Continuity and discontinuity in the sacral landscape of Lithuania

Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Knygos dalis / Part of the book
Anglų kalba / English
Continuity and discontinuity in the sacral landscape of Lithuania
Mitologija / Mythology; Religija / Religion; Senieji tikėjimai / Old religion.
Summary / Abstract:

LTReikšminiai žodžiai: Christianizacija; Lietuvos Didžioji Kunigaikštystė (LDK; Grand Duchy of Lithuania; GDL); Mitologija; Pokyčiai; Religija; Sakralinis peizažas; Šventa vieta; Changes; Christianization; Mythology; Religion; Sacral landscape; Sacred place; The Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

ENFrom the thirteenth century the authorities driving the crusades in the eastern Baltic strove to Christianize the Prussian, Lithuanian, Livonian, and Estonian tribes. These attempts evolved into a war that lasted for two hundred years and which radically changed the political map, the lands, and the inhabitants along the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. In 1387, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was Christianized by the Polish clergy by the order of the country’s ruler Jogaila. The political situation of Samogitia (the western part of Lithuania) was unstable as it was the focus of an ongoing struggle against the Teutonic Order. In 1413, the inhabitants of Samogitia were officially Christianized by Grand Duke Vytautas. These historical events signify the key moments of the present paper concerning the sacral landscape of Lithuania, which introduces the sacred places of the Balts - sacred and/or cult sites, and discusses the changes of the thirteenth century linked with the rise of the pantheon of deities within the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Since the breaking point was the introduction of Christianity, the paper gives a brief overview of the process and nature of Christianization. Finally, it considers the fate of indigenous sacred places following Christianization and highlights the features of the sacral landscape of the modern period. It should be noted that no clear-cut line between the sacred sites associated with the religious practices of the Balts before and after the official baptism of Lithuania is drawn: with certain reservations, the sites linked to Christian cult practices before the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries can also be treated as a continuation of pre-Christian sacred places, for only around the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries did the attention of church builders turn from the place and its sacredness to the persuasive quality of the building, its exterior, and interior. [Extract, p. 185]

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2022-02-02 19:04:02
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