Details

Keywords Change this

National Style, Modernism, Basilica, Art Deco, National Historic Landmark, Church, Kaunas 2022

Project timeline

1933 – 1940

Type

Religious

Location Change this

Žemaičių Street
44175 Kaunas
Lithuania

Also known as Change this

Resurrection Church

Architect Change this

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Article last edited by Bostjan on
May 29th, 2020

Christ’s Resurrection Church Change this

Kaunas, Lithuania
by Kārlis Reisons Change this

Photo by Lukas Mykolaitis, 2018.

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Description Change this

The most famous and modern sacred building of the interwar period in Lithuania. This church is the most famous and modern sacred building of the interwar period in Lithuania. It was planned to be and always was a symbol of the nation`s rebirth and independence. The idea of ​​building a sanctuary, as a monument for God was announced in 1928. One of the requirements was that the church should display "a Lithuanian character". But the process, which required lots of public discussions and political debates, took a long time. At last, the vision of a monument that would symbolize both the struggle and the rebirth of an entire nation, began to turn into reality. An eminent construction spot was chosen for the occasion – the Žaliakalnis hill was perfectly visible throughout the city and its landscape.

A simplified project by Latvian born architect Kārlis Reisons was chosen for the monument. It was constructed from bricked up reinforced concrete frames. Foundation poles were embedded at a depth of 6.5 m. In 1934, the first cornerstone of the future church was laid down. By 1940, the building was completed up to its 63-meter high tower, but construction stopped because of the outbreak of the war.
The architecture of the building reveals an interaction between conservatism and modernity. The narrow strips of windows that split the flat walls of the sanctuary are meant to reinforce the feeling of progress and a strive to always reach higher. The building has indeed become the dominant landmark within the city’s landscape, with its silhouette somewhat reminiscent of the American stepped-style skyscrapers.

An innovation in the world history of church buildings was the flat roof – a terrace intended for rituals and gatherings. This was considered to be the largest and most modern church in the Baltics. Also the church was originally meant to be illuminated, on the occasions of great Catholic holidays, by a series of strong electric projectors, which would spread their light throughout the wide spaces around the building.
However, it was not fully finished before Lithuania was occupied in 1940. During the Soviet Era, it was turned into a radio factory. In 1988 it was returned to the faithful and rebuilt from 1989 to 2005.

Today, such architectural beacons, well visible from the outskirts of the city, are commonplace to us, but one can only imagine what extraordinary impression it would have been created back then. The Resurrection Church is a symbol of faith and a veritable skyscraper in Kaunas, having successfully survived the strains of time.

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