Lithuania commemorates the 600th anniversary of baptism of Samogitia
2013-01-08 / 15:38 — LRT.lt
Lithuania commemorates the 600th anniversary of baptism of Samogitia, converted to Christianity in the 15th century, as the last in Europe.
Commemoration started with a solemn mass at the Cathedral in Telsiai, considered unofficial capital of Samogitia.
For the celebration, doors of the Cathedral have been decorated with Samogitian baptism story and the crypt reconstructed; as well, Lithuanian Post releases new stamp to commemorate the occasion. Within the framework of the anniversary agenda, representatives of Samogitia also plan visiting Pope Benedict XVI this year.
The region has a long and distinct cultural history, reflected in the Samogitian language. Although it is often called a Lithuanian dialect, Samogitian received the official status of a language in 2010, recognized by SIN International, the organization engaged in language studies.
Numerous attacks of the Teutonic Knights on Somogitia throughout the XIV century were in order to invade and baptise this part of Lithuania. However, despite of all their effort, Samogitians managed to defend their lands until the 1410 decisive battle of Grunwald, where united Polish-Lithuanian forces defeated the Teutonic Order and thus ended their era of crusading.
In 1413, Samogitia was baptized by the Lithuanian Grand Dukes Vytautas and Jogaila; it was the last region in Europe converted to Christianity.
Jonas Boruta, Bishop of Telsiai:
They brought their request for baptism and diocese establishment; also the complaint against the Teutonic Order, insisting on their aversion to be ruled or baptized by it. Instead, they chose Vytautas and Jogaila to manage all the matters.
Algirdas Zebrauskas, Head of the Commemoration Programme:
The Programme of the Commemoration has been developed by the Government. Unfortunately, it is being implemented to only around five percent of the whole, which to my mind is more than strange.