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Klaipėda Laukininkai Church

Koordinatės: 55.707935, 21.136612
Objekto adresas: Tiltų Street 18, Klaipeda, Lithuania
Savivaldybė: Klaipeda

In the 16th-17th c. the eastern side of the island of Klaipėda city between the two arms of the river Dangė was a religious centre with the first churches in Klaipėda: the Church of St John for the German citizens and the Church of St Michael for the residents of surrounding areas. The Church of St Michael stood on the left side of the modern-day Dangė River. The mass used to be hosted in Latin, while the preaching was done in German. There were also special translators (referred to as tulkas) to translate all that into the local language. Influenced by the Reformation, the churches started hosting the mass in Lithuanian language as well. Up until 1557 Lithuanian mass used to be held by the priest Nicolaus Blothno from the Lithuania Proper, then Johannes Svultetus and Lazarus Sengstock. Until the 17th c. both Lutheran communities in Klaipėda acted together. In 1620 the Prussian Lithuanian parish became an independent unit and established a church school. In 1671-1680 it employed the teacher Valentin Dach, the nephew of the famous Simon Dach (1605-1659), who was born in Klaipėda.
In 1627-1629, preparing for the war with Sweden, the city started building Dutch-type bastions, so the Lithuanian church was demolished and transferred to another location. The process took several decades. As of the seventh decade of the 17th c. the Prussian Lithuanian parish used to gather for a prayer at an tavern in Vitė suburb, adapted especially for that purpose. The location for the new church was picked in the suburb of Olandų Street. The land near the central street was purchased from the burgomaster G. J. Friedrichsen. The new brick triple-naved hall church for the Lithuanian community was built in 1687, in the northern side of Akmens Pylimo Street, in front of the Evangelical Lutheran Reformer church. The church was modest, without an apse or a belfry, yet it was quite large: 42 m long, 23.2 m wide and 9.4 m high, decorated with semi-circular arched windows. In 1686-1696 the first pastor in this church was Johann Lehmann. His work was later continued by his sons and grandchildren. J. Lehmann proofread the manuscript of Gramatica Litvanica, the first Lithuanian grammar book, compiled by D. Klein, while his grandson was entrusted to proofread the first Small Catechism, dedicated for the Lithuania Minor. There were other priests that worked at this church and contributed to the Lithuanian press: M. Pretorius (1661-1664), D. Lüneburg (1726-1743), C. R. Jacobi (1860-1881), J. Pipiras (1887-1912), etc. The Prussian Lithuanian Parish in Klaipėda was rather large: in 1848 it united 15 600 and in 1878 – 16 000 people. Due to the large number of parishioners, as of 1709 the parish employed two and, as of 1860, three pastors. In 1852 the Prussian Lithuanian church was ordered to host German mass as well. For this reason in 1858 people started referring to it as Laukininkai Church (Landkirche), several decades later – Žemininkai Church and, finally, the Church of St Jacob.
In 1854 the church burned down during the Great Fire of Klaipėda. It was rebuilt in 1856 according to the project of the famous German architect F. A. Stüler. The reconstruction didn't change much of the original plan and exterior. It remained a triple-nave church without a belfry, but it became more beautiful, featuring a pediment with lesenes and pointy neo-Gothic turrets. The interior was renewed as well, including the altar, the pulpit and the baptistery. The side navas were separated with arcades, forming a balcony featuring a huge 40-register organ in the back. The interior was decorated with chandeliers and ornate wall planes.
During the World War II the church was damaged and there was a huge hole in the roof. Despite the damage, the mass resumed in 1946, but was soon prohibited. In 1959 an army unit of the USSR levelled the building to the ground. It was replaced with Neptūnas restaurant.
In 1947 the mass was resumed in a private house that belonged to the fisherman Jonas Kaitinis, at the address of Šešupės Street 2. The mass was hosted by the preacher Adomas Kybelka, as well as incoming pastors M. Preikšaitis, J. Kalvanas and J. Gavėnis. During the soviet era the Lutheran community of Klaipėda was registered only in 1955 and used to gather for prayer at the reconstructed cemetery church on the second half of the day, after the Eastern Orthodox mass, up until 1990. After the restoration of independence Klaipėda's Lutherans were given the premises that belonged to the city parish before the war (Pylimo Street 2) near the former Church of St John. Currently Klaipėda Lutheran Church is led by the pastor Reinholdas Moras.

Submitted: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I.Simonaitytės biblioteka | http://www.klavb.lt/lt/

The object available in the following routes
  • Description:

    Memel, Friedrich-Wilhelm-Strasse [Grafika] : [atvirukas]. - Memel : Christliche Buchhandlung, Inh. Gottfried Klischies, [19??]. - 1 atvirukas

    Source: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I. Simonaitytės biblioteka, AdM archyvas

    Publisher: Christliche Buchhandlung, Inh. Gottfried Klischies

    Contributor: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I. Simonaitytės biblioteka

    Type / format: Atvirukas / jpg

    Memel, Friedrich-Wilhelm-Strasse (kairėje Laukininkų bažnyčia)
  • Description:

    Pastatas, buvusios bažnyčios vietoje (Tiltų g. 18) : [skaitmeninė nuotrauka] / Ingrida Valotkienė. - Klaipėda, 2017. - 1 vaizdas

    Source: Ingridos Valotkienės asmeninis archyvas

    Publisher: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I. Simonaitytės biblioteka

    Contributor: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I. Simonaitytės biblioteka

    Type / format: Skaitmeninė nuotrauka / jpg

    Rights: CC BY-NC-ND

    Pastatas, buvusios bažnyčios vietoje (Tiltų g. 18)