• July 22, 2017
  • 389

Dariusz Lewicki: Devastation of the sacred Church of Divine Providence in Vilnius

The sad message swept the Temple of the Lord on the Good Council – the relief of the “Eye of Divine Providence”, which had more than 100 years, in the second half of July this year was repclaed with new, beautiful creation made of metal. The parish priest, Edmundas Paulionis, is the initiator of the deed, quietly but efficiently depriving the “little things”.

Similar “miracles” happen in Vilnius churches once again. As an example may be the situation of November 2016, when the editorial staff of Kurier Wileński was informed by the reader, who told us that from the chapel of the Gate of Dawn left two loaded trucks, which loaded everything that was in the so-called. a vault adjoining the Ostrobramska chapel. Pastor Kęstutis Latoža assured that in the vault were accumulated objects, of which 90 percent. did not have any value. More.

The question then arises: what is the value of an object, how is it determined, and whether every human being understands this term equally? The answer lies at the foot of the events of the last two years of the parish of The Holiest Heart of Jesus Church of Divine Providence in Vilnius. In the summer of 2015 the parish priest of the church in question was well-received among the Catholics of Fr. Edmundas Paulionis. In order to bring forth new ideas and contribute to the restoration of the house of God (although the overhaul was made in 2013 by the initiator of Rev. Valentinas Šiuš, Rev. Fr. E. Paulionis decided to give back to the beginning of the twentieth century, the tabernacle for renovation. It was a paradox that the Department of Cultural Heritage (DDK) did not know about it, although the priest was obliged to notify and agree with the institution subject to the Lithuanian State prior to commencement of work. The discrepancy between the theory and the practice of monument protection in Lithuania was commemorated in an article by journalist Małgorzata Kozich. WięcejStara relikwia „Oko Opatrzności Bożej”:


The anxious parishioners whispered among themselves about the parishioners’ strange behavior, but no one dared oppose it, and the matter was completely silenced when the “tabernacle” was restored to its place. No attention was paid and no question was asked as to whether this was the original because it was almost identical in Neo-Gothic style.

Three months after the incident, only on the list of state-protected cultural heritage objects (lit. kultūros vertybių registras), corrections were made, the photophixing of the interjer and the eccentricity of the church was made. The “tedious” job did not bring much benefit because the DDK employees had done it hastily, bypassing what is in the rectory’s cottage, in the storeroom near the church, and vaguely inside the temple.

Seeing the inaccuracies of the circumstances discussed, he decided to fix it. I am Dariusz Lewicki, a member of the Social Care Committee for Old Ross, a master of monuments and cultural heritage, and privately the parishioners of the Church of Divine Providence. In the years 2013-2014 I conducted scientific research in this temple. Due to the strict volume of the dissertation I could not examine all the devotionalists, so I sought to analyze in a deeper way what would have resulted in monographs in the future. At the end of June this year, from parish priest Edmundas Paulionis, I received permission for further research, which I used twice in July. Unfortunately, my third visit to the church was to erase all my aspirations and goals. Well, the altar servant changed his mind unexpectedly and in a quiet, calm voice he let me know that I would not be photographing “low-priced” objects. He strode lightly to the altar and gestured with his hand on the metallic, gold-plated, glittering and glittering relief of the Eye of Divine Providence. He added: “It is worth the attention, and those” sticks … “. When asked about the reliquary, the priest said: “All valuable things are donated to the Sacred Heritage Museum, including the relics,” and, as far as the catafalque is concerned, “it will be deported because it is a low-priced object.”

Visible over the altar is the new “Eye of Divine Providence”:

At this point, there are two different opinions: one is based only on aesthetic experiences and the desire to perpetuate one’s view and leave a trace in new religious works, while the other is based on scientific knowledge, guided by “dry” theory, and with good research practice.

I dare to say that the pastor turning the old relief into a new one simply or intentionally, devastated the Sacrum of this church. I use the word Sacrum because it comes from the Latin word sacer and means anything sacred, divine and sublime. Precisely these basic things were taught by the guardians of the “Heart of Jesus House,” which acted next to the Church of Divine Providence in 1907-1939 and was intended for a poor, orphaned child under the care of Fr. the canon of Karol Lubienc and the Salesian Order. There were workshops in the protection of the craftsmen, so that when they left the orphanage, his children were acquainted with the performance of some useful crafts. Historical studies and analysis of individual sacred art studies have confirmed the assumption that the bulk of the inventory in 1961 was transferred from the destroyed church of the Blessed Sacrament. The heart of Jesus at Pohulance (architect Antoni Wiwulski), but a lot of things for the church were performed by the disciples of “Heart of Jesus” and they survived to this day in this “native” church. Among them was a relief, “Eye of Divine Providence,” made of wood and cardboard. I regret the ecclesiastical decision of the parish priest. If the priest was merely demonstrating the “beautification” of the temple, then “not all gold is shining.” Gold-plated metal will never match the fervor, dedication and effort of the “smallest” who, together with skilled craftsmen, eye and other artwork. In 1944, the Polish ethnographer Maria Znamierowska-Pruferow noted, “And this poor church has some stray charm in it. It stands on a hill, is slim and seems to have some movement elements. And the interior reminds me of some banal, childish sweetened crib, in which everything is made of wood, paper and cardboard, and yet it is clean, colorful, fresh and touches with its naive content. ”

19 lipca tego roku miałem spotkanie z malarką, dyrektor Muzeum Dziedzictwa Sakralnego Sigitą Maslauskaitė-Mažylienė, która potwierdziła, że ks. Edmundas Paulionis z kościoła Opatrzności Bożej w Wilnie żadnych dewocjonaliów dla muzeum nie przekazywał. Ostatni oficjalny przekaz miał miejsce w 2001 r., gdy funkcję proboszcza pełnił ks. Gintaras Petronis. W tamtych czasach do muzeum trafiły dwa krzyże, jedna monstrancja, dwie puszki liturgiczne, pięć kielichów, dwie ampułki dla wody, tyle samo wiatyków oraz szata liturgiczna – alba. Sakralne przedmioty datowane od końca XIX wieku do pierwszej połowy XX-go.

Nie wiem, jak mam rozumieć odpowiedź ks. proboszcz Edmundasa Paulionisa: czy wówczas skłamał o relikwiarzach, czy z jakiegoś powodu nie chciał ich dla mnie ujawnić?

Wkrótce zawiadomiłem także dyrektor Departamentu Dziedzictwa Kulturowego Dianę Varnaitė mając na celu zwrócić uwagę instytucję państwową na powstały problem oraz z domaganiem się, aby pracownicy instytucji naprawili niedociągnięcia w sprawie ponownego przejrzenia inwentarza omawianego kościoła i zinwentaryzowali to, co zostało przez nich nieuwzględnione, poza tym częściowo przejęli odpowiedzialność za los i nadzór nad budynkiem sakralnym.

New “Eye of Divine Providence” (July 2017):

I hope the case will move forward in the near future. Still, the question arises – will the ancient “Eye of Divine Providence” return to its former place, or will the future good heritage of the Good Council be preserved for future generations? Or maybe it’s another one, as is often the case in our country, trying to fight windmills …

Member of the Social Care Committee for Old Ross,
Dariusz Lewicki

The editorial office of the zw.lt is not responsible for the contents of the publications submitted by the Readers.

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

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