Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

A visit to Lithuania had been in order for a while now. My father travels there often and had invited me on several occasions but there was always something that prevented me to go, until now. We stayed in Vilnius but I really wanted to see the Hill of Crosses for myself. It is a 2 and a half hours train ride and then 15 minutes by car from the station.

"The Hill of Crosses is a place of Catholic pilgrimage that is believed started in 1831. The uprisings of 1831 and 1863 led families to place crosses here as a symbol for missing family members. It was bulldozed by the Soviet Union several times between 1963 and 1973. This place has come to signify the peaceful endurance of Lithuanian Catholicism despite the threats it faced throughout history." The hill remains under nobody's jurisdiction, therefore people are free to build/bring crosses, images, rosaries, scapulars as they see fit.









I'm still thinking about this place, as it has a very strong energy, unlike cemeteries or churches, which are usually more on the peaceful or comforting side.

I do know how it feels to have a family member missing. My father was kidnapped in 1996, fortunately for us he was returned 6 months later. But for those 6 months nothing made sense, there is a certain feeling of desolation and despair that accompanies you for every wakeful moment. Every breath or bite of food you take requires an enormous effort. The uncertainty of it all  bites you second by second, leaving nothing but despair, and that is what I think I felt here in this place.

I'm glad I got to see it, especially with my father next to me.

I wish you a beautiful and peaceful month of March,
Giova

9 comments:

  1. What an experience that must have been, both now and in the past. I wonder if that was in your home country. But anyway to experience this place together, perhaps will create a new shared experience to help lie the old one to rest. A truly unusual place. X

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    1. It was an overwhelming experience back then and yes it happened in Colombia (which btw is quite common to have a relative or someone close to have been in this situation). Now it was overwhelming because of what all those crosses mean. We are quite lucky!!

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  2. That's extraordinary! So glad you had your father next to you to share this. I like how it belongs to no one and every one!

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    1. It is impressive what faith can do. I also love that it belongs to no one and all. A very impressive place that has definitely left a mark.

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  3. Jane CampbellMarch 03, 2016

    Wow. What a powerful place. No wonder the Soviets tried to destroy it. I'm also a little shocked by the kidnapping, but thanks for talking about it.

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    1. Quite powerful and impressive. Kidnappings in Colombia are quite common unfortunately, and even more unfortunate the fact that we have been in a war of sorts for too long and that never makes it to the news, only the "other" stuff.

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  4. Thanks for sharing this incredible place; I just find your blog which is very inspirating for me.

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    1. Thank you so much, I'm very happy you find it inspiring.

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  5. When I first saw these photos I could feel the unsettling, powerful energy in the place. Having read this post (finally - much catching up of blogs to do!) I understand a little more about why it feels like that.
    What a blessing that you were able to visit this place with your father, after what you both went through. Deo gratias.

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