The article recalls a source from 1638 which has hitherto not been referred to in the literature on the subject, i.e. the history of two chapels at the cathedral in Vilnius: the Chapel of St. Casimir founded by King Sigismund III, and the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, furnished as a burial chapel by Bishop Eustachy Wołłowicz (lit. Eustachijus Valavičius). The said source is a diary written by a Carmelite nun during her journey from Lublin to Vilnius (14 November – 26 December 1638), which she made with three fellow nuns assigned to a new monastery founded by Stefan Pac (lit. Steponas Pacas) and his wife Anna Maria Ancilia née Rudomina-Dusiatska (lit. Ona Marija Ancilia Rudomina-Dusiackaitė). The diary was penned by Sister Mary Magdalene (Anna Żaboklicka) who described various aspects of their journey, as well as a visit to the Vilnius Cathedral organized by the Pac family. The nuns were particularly impressed by the Chapel of St. Casimir. Thanks to Sister Mary Magdalene’s detailed description of the chapel, it was possible to reconstruct the subjects of some paintings by Bartłomiej Strobel, and to interpret several facets of its appearance, including the feretory of St. Casimir. While the description of Bishop Eustachy Wołłowicz’s chapel is not as detailed, it should be stressed that by inviting the nuns there, the Pac family intended to emphasize their kinship with the ruler of Vilnius, who was highly esteemed by his contemporaries.
AfiliacjaFaculty of Historical and Social Sciences Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw Polska
dr hab. Anna Czyż is an art historian specializing in early modern history, with a specific focus on the art of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, artistic and formal problems, artistic foundations and propaganda in a broad cultural and historical context. She also catalogues the monuments of Polish church and sepulchral art in the former Eastern Borderlands (Ukraine, Lithuania) and the USA.