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Plungė Church Belfry
Koordinatės: 55.91329607766908, 21.83954808465569 Objekto adresas: Vytauto street 32, Plunge, Lithuania Savivaldybė: Bezirk Plunge
In the 1850 Visitation Act of the Church of Plungė, written by bishop Motiejus Valančius, it states: “In place of the old wooden belfry, a new, brick three-stage belfry has been built last summer. It was funded by His Majesty Count Aleksandras Zubovas, the successor of the town of Plungė. His Majesty Leonas Studzinskis initiated the project. A small dome, covered in tin, is built on the painted shingle roof and on top of it stands a metal cross with balls that are coated in gold.”
The words last summer leads to believe that the church was constructed in 1849. However, the building indicates the date 1850. The records were composed ca. 1905 and not when the belfry was constructed. Perhaps the reason behind this is that a mistake was made and the date of visitation of bishop M. Valančius was indicated instead, or this is due to the possibility that the construction of the belfry was concluded in 1850.
It is said that interrogator Mykolas Dobševičius read the manifesto regarding the abolition of serfdom from the balcony of the belfry in 1861. In 1937, there were plans to demolish the belfry, so that the street could be widened, but the structure is protected. In 1971, the belfry of the Plungė Church was declared an Architectural Monument of Local Significance by the College of the Ministry of Culture. A local lore museum was established in the belfry in 1982. In 1989, the structure was returned to the Roman Catholic community.
During World War I, the Germans took two bells out of the Plungė belfry. The elderly citizens of Plungė explained that all of the bells in the belfry cracked during the great fire. The parishioners only left the large bell, while the others were transported to the hill side. Therefore, only one bell remained in the belfry, and even that one was cracked. In 2001, at the request of Donatas Stulpinas, a parson from Plungė, four large bells were transported from Germany and gifted by Gerhard Lange, an honorary canon (priest), to be placed into the belfry. The bells are rung several times per day, this way inviting everyone to the church.
Presently, there is a total of 5 bells in the Plungė Belfry. The most valuable bell is the old cracked one, which is no longer in use. It was cast by Jonas Brutenis in Vilnius, 1646. It is believed that the bells, gifted by canon Gerhard Lange in 2001, were cast in Bochum, Germany in 1949.
Sources: Motiejus Valančius Žemaičiuose: Plungės bažnyčios vizitacija 1850 metais / compiled and prepared by D. Kaunas. – Vilnius, 2002. – p. 37.
Plungės dekanato sakralinė architektūra ir dailė / compiled by A. Butrimas et al. – Vilnius: The Vilnius Academy of Arts, 2005. – p. 97–109.
Submitted: Plungės rajono savivaldybės viešoji biblioteka | http://www.plunge.rvb.lt/lt/
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