Already in the 17th century, the image of Our Lady of Mercy at the Gate of Dawn gained fame for miracles and special graces. Over time many traditions of devotion developed around it. The solemnity of the Dawn Gate Mother of Mercy is celebrated still today and remains one of the most important feasts in the Archdiocese of Vilnius. Its tradition dates back to 1735, when the Feast of the Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary was first celebrated during the second week of November. In 1761, the Fraternity of the Protection of Our Lady was established, and in 1773 it was given two privileges by Pope Clement XIV. The first privilege granted an indulgence to the members of the fraternity when they joined and on the feast of Mary’s Protection. The second attached an indulgence to Holy Mass for deceased members. Since then, the celebration of Mary’s Protection has grown into the great Indulgence Feast of the Dawn Gate Mother of Mercy. Today the feast is celebrated from Sunday to Sunday of the week in which November 16 falls.
The Dawn Gate Mother of Mercy is also an important part of other feasts in the Archdiocese of Vilnius. On the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, the chapel at the Gate of Dawn is the starting point for an ecumenical Way of Light procession which ends at the Shrine of Divine Mercy. The annual Corpus Christi procession, which starts at the Vilnius Cathedral Basilica, finishes at the Gate of Dawn chapel. Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn is also the starting point for an annual youth pilgrimage to the Trakai Basilica of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where the image of the Mother of God, Protectress of Lithuania, is venerated.
For more information about Our Lady of Mercy of the Gate of Dawn, see the description of this pilgrimage site.