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Klaipėda Evangelical Baptist Church

Koordinatės: 55.711495, 21.128177
Objekto adresas: Vytauto Street 38, Klaipeda, Lithuania
Savivaldybė: Klaipeda

Baptists are the advocates of the radical Reformation that flourished in Switzerland, South Germany, Alsace, Holland and other places. Baptists in Lithuania have been known since the mid. 19th c., while the community of the Evangelical Baptist Church in Klaipėda was founded in 1841. Since the beginning it was led by Eduardas Grimas, a carpenter, born in Klaipėda, who found his calling while he was working in Switzerland. On 3 October 1841 he invited one of the Baptist leaders Johann Gerhard Onken from Germany, who baptised the first 25 members of the Baptist community in Dangė River and the Curonian Lagoon. The community was prohibited and prosecuted at first, but their ranks kept growing. At the beginning it mostly consisted of Germans, but 10 years later it was joined by local Lithuanians as well. When the community reached 200 members, it was decided to build a new house of worship. The land plot for the new church was donated by Karolis Degimas. He bought two adjacent plots in the square of the old city cemetery. The city authorities didn't let them to build a Gothic church, so it was decorated with semi-circular arched windows. The bricks and roof tiles were brought from Szczecin. The church was consecrated on 12 October 1851. At that time the community consisted of 234 members.
The attitude towards Baptists in Klaipėda had really changed after the Great Fire of 1854. The Baptist Church that survived the fire opened up for the citizens, providing a temporary shelter for the school, as well as hosting masses not only for Baptists, but also other confessional communities every Sunday. On 2 September 1860 the church hosted the baptising ceremony for a group of believers that came from Latvia. This date is referred to as the beginning of the Latvian baptist communities. The church was renovated in 1876 and had undergone more serious reconstruction works in 1928. The entrance to the church was decorated with an inscription: “Artinkitės prie Dievo, ir jis artinsis prie jūsų” (Eng. “Get closer to the God and He will get closer to you”).
At first, the Baptist community mostly consisted of Germans, but later, especially during the Interwar period, it was joined by more and more Lithuanians. In 1944 the community's activity was terminated and the majority of the members moved to Germany. During the soviet era the premises of the former church were used as a marine club, then a warehouse and eventually the building was abandoned until the establishment of the Teacher's House. For more than 30 years the members of the Baptist community gathered for prayer in an old fisherman's house on Jurbarko Street 43, in the outskirts of the city. The community was officially re-registered only in 1977. The Evangelical Baptists of Klaipėda regained their house of worship in 1991.
Every Sunday Klaipėda Evangelical Baptist Church gathers two groups of believers. The mass in Russian language takes place in the morning, while the mass in Lithuanian language – later. Currently the Baptist community of Klaipėda unites about 80 members. The second floor of the church is rented out for the needs of the Free Christians. In the church there is also the Veranda art school, where the children of the community can learn to draw and participate at summer camps.
Klaipėda Evangelical Baptist Church is the oldest functioning building of the Baptist church in Europe.

Submitted: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I.Simonaitytės biblioteka | http://www.klavb.lt/lt/

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  • Description:

    Klaipėdos baptistų bažnyčia : [skaitmeninė nuotrauka] / Laurencija Budrytė-Ausiejienė. - Klaipėda, 2017.10.01. - 1 vaizdas

    Source: Laurencijos Budrytės-Ausiejienės asmeninis archyvas

    Publisher: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I. Simonaitytės biblioteka

    Contributor: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I. Simonaitytės biblioteka

    Type / format: Skaitmeninė nuotrauka / jpg

    Klaipėdos baptistų bažnyčia
  • Description:

    Klaipėdos baptistų bažnyčia : [skaitmeninė nuotrauka] / Laurencija Budrytė-Ausiejienė. - Klaipėda, 2017. - 1 vaizdas

    Source: Laurencijos Budrytės-Ausiejienės asmeninis archyvas

    Publisher: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I. Simonaitytės biblioteka

    Contributor: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I. Simonaitytės biblioteka

    Type / format: Skaitmeninė nuotrauka / jpg

    Klaipėdos baptistų bažnyčia
  • Description:

    Klaipėdos baptistų bažnyčios vidus : [skaitmeninė nuotrauka] / Laurencija Budrytė-Ausiejienė. - Klaipėda, 2017. - 1 vaizdas

    Source: Laurencijos Budrytės-Ausiejienės asmeninis archyvas

    Publisher: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I. Simonaitytės biblioteka

    Contributor: Klaipėdos apskrities viešoji I. Simonaitytės biblioteka

    Type / format: Skaitmeninė nuotrauka / jpg

    Klaipėdos baptistų bažnyčios vidus