Born in Spain, Beloved in Antakalnis. Images of Jesus of Nazareth in Lithuania

2019 05 20

The exhibition presents images of Christ that are conventionally called Jesus of Nazareth. These works of common origin, bearing the biblical name of the Messiah, constitute an important part of the heritage of Lithuanian Catholic art.

The prototype of sculptures of Jesus of Nazareth and their images is the miraculous robed statue of Christ from the Church of the Discalced Trinitarians (the Most Holy Trinity and of the Captives, Lat. SS. Trinitatis de Redemptione Captivorum Discalceatorum), also called the Congregation of the Discalced Trinitarians of Spain, in Madrid. Today it is called the Basilica of Jesus de Medinaceli under the auspices of the Capuchins: the temple and the statue were given the name of its benefactors, de Medinaceli family. Sculpted in the 1610s, this robed statue of the Sevillian school of baroque sculpture characterised by naturalist stylistics was also called a ransomed one, as in 1682, together with some captives, it was ransomed from captivity and scorn by the Spanish Trinitarians in the capital of Morocco, Meknes (Mequinez in Spanish). They took this image of Jesus to their Madrid church, where it became an object of special veneration famous for its graces. The Discalced Trinitarians decorated their temples with copies and replicas of the sculpture, included its images in prayer books, disseminated its engravings and founded special fraternities. In Spain and in the territories where the Discalced Trinitarians operated, the image spread beyond the boundaries of the order.

Having arrived in the Kingdom of Poland in 1685 and in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 1693, the Discalced Trinitarians of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth formed St Joachim’s Province, northernmost and easternmost of the centre of the order in Spain. Partitions of the state and post-uprising repressions made it shrink, and in 1864, tsarist authorities abolished the two last Trinitarian monasteries of Antakalnis in Vilnius and Solec in Warsaw. However, the Trinitarians of St Joachim’s Province fostered their spiritual and artistic traditions. The group of images of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the most distinct traces of their artistic tradition and devotion to the Saviour found in the states that inherited the territory of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In Lithuania, the Order of the Most Holy Trinity (O.SS.T.; from 1900, not divided into branches) has not been restored, but the artistic heritage of the cult of Jesus of Nazareth promoted by the Trinitarians is significant, and the tradition of creating this image, which was gradually linked with the devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Antakalnis and elsewhere, has become an intrinsic part of Lithuanian Christian art, quite prominent in folk art.

The exhibition consists of five parts, presenting the Trinitarian image of Jesus of Nazareth and its origin, the miraculous sculpture of Jesus of Antakalnis, images of the Jesus of Antakalnis (Jesus of Nazareth) in Lithuanian churches, sculptures of Jesus of Nazareth erected in buildings of small-scale architecture standing at farmhouses, burial places and other public spaces, and objects of private piety.

Curator: Regimanta Stankevičienė
Organiser: Church Heritage Museum
Supported by Archdiocese of Vilnius
Media sponsor:


Vilniaus Akivyskupija            

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