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).

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