Our Lady of the Sapieha Family as the Patroness of Vilnius (Summary)

Rūta Janonienė (PDF)

The present paper is based on the published book of miracles related to the image of Our Lady from the Church of St Michael in Vilnius (Skarbnica Niebieska…, published in Vilnius in 1671), on its larger manuscripts (Compendium albozbior…, 1662–1771), on the description of the ceremony of the crowning of the image (1750) and other sources. The image is currently hanging in the Vilnius Cathedral.
The author draws attention to the fact that the publication was prepared as the votum of the nuns from the Convent of St Michael in Vilnius. Thus, it primarily contains the miracles witnessed by the nuns. Furthermore, it is noted that the actual number of miracles experienced is challenging to establish insofar as their descriptions frequently mention that the graces related to the image were experienced ‘often’, ‘constantly’, ‘in all situations’, etc. Taking into account only the miracles that are specifically identified, one may point out several stages in the history of the image. Ten miracles were recorded before the 1655 war with Moscow. Seventy miracles were recorded after the war from 1662 to 1669. The greatest number of miracles were recorded between the official recognition of the image as miraculous on 13 March 1670 and its crowning on 8 September 1750. Thirty-three miracles were recorded in 1670, 63 in 1671, 35 in 1672, 32 in 1673 and 30 in 1674. Only 12 miracles were recorded over 20 years between the crowning of the image and the last miracle described in 1771.
Miracles can be divided into several groups according to the nature of the grace experienced. The largest group comprises the miracles related to recovery from a dangerous illness, miraculous life-saving in accidents and protection against fires.
The descriptions of miracles often parallel events in the Gospels. A miracle itself is seen as a ‘continuation of Revelation’, aiming to restore a person to health and life and urge them to prayer and conscious religious life.
Keywords: the Church of St Michael in Vilnius, cathedral, image, miracle, nuns