Built as a baroque church in the shape of a Latin cross, this Orthodox church feels out of place in Vilnius. With its peaceful, tree shaded grounds, on a hot summer's day, you could be transported to somewhere like Spain or Italy. Inside the church is also decorated with stucco mouldings and sculptures, which again is unlike typical Orthodox churches in other countries.
The Church of the Holy Spirit is the main Orthodox church in the country, and the two attached monasteries are the only Orthodox ones in all of Lithuania. You can feel the importance of the church to the community in the loving way it is maintained. That is in sharp contrast to the Holy Trinity church just across the road.
In the years of 1753-1770 Dominicans built this church in a style of late baroque. Now this church is the main church of Polish Catholics. What is more, Holy Spirit's church is very rich in interior details - there are almost no places without any fresco, sculpture or painting.
The one of still interesting things to me - it is cellar of this church. I heard there are lot of well-kept mummies of people, who died due to various disasters. In Soviet time it was considered to do a museum inside of cellar, but now the entrance to cellar is forbidden, as I know.
The first wooden church founded on this site by King Wladyslaw Jagiello in 1408 burnt down 33 years later. The new church and monastery were presented to the Dominican Order by King Aleksander Jagiellonczyk. The later brick buildings were alternately demolished by foreign invaders or fires and carefully restored. The church owes its present shape to the restoration of 1753-1770.
The church stands with its side facing the street so lacks the main facade but inside it's one of the most ornate churches in Vilnius with sixteen altars and masses of rococo decorations. In 1844 the church was taken over by the Tzarist authorities, who turned the monastery into a prison. The underground vaults of the church building contain heaps of mummified human bodies of the victims of an epidemic of 1710. It must be a terrible sight but if you wanted to see the crypt anyway you would have to join a group who have pre-arranged their visit with the parish-priest.
When we visited the place there was a wedding ceremony taking place so we couldn't have a good look round. The ceremony was conducted in Polish and I was told that this was the only church in Vilnius where Polish was the only language used in prayer.
The Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit (Sv. Dvasios Cerkve) is nowadays the main church for the Polish people in Vilnius and was even open during the Soviet era.
The first church was built here at the end of the 14th century, but had to be reconstructed several times due to fire damage.
The Church of the Holy Spirit is integrated into a building of the street Dominikonu gatve in the northwestern part of the old town.
Church of the Holy Spirit, Dominikonu 8, Vilnius
A church is thought to have been built on this site before the time of the Grand Duke Gediminas (about 1323). The church was destroyed at the end of XIV c. During an attack by the Crusaders. In 1501 the Grand Duke Alexander donated it to the Dominican Monastery. The Dominicans rebuilt the church and also built a convent alongside. Having been damaged during the war and the fires of the mid-XVII c., the church was renovated in 1770 and it is then that it obtained its obvious late baroque features in the interior. The church possesses the most valuable organ in Lithuania.
And also today the Holy Masses in this church are going in Polish language only.
The church is a beautiful example of late Baroque. The interior is rich in ornaments, bas-reliefs and frescos. Their abundance is so great that it's impossible to take in all the details. The sixteen golden altars guarded by angels make us speechless, the main altar amazes with intricacy of ornaments, the dome delights.
Holy Spirit is the only church in Vilnius where the services are held only in Polish. It's also the only church where even in soviet times masses were said regularly. Today it is the place which integrates Polish minority in Vilnius and the pilgrims coming from Poland.
This church is also known as the Dominican church, since it was given to Dominican order by Aleksandras Jogailaitis in 1501.
It is one of the most monumental and ornate churches of Vilnius, built in late baroque style.
The interior is magnificent, in its Rococo style with incredible decorations, probably one of the finest (and richest) examples throughout Lithuania (and Europe).
Being a Dominican church it's not strange to find there a cloister too, with beautiful frescos of the 18th century.