Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel in Marijampolė

The Basilica of Saint Michael the Archangel in Marijampolė is one of the most important churches in the diocese of Vilkaviškis. Pilgrims from Lithuania and neighbouring countries come here to pray at the tomb of the blessed archbishop Jurgis Matulaitis. In 1750, Pranciška Butlerienė, the elder of Prienai, invited the Marian priests of the Blessed Virgin Mary‘s Immaculate Conception Monastery, who started to build a church and monastery at the confluence of the Šešupė and Javonis rivers. Eight years later a wooden Church of the Holy Cross was consecrated. In 1809, the church burned down in a fire. Construction of a new stone church took a while. It was consecrated only fifteen years later and was named after Saint Michael the Archangel. In the XIX century and at the beginning of the XX century the church was several times expanded and decorated. It has Neo-Baroque features, a ground plan in the form of Latin Cross, and two towers with an apse. In 1934, the remains of archbishop Jurgis Matulaitis were brought from the Kaunas Cathedral and buried in the Chapel of the Holy Heart of Jesus. In 1987, after the archbishop was proclaimed a Blessed, an altar was built and named after Him. The relics of the Blessed one was relocated thereto. And the chapel was named after the Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis. Another chapel, that of St. Anne’s, is the resting place of the remains of Vilkaviškis diocese bishop Antanas Karosas. In the churchyard, there are graves of the Marian monks and of the 1831 uprising participants. The church has a painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Child, which was famous for its miracles. It is one of the biggest sacred values of the diocese of Vilkaviškis. In 1992, the church was titled a small basilica.