Religious Sites and Sacred Spaces in Lithuania and Poland:

A Comparison between the Šiluva Complex and the Świebodzin Statue of Jesus

  • Robert Parkin
Keywords: pilgrimage, Šiluva, statues of Christ, Świebodzin, tourism


This paper compares two religious sites associated with the Catholic Church: Šiluva in Lithuania, where a religious complex has existed for several centuries because of visions of the Virgin Mary seen there in 1608; and the much more recent tatue of Jesus Christ erected earlier this century in the town of Świebodzin in western Poland. It is argued that, unlike the former, a central site where religious devotion comes together with expressions of Lithuanian nationhood, the latter’s status as a religious site is still uncertain and at best in a process of becoming. This is not least because this site appears to lend itself to touristic interest more than religious devotion expressed through pilgrimage. It therefore raises questions about what we mean by sacred spaces in a way the site at Šiluva does not.