Wooden church of the Most Holy Virgin Mary – Star of the Seas

In 1929 the Prelate Dr. Jurgis Galdikas, being an inspector and a teacher of Telšiai ecclesiastical seminary, built on the bank of the Šventoji river, in 1,5 km from the forming fishing port, in his sister Monika Kauniene’s estate a wooden church, faced it inside and outside with boards and covered the roof with galvanized metal sheets. The builder himself prepared a sketch of the church design. The church received the name “Stella Maris” – Mary the Star of Seas. The title is reflected in artfully painted picture above the altar. According to local residents, that year there was a strong storm that caught fishers in the sea. Some fishers were drowned, although some of them managed to escape. The fishers who survived, wishing to thank St. Mary for their escape, brought with their barges to Šventoji materials for the church prepared by Klaipeda furniture factories. From Šventoji the materials were brought to the site and used for construction of the church. Due to 12 km distance between Palanga and Šventoji the builder transferred his private church at the disposal of the bishop of Telšiai and allowed to hold services there for the residents of the developing city and suburbs. The church had become a centre of later formed parish in Šventoji. There are two local artistic monuments in the church: an image of St. Kazimieras (end of the XIX c., oil, canvas, unknown author) and a bell (brass) with writing “Mark Ulman, Karaliaučius 1608”. This bell is one of the oldest in our region, it is older than all the bells of the church in Palanga.

Priest Vidmantas Gricius

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