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Siluva, Lithuania (1608 - 1612)

   
History

Traditionally Approved

40 - 999 1400 - 1499
1000 - 1099 1500 - 1599
1100 - 1199 1600 - 1699
1200 - 1299 1700 - 1799
1300 - 1399 1800 - 1899

Vatican Approved
Bishop Approved
Coptic Approved
Approved for Faith Expression
Apparitions to Saints
Unapproved Apparitions

Our Lady of Siluva

       
  Our Lady of Guadalupe  

Summary

One summer day, in 1608, a number of children were playing while tending their sheep in a field on the outskirts of the village of Siluva. They beheld a beautiful young woman standing on the rock holding a baby in her arms and weeping bitterly. The town which had lost its Catholic identity to the Calvinists over the course of 80 years was restored to the Faith.

       

Timeline

1457

Peter Gedgaudas founded a parish and later built a church of "Silai" later called “Sidlava” (from a Polish “szydlo”) then “Siluva.”

1532

Fr. John Holubka, the parish priest of the Siluva Church, built an ironclad box and carefully wrapped the treasured painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child, liturgical vestments, and documents which proved that Vytautas the Great had given the land to the Catholic Church. Then he sealed the box and buried it deep in the ground near a large rock. His action was truly inspired because a short time later the Calvinist authorities seized the church.

1532

The local governor became a Calvinist and property owned by the Church was confiscated and the land turned over to the Calvinists.

Eighty years passed and the Catholic flock, with no shepherd to guide and nourish it, gradually died out. Only a few of the very oldest villagers dimly remembered that there had been a Catholic Church in their village. Children were reared in the Calvinist creed.

1608-1612

Our Blessed Mother appeared to the shepherd children of Siluva.

1612

The Bishop appointed Fr. John Kazakevicius to investigate the phenomenon and question all witnesses to the events.

1612?

A blind man, more than 100 years old, lived in a nearby village. The stories of the apparitions reached him and he recalled a night, some eighty years before, when he helped Father Holubka bury an ironclad chest filled with church treasures beside a large rock. The villagers led him to the field of the apparitions to see if he could help locate the place where the treasures were buried. No sooner had he reached the spot, then his sight was miraculously restored. Falling to his knees with joy and gratitude, he pointed to the exact spot where the chest had been buried.

The ironclad chest was dug out of the ground and when it was opened, there – perfectly preserved – was the large painting of the Madonna and Child, several gold chalices, vestments, church deeds, and other documents. The painting was enshrined permanently in the Basilica of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary and is venerated to this day as the Miraculous Image of Siluva.

1622

Father Kazakevicius legally demanded that the Calvinists return all the property and treasures of the Catholic church in 1612. The judges were for the most part Protestant and the legal battle for the church land lasted over ten years. In 1622, the Tribunal at Vilnius decided in favor of the Catholics.

1627

Fr. Jonas Kazakevicius appointed dean in Siluva. A small wooden church was built by his own means. Famous for its miracles, many visitors came.

1641

A larger church was built and he opened a "free of charge" school for village children.

1651

Bishop Petras Parcevskis consecrated the new church.

1663

Bishop Aleksandras Sapiega set an altar over the "stone" on which our Blessed Mother stood. By the altar was placed a small wooden statue of Christ and it is standing there to this day.

1760-1775

Deans of Siluva – Jonas Lopacinskis and Tadas Bukota built a new Siluva church.

1770

Tadas Bukota brought a marble statue of the Blessed Mother and Child from London, which still stands in the chapel of the church.

Aug 17, 1775

The apparition was authenticated by a Papal Decree issued by Pope Pius VI.

1795

At the time of the Great Partition, Lithuania was taken over by Russia.

1818

Bishop Simonas Giedraitis built a larger chapel in the style of the Vilnius Cathedral.

1904

Lithuanians rose in revolt against their Russian rulers. Russia quelled the revolution, but a number of restrictions were removed and Lithuania was given more freedom.

1905

Pilgrimages to Siluva were resumed an organized basis in 1905. In the first year after the revolution of 1904, over 30,000 people visited the shrine of Our Lady of Siluva in organized pilgrimages.

1912-1924

For the 300th anniversary of Siluva Apparitions, a new chapel was built - Antanas Vivulskis, Architect Jonas Maciulis-Maironis. Marcijonas Jurgaitis. Dean of Siluva, consecrated the foundation.

1967

New Organ installed.

1979

The Chapel was re-decorated and gilded.

1980

Four Frescoes were added to the chapel ceiling.

Sept 8, 1991

Cardinal Vincentas Sladkevicius and the Chairman of the Parliament Vytautas Landsbergis entrusted Lithuania to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

1993

On September 7, 1993, our Holy Father Pope John Paul II visited the shrine of Our Lady of Siluva.

2002

Basilica of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Sept 13, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI named the archbishop of Cologne, Germany, Joachim Meisner, to be his special envoy at the celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Lithuania.

Photo Gallery

No images are currently available from Siluva.


Description of the Virgin


The children beheld a beautiful young woman standing on the rock holding a baby in her arms and weeping bitterly. She did not speak, but looked at them sadly as she stood there, weeping as though her heart was breaking. So profuse were her tears that they ran down her cheeks and some of them splashed on the rock. The woman was dressed in flowing blue and white robes, unlike any costume with which the children were familiar. Her long, light-brown hair fell softly over her shoulders. A strange light surrounded both the woman and child.

Messages

The Calvinist pastor who had denounced the apparition claims as satanic and "Roman superstition" was shocked to see the weeping woman and child. He regained his composure and asked, “Why are you weeping?” In a voice filled with sorrowful emotion, she replied, “There was a time when my beloved Son was worshipped by my people on this very spot. But now they have given this sacred soil over to the plowman and the tiller and to the animals for grazing.” Without another word, she vanished.

Click here to read messages.


Miracles, Cures, and Signs


The belief that the Mother of God had appeared in person to chide them for their neglect of the Catholic Faith quickly grew among the people. Most of them heeded her message and began to return to the the Catholic Church. A decade later, on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, more than 11,000 people received Holy Communion during a mass offered at the scene of the apparitions.

A blind man, more than 100 years old, lived in a nearby village. The stories of the apparitions reached him and he recalled a night, some eighty years before, when he helped Father Holubka bury an ironclad chest filled with church treasures beside a large rock. The villagers led him to the field of the apparitions to see if he could help locate the place where the treasures were buried. No sooner had he reached the spot, then his sight was miraculously restored. Falling to his knees with joy and gratitude, he pointed to the exact spot where the chest had been buried.


Approval

All the bishops in the Siluva diocese approved of the devotion on the part of the faithful to Our Lady of Siluva. This great devotion and the number of miracles prompted the ecclesiastical authorities to seek papal approval of the public devotion.

After extensive investigations by the local bishop, Pope Pius VI approved of the cult to Our Lady of Siluva with enriched indulgences. The apparition was authenticated by a Papal Decree issued by Pope Pius VI on Aug 17, 1775

Click here to read the official Church statements.


Prayer


A Prayer to Our Lady of Siluva

O Most Holy Virgin Mary, Thou who didst appear to the shepherds in the fields at Siluva, Thou whose tears did bathe the rock where once an altar stood, Thou who didst with plaintive voice say: “You plow and seed here where formerly my Son was honored,” grant that we, moved by Thy tears, may, once as our Forefathers did, revive the spirit of adoration of Thy Son in our fallow hearts, strengthen the tottering structure of the shrine which is the family, and seek forgiveness for our negligence and sins.

O Mother of God, we desire to raise up the glory of Your revelation from forgotten ruins, that we may all the more honor Thee, the Patroness of Lithuania, and with Thy help obtain for us the spirit of a living Faith. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Shrines

Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception - Our Lady of Siluva Chapel
Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Chicago, IL, USA
Shrine at Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA
Our Lady of Siluva - Pictured in Stained Glass at Putnam, Connecticut, USA
Shrine at East St. Louis, MO, USA


Books and Videos

Jutt, John C . Our Lady of Siluva, 1608: First widely-known apparition of the Mother of God in Europe, Siluva Lithuania (Unknown Binding).Knights of Lithuania (1959)

Yla, Father Stasys. Our Lady of Siluva. The Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Putnam, Connecticut, 1958.


Articles


Catholic Online. Traditional Latin Mass Returns to Lithuania. 8/19/2007


Links

Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception - Our Lady of Siluva Chapel
Bridges - Lithuanian American News Journal - Our Lady of Siluva
Our Lady of Siluva - www.ourladyofsiluva.com
Catholic Church in Lithuania

 
   
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