Kruonis Church of Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Angels

The present Catholic church of Kruonis has a sufficient long and complicated history. First of all, this is a rare enough monument of the religious community of Uniates: it was for the needs of that community that prince Theodore Ogiński built a new sanctuary in the first half of the 17th and soon a  Brazilian monastery was built next to it. Later, beginning with 1775, an Orthodox Church was established there for almost half a century – during that period the building acquired features typical of churches of this confession: the tower and the cupola were transformed. It was not until the First World War, in independent Lithuania already, that the building was returned to the Catholic parish.

Though the building retains some elements taken over from the gothic style, first of all it is a renaissance building characteristic of small sanctuaries built in Lithuania at that time. The main entrance is through a decorative portal at the bottom of the three-tier tower. The lower tier of the tower extends the height of the main volume of the church and is separated by the cornice surrounding the whole church. The upper tiers are separated one from another by their forms – the tower ends in an octagonal part and a small cupola. Unlike catholic churches, the widening altar part of the church is not a transept; it is annexes of the chapel. The element characteristic of Orthodox churches is the cupola rising above this part of the church. The three-wall apse completes the church.

Though the interior of the one-nave church is comparatively simple, it reflects the renaissance period quite well. Both decorative groined ribs and cruciform annual vaults with lunettes can be seen in the sanctuary space. Architectural historians indicate that the pointed arch supporting the cupola in this church is perhaps the main accent taken over from the gothic period. Most probably the most valuable elements of the interior are epitaphic tombstones embedded in the sacristy wall – the renaissance one for Theodore Ogiński and the later one bearing baroque features is dedicated to his son.


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