The Cult and Images of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Canons Penitentiary Church in Videniškiai (Summary)

Asta Giniūnienė (PDF)

The article analyses the veneration traditions for the Blessed Virgin Mary and her images in the church in Videniškiai (built in 1618) that belonged to the Regular Canons Penitentiary monastic order. A document from 1693 records the early knowledge of the cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It mentions the painting of Regina Caeli on the high altar, which believers had venerated for many years. The painting was decorated with a crown, casings, many ex-votos and various ornaments. At that time, the side altar, with the image of the Immaculate Conception and decorated with a crown under the patronage of the eponymous fraternity, was dedicated to the glory of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the late 17th century, the painting of the Immaculate Conception was moved to the altar, which was built in the first quarter of the 18th century. The recently found original painting from the late 17th century depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary on a crescent, stepping on a grass snake’s head surrounded by playing and adoring angels.

The painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the present side altar is identifiable with a painting of the movable altar of the Fraternity of the Immaculate Conception mentioned in a document from the late 17th century. The painting was donated by Mikołaj Stefan Pac, Bishop of Vilnius. Subtly forged Baroque-style casings surround the artistic image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The painting from the mid-18th century was adorned with repoussé silver sheets of the Regency style, enlarged, shapely framed and mounted to the built altar attributed to the Fraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The paintings of the Blessed Virgin Mary surviving in the Videniškiai church are valuable pieces of art, and the ornaments of precious metal—delicate works of Vilnius goldsmiths—testify to the traditions of devotion to the Mother of God upheld by the Canons Penitentiary and their conservative, respectful approach to old artistic images.

Keywords: fraternities, paintings, iconography, goldsmith