicissimus relic was taken from the catacombs of Rome and given to the Church of St Archangel Michael in Vilnius in 1676. The exhibition is supplemented with video material that features contemporary Bernardine nuns retelling the complex history of the sisterhood, and archaeologists and historians presenting the insights and findings of their research.

The Bernardine history is also told in the new book Vilniaus vienuolijos ir jų lobynai. Vilniaus Šv. arkangelo Mykolo bernardinių vienuolynas (editor and text author Dalia Vasiliūnienė) published by the Church Heritage Museum.

Sponsors: Archdiocese of Vilnius, Lithuanian Council for Culture, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania

Photo by Boleslava Zdanovska. Facade of the Church of St Michael, 1930s
Boleslava and Edmundas Zdanovskis’s collection of negatives. Lithuanian Art Museum




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