• February 24, 2015
  • 269

Žilvinas Radavičius appeals to the government to help with the restoration of the organs in the St. Bernard Church

The community activist, historian, and educationist, Žilvinas Radavičius, wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius with the request to receive state funds for the renovation of the antique organs in the Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard in Vilnius. Two years ago, thanks to the efforts of the multicultural and multinational Rodowicz (Radavičius) family, to which, among others, a famous Polish singer Maryla Rodowicz belongs, the St. Didacus altar in the St. Bernard Church was renovated.

The renovation works in the historic Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard has been conducted since 2005. Thanks to the involvement of the Lithuanian Royal Nobility Association, stained glass windows have been renovated. Rodowicz and Radavičius family, which has been bound with that church for generations, decided to finance the renovation of the St. Didacus altar. In 2009, one part of the altar was renovated; one year later, a wooden angel was restored; in 2013, on the other hand, the ceremonial unveiling of the fully restored altar with the picture of St. Didacus took place.

These facts were reminded by Žilvinas Radavičius in the letter to the Prime Minister of the Lithuanian government. The community activist asked Algirdas Butkevičius for the funds for the restoration of the organs. Initially, the restoration is estimated to cost one million euro. “I understand that it is a large amount of money for Lithuania, which came out of the economic crisis; therefore, if there is no way to receive all the money at once, I ask to divide it into installments. Please, consider this request, since there should be no doubt about the great importance of the church for the history, culture, architecture and the art of our revived country. The renovation of this place should be the matter of honour of every self-respecting citizen of Lithuania” – he wrote in an open letter to the Prime Minister.

The Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard in Vilnius was erected in 1469 by the Franciscans from the Cracovian St. Bernardine of Siena Church. The splendid, late Gothic temple was lively before the Second World War. The largest processions were organized in the St. Bernard Church. There was the biggest church treasury in Vilnius. The famous “Hasło” chorus was conducted by prof. Jan Żebrowski – one of the few Polish members of the intelligentsia, who did not leave Vilnius after the war. In 1949, the Soviet authorities closed the church. The interior was completely wrecked. The beautiful and valuable paintings were transported away. The treasury was plundered; the unique, made from maple baroque altars were disassembled; the antique organs were demolished. Only in 1994, the church was given to the Franciscans, who started to restore it.

Based on: vilnius-tourism.lt, inf.wł.

Translated by Tomasz Szatkowski within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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