Thursday, November 16, 2006

November 16th , the Feast of the Protection of the Merciful Mother of God


Pray to Our Lady for the protection of Our Lady of Vilnius Parish, NYC. May her presence be a comfort and inspiration to us all.

1522 – Responding to fears of attack from Crimean Tartars, Grand Duke Aleksandras of Lithuania fortifies the city of Vilnius with a wall with five gates. The present Gates of Dawn was the easternmost, and most dangerous access to the city.

1626 – Carmelite monks establish a monastery next to the Gates, and began to care for the icon of Our Lady of Vilnius.

1671 - A wooden chapel was erected atop the Gates to house the icon. At least 17 miracles were recorded around this time.

1655-1661 – Our Lady frequently appears in the city’s night time sky to residents praying for her intercession, while defending the Gates from Russian attack.

1671 – The icon is “clothed” in fine metallic robes, the work of Vilnius goldsmiths.

1702 – Sweden captures Vilnius, and outlaws public worship of the icon. The icon gets hit with a bullet during a battle at the Gates.

1715 – The wooden chapel burns in a fire. The icon is saved and put into a new cement chapel.

1799-1802 – Although the wall around the city is demolished, the Gates are spared because of the miracles that occurred here.

1927 – The icon undergoes restoration, and is crowned in an elaborate ceremony.

1945-1991 – Scores of pilgrims from Byelorussia come to worship at the chapel, as most of their churches have been closed by the Soviet Union.

1993 – His Holy Father Pope John Paul II prays the rosary in the chapel, fulfilling a dream he first had while praying in the chapel of Our Lady of Vilnius in the Vatican when he first become Pope.

1997 – The Orthodox Patriarch Aleksei II and the Archbishop of Vilnius Audrys Bačkis pray together for peace in the chapel, as thousands in the streets below kneel in prayer.

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