The Kretinga Orthodox Church of St. Vladimir

Coordinates: 55.888756 21.241752

Object address: Rotušės Square, Kretinga, Lithuania

Municipality: Kretinga district

Priest Vladimiras Jurevičius took initiative and organised the construction of the church in 1875. The project for the brick church was approved in 1870 and the author was architect Samoilovas. The Kretinga Orthodox Church of St. Vladimir used to stand in the centre of the Kretinga Market Square (present day City Hall Square) from 1875 until 1927.

The church building was a typical Byzantine-style structure built from bricks and plaster. It had enough room for 400 people. Five onion domes (4 small, 1 large) were placed on the roof of the church. The roof was also supplemented by a belfry and gold-coated crosses. A set of bells from a bell casting workshop in Valday city was brought in by merchant L. Usačiov in 1876.

The church was renovated in 1883 and sometime during the 20th century. During the first reconstruction, Rudolf Imer, a Prussian citizen, worked on the exterior of the church.

The church was surrounded by a row of various broadleaved trees and a wooden fence with brick columns. The fence was built by Mortfejus Rabinovičius, a Kaunas-based merchant, in 1879.

From 1915 to 1920, the Kretinga Orthodox Church of St. Vladimir was used for German military purposes. The building was eventually abandoned because the Orthodox community dispersed and services were no longer held there. In 1926, the Ministry of Internal Affairs organised a public auction to sell the church building.

In 1931, a monument was built and unveiled in its place. The monument commemorated the ten year anniversary of the restoration of Lithuania’s independence. When the Kretinga Orthodox church was demolished, the Orthodox community (96 believes registered in 1927) had only one option – the St. Eleuterus Chapel in the Old Kretinga Orthodox Cemetery. In 1976, the Kretinga Philian Orthodox Church was unregistered.

The Kretinga Museum has recently organised archaeological explorations. In 2003, archaeologists dug up fragments of the foundations of the former Orthodox church (specifically, brick structures and individual boulders) in the southern part of City Hall Square, approximately 0.85-1.00 metre below the surface of the earth.

Source: Kretingos enciklopedija

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