• June 22, 2017
  • 191

Headless Angel in the Bernardine cemetery, part 2.

As it has been mentioned some time ago, the sculpture of an angel in the Bernardine cemetery in Vilnius has been damaged. On 1st of July Miss Jadwiga Pietkiewicz, who was taking care of cemeteries in Vilnius and has been reading ‘Kurier Wilenski’ for ages, informed us about the situation. The sculpture called ‘Peace’ is situated near the main cemetery gate. The tombstone of the couple Adela and Stanisław Marenicz, made by L.B. Lubonowski, has not been devastated for the first time.


– Angel’s head was on the floor, completely broken. I can’t think of any reason why did it happen. My opinion is that wrecking the graves is mainly to get rid of any signs of Polish culture from this cemetery.- claims Ms. Pietkiewicz. She has also informed Polish Embassy in Vilnius about it. Stanisław Cygnarowski, consul general of the Republic of Poland in Vilnius, went for the cemetery at the same day he has found out.


– I went there right after it happened and took some pictures. I could see angel’s head lying by the vertical piece of the grave. There was also a thick branch on it, which makes me think it could possibly break the statue. However, I cannot tell if it was the vandalism act or just the wind has broken the branch, which caused the damage. I haven’t caught anyone. We’ve written the letter to director of the department in the local council, who deals with the culture issues – said Stanisław Cygarowski.


Rasa Ražanskienė, the head of the environmental order department in the local government said in the interview with ‘Kurier Wilenski’ that first days of June were very windy. That therefore caused a lot of damages on Bernardine cemetery. – The branches have been broken. One of them has probably hit the angel’s head and broke it when fell down. The head is now kept in the Bernardine Chappel. The grave will be fixed as soon as the public procurement’s procedures end.- claims Rasa Ražanskienė.

The sulpture ‘Peace’, by Lubonowski, was made at the beginning of the previous century. This ornament on the grave of Stanisław (1858- 1913) and Adela Marenicz. He used to be a famous doctor and a social activist. He was born in Warsaw and moved out to Vilnius as a military doctor. Stanisław also worked in Antokol, was a member of the Vilnius Doctors’ Association, President of the association fighting with tuberculosi in Vilnius, and his grave, situated opposite to Michał Lande’s grave, is considered as the most magnificent one on the cemetery.

-Jadwiga Pietkiewicz was complaining about the acts of vandalism on the cemetery- The angel has already got new wings and a hand. The previous once were broken by vandals few years ago. Today, the sculpture which survived two wars has been damaged.

She is disappointed in fact that no one is trying to protect Vilnius necropolis. In addition, the old age fence is partially damaged, so there are some places where everyone possibly could get into at every time. –My uncle used to look after this place, and the rector of Benedictin Church, canon Jan Kretowicz, was in charge. The cemetery looked beautiful at that time. There was a proper solid fence and plenty of flowers blooming by the illuminated alleys. There was also a pole with the instructions for people visiting this place. This is such a shame that City doesn’t look after this antique place properly. There is no single camera over there.

The representative of the local government has underlined that installation of the CCTV in the Berardine Cemetery is not being planned at the moment. There are many generation buried including some deserved characters, like famous Józef and Stanisław Jundziłło, literary critic Leon Borowski, mathematician Franciszek Narwojsz, painter Kanuty Rusiecki, father of Vilnius photography Józef Czechowicz, photographer Stanisław Filibert Fleury, Władysław Zahorski, who was historian, doctor, as well as an author of the famous guide on Vilnius, and many more. The Bernardian cemetery is on the list of one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Europe.

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

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