(Lietuvių) Kun. Juozas Šalčius “Mūsų tautos dvasios milžinai”

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(Lietuvių) Kardinolas V. Sladkevičius “Pradėkime dangų žemėje”

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Merkelis Giedraitis (1536-1609)

Melchijor_Giedrojc._Мэльхіёр_ГедройцMerkelis Giedraitis (Polish: Melchior Giedroyć; ca. 1536 – 6 April 1609 in Alsėdžiai) was Bishop of Samogitia from 1576 to 1609. He actively combated Reformation implementing resolutions of Council of Trent in Samogitia.

Giedraitis was born into the Giedraičiai family of Lithuanian nobility. He studied at University of Königsberg (1550), Universities of Wittenberg and Tübingen (1560–1563), University of Leipzig (1563). He was ordained as a priest in 1571 and soon became a member of the diocesan chapter in Vilnius. Bishop of Samogitia Jurgis Petkūnas died in 1574. Jakub Uchański, Primate of Poland and Archbishop of Gniezno, attempted to promote his nephew to the vacancy. Walerian Protasewicz, Bishop of Vilnius, protested this nepotism and instead promoted Giedraitis, who had a clear advantage of speaking Lithuanian and Samogitian. After a two-year political struggle Giedraitis prevailed and was consecrated bishop on 16 January 1576.

Giedraitis found parishes of Diocese of Samogitia either overtaken by Protestants or neglected. He worked hard to end clerical abuses, strengthen churches and schools, and increase number of priests. He sponsored education of 12 students at Vilnius Theological Seminary and sought to establish Kražiai Theological Seminary, which was accomplished after his death. Giedraitis also invited Jesuits to Kražiai and Bernardines to Kretinga to establish the first monasteries in Samogitia. He supported use of the Lithuanian language and encouraged all priests to use it for sermons. He sponsored Mikalojus Daukša, who published a catechism (1595) and a postil (1599) in the Lithuanian language—the first Lithuanian books printed within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. He also supported Maciej Stryjkowski, author of the first printed history of Lithuania.

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(Lietuvių) Andrius Rudamina SJ, jėzuitų misionierius Kinijoje (1596–1631)

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(Lietuvių) Jurgis Pabrėža, Mažesniųjų brolių ordino (OFM) kunigas, vienuolis (1771 – 1849)

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Motiejus Valančius (1801 – 1875)

Valancius_varniai-museum.lt_Motiejus Valančius was born February 16, 1801, into a well-to-do peasant family in Narsėnai village, Kretinga district. Early in his youth, he had his baptismal records altered to indicate noble birth; the family name was Polonized to Wołonczewski. This practice, not uncommon among prosperous villagers, was a means of providing educational opportunities otherwise denied to peasant children. In 1816 he entered the Dominican school at Žemaičių Kalvarija and six years later began his studies at the Theological Seminary in Varniai. He transferred to the Vilnius Priest Seminary in 1824, from which he graduated in 1828. Ordained a priest that same year, he spent the next six years teaching religion in Belarus. In 1834 he returned to Lithuania to take up a teaching position at the Kražiai secondary school.

In 1840 he was assigned to the Vilnius Theological Seminary, where he lectured in pastoral theology and biblical archaeology and where he earned his doctorate in theology in 1842. That same year on orders of the Tsar, the Academy, it teaching staff and student body, was moved to St. Petersburg, Russia. Valančius came back to Lithuania because of health problems in 1845 and was appointed rector of the Varniai Theological Seminary, serving in this capacity until 1850. Having been absent from Lithuania during the anti-Russian uprising in 1831, Valančius was considered to be relatively apolitical, and thus the Russian government did not object when he was proposed as Episcopal candidate for the see of Samogitia.

He was consecrated bishop in 1850, the first peasant to head over that diocese. Taking up his duties, he guided the diocese for the next 25 years, years of religious, political and social change not only within Samogitia but in Lithuania as a whole. He expanded and improved the Samogitian parochial school network, wrote a many religious books, and in 1858 inaugurated a temperance movement, which grew to encompass nearly a million members, almost half of the county’s population. he also wrote first Lithuanian language history of Samogitian diocese, that has not lost its scientific value until nowadays.

His pastoral and educational work was interrupted by the uprising of 1863–1864 and was made extremely difficult as the Russian government tightened its reins after the collapse of the revolt. Yet these circumstances did not prevent him from following a course which could not but bring him into direct conflict with the authorities. He made every effort to undermine the government’s scheme of Russification. In 1874 Valančius fell ill and died in Kaunas on May 29, 1875. He was interred in the crypt of the Kaunas Cathedral Basilica.

He services to the Lithuanian cause were lasting and important. His opposition to the Russian government and the tactics he employed in resisting its policies, particularly Lithuanian press ban. He sponsored the illegal practice of printing Lithuanian books in East Prussia and smuggling them into Lithuania by knygnešiai, served to stimulate the emergence of the Lithuanian national movement. An educator, and able Church administrator, historian and ethnographer, and a talented writer, Valančius emerges as one of the most versatile and influential figures in the 19th century Lithuania.

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(Lietuvių) Benediktas Andriuška SJ, kunigas, jėzuitas (1884-1951)

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(Lietuvių) Pranciškus Masilionis SJ, kunigas, jėzuitas (1902-1980)

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Rev. Juozas Zdebskis (1929-1986)

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(Lietuvių) Julijonas Steponavičius, Vilniaus arkivyskupas, tremtinys (1911-1991)

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(Lietuvių) Vincentas Sladkevičius MIC, Lietuvos kardinolas (1920-2000)

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(Lietuvių) Pranciškus Tamulevičius, kunigas, monsinjoras (1923 – 2006)

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