Church of St. Nicholas, Vilnius
|The Church of St Nicholas|
|Šv. Mikalojaus bažnyčia|
St. Nicholas Church
St. Nicholas Church (Lithuanian: Šv. Mikalojaus bažnyčia), built in the Old Town of the capital city Vilnius, is not the oldest surviving church in Lithuania, but one of the oldest examples of Gothic architecture in Lithuania.
Originally built in the 14th century, the church is mentioned in writing for the first time in 1387. In 1901-39 the Church of St. Nicholas was the only church in Vilnius where the mass was held in Lithuanian. By the same token it was a centre of Lithuanian culture (its famous dean Kristupas Čibiras was killed in 1942 during a bombing raid). During the Soviet occupation a statue of the patron of Vilnius, St. Christopher, was erected in the church orchard (sculptor Antanas Kmieliauskas, 1959); it was an obvious act of resistance, as the city's coat-of-arms with St. Christopher's figure was banned at that time.
Archaeologists believe that the same Roman Catholic church survived till the present day. Externally, the church represents the Brick Gothic style, while its interior has been renovated several times. The church belfry was built in the 17th century in the Baroque style. Its façade is flanked by two stocky buttresses with cut-off tops. The triangular pediment with niches has been recently renovated accentuating its original Gothic character. In the interior, four elegant octahedral pillars support web and star vaults. The high altar holds a painting of St. Nicholas with a silver setting from the 16th century. The church is adorned with two sculptures: a polychrome statue of St. Louis from the Gothic period, and Vytautas' bronze bust erected in 1930 (sculptor Rapolas Jakimavičius).
Monument to Vytautas
- Prof. Tomas Venclova, VILNIUS. R. Paknys Publishing House, ISBN 9986-830-48-6
- Šv. Mikalojaus bažnyčia. Retrieved on 200709-21 (Lithuanian)
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