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The Church of St Theresa Read

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Aušros Vartų St. 14

Ignas Dubavičius, a member of Vilnius City Council, built a Monastery of the barefoot Carmelits in 1624. A small wooden church was built next to the monastery three years later. Chancellor of Lithuania Steponas Pacas built a brick church under the project and with personal supervision of Architect J.Urlichoas, who had also built the palace of the Radvilos, in the years 1633-1654. The church was consecrated by Bishop Jurgis Tiškevičius and received the name of St Theresa in 1652. In 1844 Russians closed the Carmelites monastery and transferred the buildings to the Orthodox monks of the Holy Spirit. The church and the chapel of the Gate of Dawn was transferred to the to the catholic authorities. The church façade was built of precious building materials such as marble, granite and sandstone.

In 1748 and 1749 the church suffered from fires. After the fire of 1764 the whole interior of the church was rebuilt under the project of K.Glaubicas. Motiejus Sluščianskis painted frescoes on the vaults and the walls of the church. The present altars are decorated with ornamental relief plaster moulds and statues of the saints. The great altar contains the picture portraying St Theresa with a bleeding heart, while the side altars contain the pictures of St Peter, St John and St Nicholas painted by Artists S.Čechavičius and K.Ruseckas. The church is of Italian baroque style, basilica type and contains three naves.

K.Ruseckas renewed the church interior after its destruction during the war of 1812. However, it was badly damaged after the repair works that took place in the second half of the 19th century. Only the repair of 1927-1929 reduced some former damage. The church had the chapels of God Mother the Good Adviser and the Crucified Saviour or Bishop. The coffins of the Pociejai family are placed under this chapel. The pictures of the founders of the church – the Pacai, Dubavičius, Pociejus – hang in the sacristy. At present the church has only the chapel of God Mother the Good Adviser. There are seven altars in the church.

Vytautas Šiaudinis

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