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The Kretinga Church of the Lord's Revelation to Virgin Mary
Koordinatės: 55.891904, 21.242633 Objekto adresas: Vilniaus street 2, Kretinga, Lithuania Savivaldybė: Bezirk Kretinga
The Kretinga Church of the Lord's Revelation to Virgin Mary can be found in the centre of the city. It is the oldest standing church in Samogitia. At the moment, it belongs to the Dean's Office of Palanga.
In 1602, Jonas Karolis Chodkevičius, the ruler of Kretinga, and his wife Sofija organised the construction of a wooden church and house at the right bank of the Akmena River, in the territory of the Kretinga Park. It became the home of six Bernardine monks. Later, a brick Gothic-style church was built on the left bank of the Akmena River. It took 7 years to build it (1610–1617). The church had a single nave and two towers.
The Swedish military raided and ravaged the church in 1659 and again in 1710. The reconstruction of the church took place between 1907 and 1912. Reconstruction works were carried out based on a project prepared by Sławomir Odrziwolski, an architect and restorer from Krakow. During the renovation, the two side naves were merged together and a spacious transept was built. The transept was decorated with gorgeous pediments. Lastly, a new wooden tower with four side towers were erected.
On June 26th, 1941, a fire broke out in Kretinga and greatly damaged the church and the monastery. In 1949, the Soviet government confiscated the property of the church and limited its activities. The building was renovated in 1950. In 1982, parson Bronislovas Burneikis organised the reconstruction of one of the towers. Its shape and form was different from the previous tower.
The church is characterised by several different architectural styles, including Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. Seven Baroque-style altars were built inside of the church. It also possesses several other significant objects, including the oldest organ in Lithuania, the famous painting of Anthony of Padua, elaborately ornamented and gold-coated choir tables depicting the portraits of Franciscan martyrs on them, the coats of arms and miniature busts of the church founders, J. K. Chodkevičius and his wife Sofija, placed upon the doors of the sacristy, and a pulpit, decorated with statues of Christ and of the apostles. The Chodkevičius family and Franciscan monks were buried under the central altar. A brick fence, decorated with the chapels of the Way of the Cross, surrounds the churchyard.
The Kretinga Catholic church is a state-protected cultural heritage. The mansion is now a part of the complex of buildings of the Kretinga Bernardine Monastery and the Church of the Lord's Revelation to Virgin Mary.
Source: Kretingos enciklopedija
Submitted: Kretingos rajono savivaldybės M. Valančiaus viešoji biblioteka
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