regained its independence in 1918, and shortly thereafter, in 1922,
an idea gained ground to build a church as a national shrine and
a symbol of gratitude to God for the regained freedom in the city
of Kaunas, then the temporary capital of Lithuania.
An executive committee in charge of construction of the shrine was
formed and the by-laws were registered. The City of Kaunas made
a plot of land available for construction. In that same year, a
design by engineer Karolis Reisonas was chosen for the church as
the best out of many from the competition that was held. The final
design for the church was drawn up and, after approval in 1933,
permission for construction was granted.
The architectural style of the Church is monumental and inspiring.
The interior has a tri-nave, basilica-like rectangular design-69
x26m with a choir loft which also houses the organ. Entrances are
from all sides. At each end of the church are two rectangular towers:
a small one above the central altar and the large one at the main
entrance. The height of the large tower is 70 meters. On its upper
level a chapel of St. Casimir was planned. The height of the main
structure is 26 meters; the dimension of the terrace on the roof
was to have been 45x13 m. The sanctuary has a seating capacity of
700; in total there is space for 5000 people---2000 of these could
be accommodated on the roof terrace. The "Way of the Cross"
was to have been placed on the roof terrace as well.
corner stone for the church, brought from the Olive Mountain in
Jerusalem, was solemnly blessed and placed in the foundation in
1934. The government allocated 145,000 Lt. for the construction;
the rest came from charitable contributions. By 1940 one million
Lt. had been spent on the building. In the spring of 1940, the major
construction work had been accomplished: the interior walls were
covered by plaster, oak frames for the windows were installed, and
wood for the doors was made ready.
Soon after further building tasks had to be suspended due to the
Soviet occupation. The building was confiscated. After the war,
the Soviets housed a radio factory (later called "Banga")
in the uncompleted church. The "Banga" plant reconstructed
the entire building, adapting it to its needs, by constructing three
stories in the side naves and five in the central nave. The crosses
were removed and the chapel demolished.
With the national awakening in 1988, the Lithuanian people started
to clamour for the restitution of the church to the faithful. The
by-laws of the Council on the Restoration of the Shrine (later the
Restoration Council) were registered in 1989. A year later, in 1990,
the LSSR Supreme Council of those days obligated the "Banga"
factory to return the building to the Restoration Council in the
condition that it was when it was appropriated, but the building
was returned as is-- in very bad condition-- and not as it had been
Now some changes have been introduced into the reconstruction design.
Due to subsequent reforms in the liturgical rites, the altars of
the side naves were abandoned; the site of the central altar in
the sanctuary was moved nearer-- between the first and second columns.
In order to be able to use the Shrine also for cultural events,
the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament was planned to be near the Sacristy.
Slanting slabs and an elevator for the disabled are planned near
the side entrance.
Reconstruction work has been hampered due to a lack of funds. Public
donations from 1993-1997 were only sufficient to do the most necessary
work in order to protect the structure from further deterioration.
With additional government support in 1997, reconstruction work
could proceed again at a faster pace.
All in all, 4.5 million Lt. has been spent on reconstruction. At
present, due to the lack of funds, reconstruction has slowed down
once more. To be able to say Mass regularly and to hold cultural
events in the Shrine, eight million Lt. are still needed to complete
Therefore, we call on the good will of the Lithuanian people, scattered
around the world everywhere, who hold dear their country's liberty
and the freedom of their faith to join in another fund-raising to
complete Christ's Resurrection Church. We ask you to be as generous
as your means will allow in order to bring to fulfilment the promise
of our grandparents and our great-grandparents.
May the snowy white cross on the tower of the Church high above
the Green Hill ( Zaliakalnis), raise in our hearts the hope of resurrection
of the Lithuanian nation, and thus strengthen our love and faith.
We thank, in advance, all kind contributors
to the reconstruction of the church. Donations can be sent to the
bank account of the Church Reconstruction Committee:
10002254880 (national currency)
10034297624 (foreign currency)
Hansa Bank of Kaunas Department, Code: 73000.
Honorary Chairman of the Church Reconstruction Committee is Prof.
Vytautas Landsbergis, the first Head of State after re-establishment
of Lithuania's independence in 1990; Chairman of the Church Reconstruction
Committee is Rev. Vytautas Grigaravicius, Dean and Pastor of Christ's
Resurrection Church. The reconstruction project is under the direction
of the architect, Dr. Algimantas Sprindys.
about Church Reconstruction
The small church building