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In 1922, the Cathedral was granted the status of a Basilica. The term "Basilica" means "royal". It is the highest category of churches granted by the Pope of Rome only to special church buildings.
Vilnius Cathedral Basilica of St. Stanislaus and St. Vladislaus built in the very center of the city, in place of the former pagan temple, next to the defensive city castle, witnessed the most beautiful and most dramatic historical events of both Vilnius and entire Lithuania. This shrine is the symbol of the Baptism of Lithuania.
The earthly remains of St. Casimir – the patron of Lithuania and its youth are placed in Vilnius Cathedral. Jurgis Matulaitis served as a bishop here in 1918–1925. On 4 September 1993, Holy Father John Paul II began his historical apostolic tour across Lithuania with a prayer in Vilnius Cathedral. Vilnius Cathedral became the necropolis of most prominent Lithuanian figures – statesmen, bishops and canons.
Due to frequent fires, wars and unstable underground soil, Vilnius Cathedral was rebuilt a number of times. The significance of the building determined the fact that its reconstructions were managed by the most prominent foreign and local architects and artists. The current building has a classical style (architect Laurynas Stuoka-Gucevičius), however, its brick walls have traces of the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods.
The history of Vilnius Cathedral is more than six hundred years old. Many valuable religious, historical and art items important for both the people of Vilnius and of entire Lithuania are stored in this shrine. Religious, cultural and historical heritage is the legacy of people who lived before us which is related to the history of the faith of our land.
The Cathedral preserved the oldest Renaissance tombstones in Lithuania (of Albertas Goštautas and Paulius Alšėniškis) and two 17th century Baroque chapels (of St. Casimir and Valavičius family). It also preserves valuable monuments of sacred art transferred from other churches in Vilnius, including the miraculous painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary (known as Sapiega Madonna) from the Church of St. Michael the Archangel and the Crucifix from Antakalnis Trinitarian Church. The Cathedral also includes other remaining art treasures, the most important of which is the priceless collection of gold and silver church vessels and objects.
The building of the Cathedral has a rectangular plan and symmetrical composition with features of Gothic (masonry of the main part of the building), Renaissance and Baroque (St. Casimir and Valavičius Family chapels) periods. The Cathedral reconstructed by Laurynas Stuoka-Gucevičius is a majestic, harmonious and monumental three-nave building with a hall-style of the Classicism period. Its middle nave is wider, while its side naves are narrower. The naves are separated by pillars and covered with cross vaults.
The structure of the Cathedral's interior space has a Gothic style, but the decorations of the interior are of the Classicism period. This sanctuary of grand and clear architecture designed by Laurynas Gucevičius had to reflect religion that is acceptable to the Age of Enlightenment – moderate, intelligent and cultivating civic virtues. The interior space of the Cathedral is divided into three naves by massive pillars, and its walls are separated by Doric order pilasters with side chapel portals and triangular pediments inserted between them. The ceilings of the shrine have vaults decorated with laurel garlands and rosettes decorated with arches.