- August 10, 2017
The battle for Vilnius Franciscan monastery
The decision of the Lithuanian Supreme Court on the return of the monastery buildings of the Franciscan monastery in Vilnius, near the Blessed Virgin Mary church in the Sands, was made in spring 2013. The court then ruled that the privatization of the monastery was unlawful.
This year the monastic buildings were finally given back to the Franciscans by a government decision. So far, not all the buildings of the monastery complex located at Krakų 9 / Pranciškonų 1 belong to the Order of Friars Minor Conventuals. The owners of the 7 Fridays bar and the hotel of the same name disregard the decision of the Lithuanian court and the government.
On Wednesday, August 9th, Franciscans, along with the police and bailiffs, entered the bar rooms of the Franciscan monastery complex at Pranciškonų.
‘We are trying to reclaim the buildings that have been illegally occupied by the 7 Fridays restaurant. On March 13th this year, under the decision of the Minister of Finance, the monastery buildings were returned to Franciscans. We cannot accept the fact that there is a place where liquor is sold in the monastery building’ said Marek Adam Dettlaff, the Superior of the Franciscan monastery in Vilnius, in an interview for Kurier Wileński.
At the same day, Arūnas Klybas, co-owner of 7 Fridays, told the Lithuanian media that the Franciscans and the officers unlawfully entered into the premises of the restaurant. He claimed that there was a word agreement between the company and the Franciscans, according to which the premises and the hotel could operate until 1 November.
– It’s a lie. The notification that the lease agreement with the restaurant will not be valid anymore has been sent to the owners on March 27th, however, the statement was not made. In addition, there have been published false information about the alleged use of violence against restaurant employees and that meals for children’s camps have been prepared in the closed restaurant. In fact, the monastery’s representatives did not use any violence. The legal representatives of the Monastery together with the bailiffs described the condition of the premises and the property inside, sealed and handed over to the Pikantiškas maistas company a proposal to take it. It seems like the management of the company to which the premises and the hotel belong are aimed at introducing tension in society’ claims Fr. Adam Dettlaff. He also added that at Wednesday night the unknown perpetrators tried to knock out the windows and get into the monastery premises.
The Lithuanian media depicted the situation in details. Many offensive comments on Franciscans have appeared in social media, some of them were even aggressive.
‘Polish monks won’t tell us how to live! Poles are the prudes of Europe’, ‘I was in Poland, in Wigry once. There is a monastery complex and also a restaurant. So we poured beer in this restaurant and tit didn’t cause any problems. And here they do what they want, the devil seed “- are just some of them.
In the part of the monastery where the restaurant is located, it is planned to open a historical museum and commemorate the patriarch of the Lithuanian people, Jonas Basanavičius, who lived in one of the monastery buildings. The first Lithuanian school which worked in the convent and the first written texts in Lithuanian are also to be commemorated.
– We will also conduct secular activities in the field of culture, education and evangelization in the monastery. We will offer consultations to a number of specialists – psychologist, psychiatrist, oncologist in September. The advice will be available to everyone – pointed out Marek Adam Dettlaff.
Translated by Irmina Myśliwiec within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.