Monument, Dedicated to Jurgis Ambrozijus Pabrėža

Coordinates: 55.891521 21.241780

Object address: Near Vilniaus street 2, Kretinga, Lithuania

Municipality: Kretinga district

The St. George Chapel was built during the reconstruction of the church in 1911. It is believed that the chapel was built using bricks that remained from the construction of the churchyard. A statue of St. George was placed inside the building. The chapel burnt down during a fire in 1941.

On June 26th, 1993, a monument dedicated to Jurgis Ambrozijus Pabrėža (1771-1849), who was a renown Samogitian naturalist, preacher, herbalist, and healer of the body and soul, was unveiled and consecrated in the square (in place of the chapel) that lies in front of the Kretinga Franciscan Monastery in celebration of the 740th anniversary of the first mentioning of the city of Kretinga in the Livonian Chronicle. Algirdas Bosas, a sculptor, and Saulius Manomaitis, an architect, are responsible for the statue.

The location for the statue was chosen at random. However, when searching for the right materials for the statue, Bosas found out that small oak and linden trees were planted in this location in 1921 to commemorate the life of Jurgis Pabrėža. The remains of the old chapel were found during the construction of the statue.

The leaning monument stands on a low hexagon pedestal, which seems as if it has grown into the floor and the wall of the monastery. The statue looks as if it is in the moment of leaving through the heavy wrought iron doors of the monastery. It is a symbolic line, which the statue crosses and freezes. The more distant point of view reveals that the entire silhouette of the statue is in the shape of a bell.

One hand of the statue of J. Pabrėža is holding a handful of plant roots, while the other hand is holding the overground part of the plant. The statue’s hand gesture is reminiscent of the Holy Mass. The following verses from the Holy Scripture, written in Lithuanian and Latin, are found on the chest of the statue: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’.” (Psalm 91). The Tree of Life lies at the back side of the monument. It has grown into architecture, which is reminiscent of the doors found in a church or a sacristy.

The statue is placed on a stone pedestal. The back side foundation depicts the transition from a cobblestone pavement into an even stone footpath. The front part contains three flat-relief surfaces, which tell the story of the life and works of Jurgis Pabrėža. The centre relief shows a monk leaning towards a plant. In the background, there is a silhouette mimicking the monk’s actions, opening the monastery gates, and walking towards old Kretinga – a sea of roofs and a church tower. The relief on the left depicts a monk entering the city and distributing medicinal herbs to the townsfolk. The relief on the right portrays the monk entering a cell for prayer. A figure of Christ hangs on the wall in the corner. The stone wall is overgrown with moss and grass.

Images of the first works of Algirdas Bosas that were dedicated to Jurgis Pabrėža lie at the feet of the statue. They represent the levels of the creative process.

Source: Kretingos enciklopedija

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