The purpose of this paper is to discuss various aspects of the development of the places of apparitions and miraculous images, motives and behavioral characteristics of pilgrims coming to the miraculous places of the Virgin Mary in Lithuania.
The paper reviews literature about miraculous events and presents miraculous places in Lithuania (apparition places of the Virgin Mary and sites of miraculous images). Various classifications are applied. Pilgrims ' motivation and behavioral aspects are analyzed based on the quantitative survey.
The research showed that the main motives of religious pilgrims visiting miraculous places were asking for God’s grace, health, expressing gratitude to Jesus or Virgin Mary as well as spiritual quest and renewal. These places attract pilgrims who want to solve different problems in their life or to recover from illnesses. Religious pilgrimage has different forms and rituals, and constitutes different models of the specific behavior. During the journey, pilgrims perform various religious practices such as praying, singing hymns, kissing the relics, etc. The grouping of devotional rituals performed during the pilgrimage and at the destination place is presented.
The paper is important to the researchers of pilgrimage and religious tourism. For the first time, miraculous places of Lithuania are analyzed in the broader international context. Classifications of the miraculous sites indicate various aspects of the development of these places. Motives and behavioral characteristics of pilgrims enable to better understand the multidimensional reality of religious pilgrimage.
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