Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The fire that devastated Vilnius spared the painting of the Madonna

Une Minute avec Marie
An initiative of the Mary of Nazareth Association

November 17 – Mary of the Gate of the Dawn (Lithuania) - Saint Gregory the Wonderworker (d. 270)

The fire that devastated Vilnius spared the painting of the Madonna

Wikipedia Images
Our Lady of the Gate of the Dawn or, in Polish, Ostra Brama, is the best known image of our Lady in Lithuania. The history of the miraculous image of Vilnius started at the time of the construction of a wall surrounding the city. The wall had nine gates, and the south-eastern one was called the Gate of the Dawn. The first stone was laid in 1498 and in 1503 the gate was adorned with an image of the Virgin Mary.

150 years later, Carmelite nuns restored the image, had it plated with silver, and mounted it in a chapel. The contemporary chroniclers mention several accounts of miracles, namely that of a lifeless child—who had fallen from a balcony—returned alive to his mother.

When the Muscovites attacked the city in 1655, the fire that devastated Vilnius for 17 days completely spared the painting of the Madonna. Several fires were put out in miraculous ways, especially in 1706 and 1715. And in 1812, the Chapel of the Gate of the Dawn, indulgenced by the Pope and filled with ex-votos, was miraculously protected whereas all the other churches in Vilnius were destroyed or damaged. Pilgrimages continue to this day, with the faithful praying, often on their knees, in the street.