Preachers, Thaumaturges and an Architect. Images of Saints in Churches of the Archdiocese of Vilnius

‘In our modern-day society, it is rather difficult to picture the medieval position of saints in human religious practice and daily life. A saint patron was perceived as a kind of heavenly guardian who would accompany and protect people during their lifetime. Separate days, holidays, and occupations had their own heavenly patrons. Saints or their images became certain intermediaries between the earthly life and God. Saints – depicted with specific individual attributes – were easily identifiable; their life stories were widespread. The signs of the worship of saints in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania can be observed until the 18th century, whereas their traces can also be detected much later.’ (Mindaugas Paknys, Šventieji vyrai, šventosios moterys, Vilnius, Aidai: 2005, p. 7)

The exhibition arranged by the Church Heritage Museum displays twenty-one paintings from various churches of the Archdiocese of Vilnius. The very name of the exhibition indicates that we will see the images of famous preachers (St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Francis of Siena) and wonder makers (St. Roch, St. Jozafat Kuncewicz, and St. Severinus). And who is the architect? It is St. Thomas the Apostle with a carpenter’s square in his hand. The exhibition houses three artistic paintings depicting this saint; two of them – in silver casings – present the famous sceptic, popularly known as ‘Doubting Thomas.’ One of the images of St. Thomas bears an inscription that he is St. Judas Thaddaeus, which is an interesting testimony to renewed devotion. There is also St. Severinus (formerly, the painting depicted St. Nicholas).   

For the first time, the paintings of the church saints have left their altars and liturgical spaces and have been displayed in the museum hall, where visitors can inspect, analyse, compare and question them from up close. After the exhibition, they will return to their churches to fulfil their duties: to tell, to invite, and to console.  

Most of the artworks were restored in the conservation workshop of the Archdiocese of Vilnius in 2018-2020.

Organiser: the Church Heritage Museum of the Archdiocese of Vilnius
Sponsors: the Archdiocese of Vilnius, Restauracijos ir statybos trestas, UAB

The paintings are borrowed by the churches of Alionys, Butrimonys, Balingradas, Druskininkai, Kalesninkai, Maišiagala, Nemenčinė, Paberžė, Pavoverė, Šalčininkai, Šumskas, Trakai, Vilnius.

More information: tel. 8 5 269 7800, email


Vilniaus Akivyskupija            

Informational sponsors