Lithuania´s Famed "Way of Calvary" Rebuilt

VILNIUS, Lithuania, JUNE 5, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Lithuania´s famed Way of Calvary — all 35 stations — has been restored.

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On Pentecost, Cardinal Audrys Backis, archbishop of Vilnius, blessed the recently reconstructed last five stations of the Way of Calvary, which had been destroyed by the Soviet Communist government in 1962. The ceremony was attended by a multitude of faithful.

The 35 stations, constructed as 18th-century Baroque chapels on the outskirts of Vilnius, led to the votive Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, and were the object of popular devotion.

The stations spread over several kilometers, through a pine forest, property of the Vilnius Archdiocese. They were erected, as was the church entrusted to the Dominicans, in the mid-17th century.

A century later, Bishop Alexander Sapiega had a larger church built, in the form of a Latin cross, in the late Baroque style of the period. The 35 chapels, originally made of wood and in time deteriorated by the weather, were replaced by others also in the Baroque style.

That restoration was solemnly blessed on Pentecost 1770. The Communists dynamited virtually all the chapels in 1962.

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