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Kaunas Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Resurrection Basilica

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Žemaičių g. 31A, Kaunas
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A monument to Lithuanian statehood is just one of the many picturesque epithets used to describe the Kaunas Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Resurrection Basilica. Its cornerstone was brought here from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and was sanctified in 1934. The church itself was finally consecrated 70 years later.

As many as 15 designs were submitted in the architectural contest to design the church, which is located on the site of a former marketplace in Žaliakalnis. The ideas of the winners of the first two places couldn’t be realised, and so the project was taken over by Karolis Reisonas (Kārlis Reisons). One of the ideas, reminiscent of the painting of M. K. Čiurlionis, suggested an open spiral, 86 metre staircase as the main accent of the building. The topic raised a lot of discussions amongst the members of society—after all, the entire nation financed this church. And so finally construction began to the forth, a Reisonas’ (Reisons’) rational design resolved by generalised volumes. By the way, did you know that the protestant Latvian architect became a Catholic for this project?

The construction of a symbol of an independent, strong and united Lithuania was terminated by the war and the Soviet occupation. A radio factory operated inside the building for about 50 years until the restoration of independence when it was extended, completed and returned to its original purpose, something that added to the building’s meaning. The first Mass was held here in 1997, and a solemn consecration took place in 2004.

Today it’s one of the most visited churches in Kaunas. Because of its rooftop terrace (among other things), which offers a breathtaking view of Kaunas, this church attracts much attention from the foreign media and tourists. In 2015, the European Commission awarded 44 objects of Modernist interwar architecture in Kaunas the European Heritage Label, among them this monumental building.

Another interesting fact is that in 1923, just 400 metres from the future basilica, the Minor Church of the Resurrection of Christ was built on Aukštaičių Street. In 1933 this wooden church was reconstructed and strengthened with stone to a design by none other than Karolis Reisonas (Kārlis Reisons). The church that became a temporary temple became especially significant during the years of war and occupation. Mass takes place at this church every day. A memorial plaque to President Valdas Adamkus, who served here whilst studying at the Jonas Jablonskis Elementary School, hangs on the wall.

Kaunas Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Resurrection Basilica

Žemaičių g. 31A, Kaunas

A monument to Lithuanian statehood is just one of the many picturesque epithets used to describe the Kaunas Our Lord Jesus Christ’s Resurrection Basilica. Its cornerstone was brought here from the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and was sanctified in 1934. The church itself was finally consecrated 70 years later.

As many as 15 designs were submitted in the architectural contest to design the church, which is located on the site of a former marketplace in Žaliakalnis. The ideas of the winners of the first two places couldn’t be realised, and so the project was taken over by Karolis Reisonas (Kārlis Reisons). One of the ideas, reminiscent of the painting of M. K. Čiurlionis, suggested an open spiral, 86 metre staircase as the main accent of the building. The topic raised a lot of discussions amongst the members of society—after all, the entire nation financed this church. And so finally construction began to the forth, a Reisonas’ (Reisons’) rational design resolved by generalised volumes. By the way, did you know that the protestant Latvian architect became a Catholic for this project?

The construction of a symbol of an independent, strong and united Lithuania was terminated by the war and the Soviet occupation. A radio factory operated inside the building for about 50 years until the restoration of independence when it was extended, completed and returned to its original purpose, something that added to the building’s meaning. The first Mass was held here in 1997, and a solemn consecration took place in 2004.

Today it’s one of the most visited churches in Kaunas. Because of its rooftop terrace (among other things), which offers a breathtaking view of Kaunas, this church attracts much attention from the foreign media and tourists. In 2015, the European Commission awarded 44 objects of Modernist interwar architecture in Kaunas the European Heritage Label, among them this monumental building.

Another interesting fact is that in 1923, just 400 metres from the future basilica, the Minor Church of the Resurrection of Christ was built on Aukštaičių Street. In 1933 this wooden church was reconstructed and strengthened with stone to a design by none other than Karolis Reisonas (Kārlis Reisons). The church that became a temporary temple became especially significant during the years of war and occupation. Mass takes place at this church every day. A memorial plaque to President Valdas Adamkus, who served here whilst studying at the Jonas Jablonskis Elementary School, hangs on the wall.

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