Church of All Saints and the Friary
The excursion to the Church of All Saints and the Carmelite Friary took pace on January 31st, 2019. This event was part of „Cultural Heritage during Lunch” group of events, organised by the Agency.
There were 4 Carmelite friaries in Vilnius: at the St. George Church, at All Saints Church, at the Theresa Church and at the St Joseph Church (the last was closed and destroyed at 19th c).
The All Saints Carmelite Friary was established in 1620 near the southern part of the City Defence Wall. The main long building of the Friary was located at Visu Sventuju (All Saints) Street. The All Saints Church was built between 1620 and 1631, it is of late Baroque style. Two wooden polychromatic statues of St Elijah and St Elizej, the first Carmelite hermits and initiators of the Carmelite friary, stood on the pediment of the Church (now they are inside the Church). The large five-tier bell tower was built next to the Church in 1743. In the same year a two-storied building was added on the ground floor of which the sacristy and on the first floor a library famous in the 18th century were installed.
The friary was closed down in 1885; then a large part of treasures of art were scattered. In the Soviet times the Church was closed in 1948; it was made into a folk art museum in 1975. In 1991, after the Church was returned to the Catholic Church, the shrine was renewed, some of its pictures were returned to it. Currently the Church is open to visitors.
Now there are flats in the former main building of the friary. There is a need for a renewal and restoration; but at least the urban structure of the friary remained. Inside one can see the long curved corridor; rooms are located from one side of the corridor. There are many small shops on the ground floor. The ensemble of the friary is valuable urban and architectural monument of Vilnius Old Town.