Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Panevezys stained glass window

Panevėžiecių vitražas, įruoštas vysk K. Paltarako atminimui. 
Panevežio katedra ir didžiajame altoriuje esantis Kristus Valdovas.

Panevėžys stained glass, in memory Bishop K. Paltarakas.  Panevezys’  Cathedral, is in the background.

Bishop Kazimieras Paltarokas was born in 1875, he was bishop of Panevezys for over 30 years.

Funds for this window was organised by I Račiunas.  Designed by sculptor Ieva Pocius.   Ieva was from the Panevežys region.

This window was sanctified in June 1971.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Christianity comes to Lithuania

Lietuvos krikšto vitražas. Vytauto bažynčia Kaune.
Sukaktuvinis Vytauto Didžiojo medalis. Mindaugo krikštas.

This window is titled the Baptism of Lithuania.  It features Vytautas Didysis church in Kaunas, and King Mindaugas’ baptism.

Vytautas "the Great" c. 1350 – October 27, 1430) was one of the most famous rulers of medieval Lithuania. Vytautas was the ruler (1392–1430) of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania which chiefly encompassed the Lithuanians and Ruthenians.

In modern Lithuania, Vytautas is revered as a national hero and was an important figure in the national rebirth in the 19th century. Mindaugas (ca. 1203 – fall 1263) was the first known Grand Duke of Lithuania and the only King of Lithuania.

War ravaged the country at that time.  Duke Mindaugas became concerned about the onslaughts on the battlefield and tried to save Lithuania by diplomacy.  As an initial step, he accepted Christianity in 1251, thereby depriving the Order of their only excuse for further invasion of his country. He hoped that by accepting Christianity, this would stop the Crusaders from enforcing the "true and proper faith" onto the heathen Lithuanians so he and his immediate family became Christians purely for political reasons.

Having been baptized and having established the Church in Lithuania, he was crowned by Pope Innocents IV on July 6, 1253 as the first King of Lithuania. Mindaugas was an exceptional diplomat, statesman and a military genius who built political, economic and cultural bridges to modern Europe. It was during his reign that the country adopted Roman Catholicism.

Created 1972 based on sketches by Pranas Pusdešris.  

This window was paid for by left over funds raised for the Suvalkija window.  It was consecrated by Father Pranas Dauknys in 1972.

A plaque at the base of the window notes the donors.

Šv Kazimiero Parapijos Taryba
A.L Moterų Draugija
Adelaidės Ateitininkai Sendraugiai
Adelaidės Moksleiviai ateininkiai
Šv Kazimiero Savaitgalio Mokykla
Šv Kazimiero Parapijos Choras
Adelaidės Lietuvių Choras Lituania
Adelaidės Akademikų Skautų Sąjunga
L.V.S Ramovė
ALT Akadėminis Sambūris
Adelaidės L.B Apylinkes valdyba
Adelaidės LSK “Vytis”

P Iz Bakšiai
Detail of above window
+ T.A Binkievičiai
J.A Janusaičiai
O.J Karlai
+ A.K Karpys
S. Lelienė
+ L. Matukienė
A.A Morkūnas
+ V. Raginis
Juozapas Rupinskas
J. Storpirštis
+ O.K Storpirščiai
+ S. Šilingas
S.K Valinčiai
Z. B Venčiai
V. Vilčinskas
J. Zelenekas
V.A Vieraitis

Friday, 25 January 2013

Žemaičių (Samogitia) stained glass window

Žemaičių vitrazas. Vysk M. Valančius. 
Kražių skerdynių pavaizdavimas. 
Žemaitijos herbas.
This window features the Bishop Mikolas Valančius, Bishop of Samogitia, Kražiai symbols and the Samogitian coat of arms.

The originator of Lithuanian fiction prose M. Valančius was born on February 16, 1801, in a village of Nasrėnai near Salantai (Kretinga district) in the family of a rich peasant. He studied at the Dominican School in a town of Žemaičių Kalvarija, Varniai Clerical Seminary, and at Vilnius Clerical Academy. In 1828 M. Valančius became a priest. He was holding high posts as a professor at Vilnius and St. Petersburg Clerical Academies, rector of Varniai Clerical Seminary, and in the year of 1850 he became the Bishop of Samogitia. 

He was establishing parochial schools, took care of publishing and distribution of Lithuanian books, organized a wide net of temperance societies that tried to divert the peasants from alcohol.

M. Valančius died on May 17 in the year 1875.

Kražiai is one of the older settlements in Samogitia.  It was declared the centre of Samogitia in the 15th century.  he town is remembered in Lithuania as the site of the "Kražiai Massacre" of 1893. As part of its campaign against Lithuanian nationalism focused on Catholicism, the Russian government decided to tear down the local Catholic monastery church. After petitions to save the church were rejected, people began to gather at the church to prevent the removal of sacred objects. This alarmed Kaunas Governor Nikolai Klingenberg, who led a force of police and Cossacks that invaded the church and brutally drove the people out and into the nearby Kražantė River where six of them drowned.

The Samogitian coat of arms features a black bear with white collar on a red background.  The origin of the Samogitian coat of arms is possibly related to the legendary theory of the Roman origin of Lithuanians. According to this story one of the Roman tribes that settled in Lithuania was named Ursinai (lat. ursus = bear). If this is true, then it is not clear if the Roman origin of Lithuanians is supported by the Samogitian use of the bear or if the Samogitians cleverly used the bear to develop the legend.

Made in 1971.
Dieve Žemaičių viltys tavyje (God of Samogitia we have hope in you).

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Stained Glass windows of St Casmir’s church

The Lithuanian Catholic church of St Casmir in St Peters has numerous statues, and detailed coloured stained glass windows, that tell many stories of Lithuanian history.  The windows have been created in memory of individuals who contributed greatly to the Lithuanian Catholic centre or in memory of Lithuania.

In 1969 Father Spurgis came from Chicago to lighten the duties of the ailing priest at that time Father Kazlauskas.  Father Spurgis initiated a comprehensive works program.  Under his guidance a national shrine was erected, a baptistery and five stained glass windows commemorating the five diocese of Lithuanian were added to the chapel.   Father Spurgis had envisaged a church decorated in stained glass depicting Lithuania.   In total the windows cost over $10,000, produced in the early 1970’s.  The windows were built by artist Stasys Kerulis.

The largest of the stained glass windows depicts St Casmir, patron saint of Lithuania.  The window is located behind the alter.  To the far right you can see Gediminas tower. 

Gediminas' Tower s the only remaining part of the Upper Castle in Vilnius.  It is an important state and historic symbol of the city of Vilnius and of Lithuania itself.  It is depicted on the national currency, the litas, and is mentioned in numerous Lithuanian patriotic poems and folk songs.

To the left of St Casmir is the Three Crosses (Lithuanian: Trys kryžiai) based on a monument in Vilnius. Designed by Polish–Lithuanian architect and sculptor Antoni Wiwulski in 1916, it was torn down in 1950 by order of the Soviet Union authorities.  A new monument designed by Henrikas Šilgalis was erected in its place in 1989.  The crosses stand on Kalnai Park, overlooking the old town of Vilnius, very close to Gediminas’ tower.

Saint Casimir Jagiellon (Lithuanian: Kazimieras; October 3, 1458 – March 4, 1484) was a crown prince of the Kingdom of Poland and of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania who became a patron saint of Lithuania, Poland, and the young. His feast day, the Saint Casimir's Day, is marked annually with Kaziuko mugė (a trade fair) held on the Sunday nearest to March 4, the anniversary of his death, in Vilnius.  Surviving contemporary accounts described Prince Casimir as a young man of exceptional intellect and education, humility and politeness, striving for justice and fairness.  

He is usually depicted as a young man in long red robe lined with sloat fur. Sometimes he wears a red cap of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, but other times, to emphasize his devotion to spiritual life, the cap is placed near Casimir. Usually he holds a lily, a symbol of virginity, innocence, and purity. He might also hold a cross, a rosary, or a book with words from Omni die dic Mariae (Daily, Daily Sing to Mary). He was canonized by Pope Adrian VI in 1522 and is the patron saint of Poland and Lithuania.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Freed Lithuanians' idea of the Future

Freed Lithuanians' ideas of the future

Security and the unimpeded pursuit of happiness are the fervent wishes of four new Australians in Adelaide, who recently completed their two-year contract with the Commonwealth Government and are now 'free to go where they please, and when'.
The four men, all Lithuanians and single, came to Australia with the first batch of DPs from Germany in November, 1947.  Their contract was shortened by two months.  To capture those elusive entities, security and happiness, they intend now to — 
  • Master the English language.
  • Get the best job possible.
  • Save a lot of money and buy a home.
  • Marry an Australian girl and have a family.
All are eager to become naturalised Australian citizens and clip the 'new' from 'new Australian.' They like Australia, say they have been 'as happy as possible in the circumstances.'

Wants to study law
These are the men and their stories: —
Stasys Cibiras, 26, has been a laborer since coming to Australia. He is now an orderly at Daws Road Repatriation Hospital.   Standing 6 ft. in his socks, broad-shouldered, blue eyed, Stasys intends remaining an orderly 'for a little while longer.' Later he would like to enter the University to study law.  He was a student in Lithuania when the Germans sent him to work as a laborer in Germany. Back in Lithuania are his parents, six brothers and a sister.  He has not heard of them since 1944.  He is afraid to write because, for his people, 'a letter from abroad is a ticket to Siberia.' 

Prefers bookkeeping
Pranas Duoba, 39, a book keeper in Lithuania before the war, worked for the SA Railways for over a year.  Now he is employed by an automobile factory and does not intend leaving it 'for a while.' Pranas is tall and well built, has one great difficulty — the English language.  He realises that until he has mastered it he can do little toward improving his present position, and he intends doing something about it.  One day he wants to return to bookkeeping and then, when his house is in order, marry.  He thinks Australia is the me rood country in the world for raising children. Pranas' family is still in Lithuania.  There has been a silence for five years.

Vincentas Derencius, 24, small and pleasant, wants to be a mechanic or an electrician.  For 15 months he was a laborer with the Forestry Department.  Now he works at an Adelaide automobile factory.  He hopes later to go to Melbourne where he has friends.  He was a student when taken by the Germans.  His father, a Lithuanian farmer, his mother, two brothers and a sister, are in a DP camp in Germany.  For a year he has been trying hard to get them to Australia.  Vincentas likes Australia and Australians, though he admits the whisper 'Balt' has hurt him many times.  He is the owner of a motor cycle and other property for which he has saved conscientiously.  

Has marriage in view
Kleopas Daulenskis, 34, former blacksmith and farmer, weighs 15 stone.  He says he is glad his contract has finished, but does not intend to make any radical changes in his surroundings.  He has blue eyes, a wide, open face, and fists like hams.  For the past 20 months he has been employed as a laborer on the SA Railways.  A keen organiser, Kleopas has already bought a block of land in Adelaide.  Next he wants to build a house; then he hopes to get married.  He has not decided what his future work will be, but he has ideas.  He thinks Australians are 'very nice people with very big hearts,' and is proud of the friends he has among them.  He, too, left his family be hind in Lithuania. He has not heard of them since, wonders if they are still alive.

The Mail 

Saturday 15 October 1949

Monday, 14 January 2013

Algirdas Kudirka - artist

Painter, Stage Director, graphic and poker work artist.

Born in St Petersburg in 1915, he and his parents returned to Lithuanian after WWI. (His immigration papers state he was born in Zarasai on 22 June 1917). He studied art at the Vilnius Academy of Art for three years.  During WWII he was captured by Nazis, conscripted into the German Army and taken prisoner of war by the American Army.
In 27 April 1948, he arrived in Australia on board the ship General Black.  He fulfilled his two year work contract as a sugar cane cutter in Queensland.  During that time he painted in oil a large picture, titled Holy Mary, a copy of the revered painting in Vilnius.  He donated his work to the parish of Freshwater in 1948 to mark the first Lithuanian Day celebrations in Australia.
Žemaitė Julija Beniuševičiūtė-Žymantienė,
famous Lithuanian author

In 1949, he exhibited four graphic art works at a Gympie exhibition and won first prize. While still in Queensland he painted murals in private homes, decorated church halls and painted pictures of religious subjects for Catholic churches.

In 1955, he moved to Adelaide and became involved with the community, painting  theatrical sets and decorating Lithuanian house with wooden ornaments based on folk art symbols.  (These still hang in the House). He then began to use poker work.  

In 1956, he held his first solo exhibition at St Joseph's Hall in Adelaide.  He showed 22 poker work items and 10 oil paintings.  In 1957 he won a bronze medal at the Royal Adelaide Exhibition and in 1958 he was one of six Lithuanian artists who held an exhibition at Lithuanian House. During the 1962 Lithuanian Festival he held a joint poker work exhibition with Rimas Daugalis.

He never married and lived the last five years at the Lithuanian Catholic centre where he painted many oil painting of Lithuanian historical figures.  They can still be seen displayed around the Lithuanian Catholic Centre.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Adelaide Lithuanian Museum

This week I had the pleasure of talking to a PhD student in cultural heritage from Deakin University.  She came to look at the Adelaide Lithuanian Museum and in particular to find one object, which she will look at the history, display etc.  I enjoy these types of talks as it often leads to different perspectives on things.  We spoke of the history of the museum and how things have changed over time.  

Initially the Museum was established to teach children of Lithuanians in Adelaide about their heritage, it collected all things Lithuanian, everything was in Lithuanian.  I can understand this, as being an occupied country there was a real fear of loosing touch with their heritage.  Slowly the Museum has changed, their is a need for text to be in two languages, second and third generations no longer have a strong command of the Lithuanian language.  Visitors are interested in their families past as it relates to the community here, rather than the country.  

The museum relies on donations, this also has changed over the years.  Since Lithuania's independence more community members have returned to Lithuania and are bringing back souvenirs, brochures, badges, stickers from the country, items that weren't available before.  The Museum is a community museum, the community has the ability to dictate what it wants displayed.  Its a very tricky thing to refuse a donation, but do these items tell the communities story here?  Yes and No.  Does the community understand that they have the power to dictate how they are displayed?  I doubt that.

Another point that came to light was that all the Curators in the past had been men with no museum training.  Men like military items and so the Museum has a good collection of uniforms and badges.  Having limited understanding of how museums work also means we get whatever is donated, displayed.  It doesn't matter that we already have two pairs of clogs, another pair will line up beside them.  

One question the student posed was, how does the community see the Museum?  There were alto of umms, I think the Lithuanian born generation are generally proud of the museum, any new person to Lithuanian house always gets a tour.  The younger generation may see it as 'old' and dated.  

If anyone has visited the museum, I would love your thoughts on how you perceive it.  There are plans to make changes over the next few years, new display cabinets, interpretive panels etc.  It still is a community museum and I would like to portray it how you want it.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Celebrate your place in South Australia’s history

There are many places around Australia that allow you to record in some way your descendants name in a public monument.  The Maritime Museum in Sydney has the Welcome wall, and Adelaide has Settlement Square at the Migration Museum. 

Recently my mother purchased a paver with my maternal grandparents name and year of arrival in Australia stamped on it.  My grandparents were both cremated with their ashes scattered.  There is no place to lay flowers, no place I can see their names, until now.    
Whether your family has always been here, came as early colonists or are recent arrivals, there’s a place for you in the Migration Museum’s Settlement Square. The pavers that form a striking ‘Tree of Life’ pattern in Settlement Square are engraved with the names, places of origin and dates of arrival of thousands of South Australian immigrants. Settlement Square and its companion database of information about the families thus recorded is a testament to the rich cultural diversity of South Australia.

The money that you purchase the brick with goes into the Migration Museum Foundation. A tax-exempt incorporated association which was set up in 2000. The Foundation exists as a membership-based fund to support the Museum’s programs through interest raised on the principal amount that is invested.

A great way to honour your ancestors and support a fantastic museum.

Other Lithuanians who appear in the square are;
Tadas Zurauskas  1948
Kostas Teodoras Tymukas 1948
Pulgis & Maria Andrusevicius 1949
Vaclovas Miliauskas 1948
Vaclovas & Susanna Germanas Lithuania and Germany 1950
Bronius Vitkunas (Brian Newman) 1947.
You can find out more about Settlement square at