Pilgrimage [the pilgrimage] symbolically expresses the experience of the homo viator of the traveling man, who only exits the mother’s womb and enters the path of her existence in time and space; the fundamental experience of Israel on its way to the Promised Land of Full Freedom; The experience of Christ, who ascends from the land of Jerusalem to heaven and thus opens the way to the Father; the historical experience of the Church ascending to heavenly Jerusalem; the experience of all humanity stepping into hope and fullness.
Every pilgrim should confess: “by the grace of God I am a man and a Christian, by my actions I am a great sinner, in circumstances I am a pilgrim without a shelter, even the simplest, walking from place to place. My property is a sack on my shoulders, a little loaf of bread, and Scripture that I carry under my shirt. I have nothing more ”(Anonymous Russian Pilgrim. Stories, I.).
The word of God and the Eucharist accompany us on this pilgrimage to heavenly Jerusalem, which is vividly and visibly marked by shrines. When we reach it, the gates of the Kingdom will open, we will take off our travel clothes, lay our staff, enter our final homes, and “always abide with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17). There he will be among us “as one who serves” (Lk 22:27), he will dine with us and we will dine with him (cf. Apr 3:20).
The first knowledge about Lithuanian pilgrims and pilgrimage in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (GDL) dates back to the 15th century. Only clergy and nobles from Lithuania traveled to world-famous pilgrimage sites, and this is a rare one. Most traveled to Rome on the way to Loreto. Probably the first pilgrim in the Holy Land from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was the Treasurer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Alexander Soltan, in 1468. having visited Jerusalem. The pilgrimage of Mikalojus Kristupas Radvila Orphan to the Holy Land (1582–1584) was made famous by the book “Journey to Jerusalem” written in a concise but accurate and picturesque way, in the 16th century. late 17th-17th centuries pr. especially popular with readers. During the time of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, most Lithuanian Catholics were content with pilgrimages to famous local shrines, as the country was relatively sparsely populated and roads were extremely poor. Unlike in Western Europe, GDL pilgrims are more inclined to visit not the relics of martyrs or saints, but miraculous images, usually the places of famous magical views, mostly of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. paintings’. This was probably due to the influence of the cult of icons that came from the Eastern Church and the growing devotion to Mary, especially during the Reformation.
European Network of Shrines of Mary
The European Mary Shrine Network includes Altöting (Altöting, Germany), Banjo (Banneaux, Belgium), Brezje (Brezje, Slovenia), Şumuleu Ciuc in Romanian; Csíksomlyó (Romania), Częstochowa (Poland), Einsielden (Switzerland), Fátima (Portugal), Gibraltar (Knock, Ireland), Levoča (Slovakia), Loretta (Lorette, Italy), Lourdes (France), Máriapócs (Hungary), Mariazell (Austria), Maria Bistrica (Croatia), Mellieħa (Malta), Gates of Dawn (Vilnius, Lithuania), Walsingham (UK), Zaragoza (Spain), Zarvanica (Зарваниця, Ukraine).