C. Bishop Matthias III Casimir Valancius (al. Wolonczewski, 1801-1875) is one of the most prominent personalities of Lithuanias past. He distinguished himself by the variety and immensity of activities in his struggle against Russification attempts in Lithuania 100-150 years ago.
In a nutshell: born 1801 in a 10 children farmers family, priest 1828, high school teacher 1828-1840, prof. At Academia Ecclesiastica in Vilnius and St. Petersburg 1840-1845, rector of the diocesan priests seminary 1845-1849, author of 2 vol. Hist. Work The diocese Samogitias 1848, preconuzed by Pope Pius IX to Episcopus Ordinarius Samogitae 1849, consecr. 1850. In 25 yrs. (1850-1875) of his distinguished administration of the diocese (1 mil. people, 700 priests, 529 churches and chapels), besides pastoral duties, he produced: ca. 15.000 letters to officials, teachers, priests a. p., ca. 70 books, incl. Writtings of prose and poetry, founded ca. 200 priv. Par. Schools, promoted massive adult education and achieved ca. 90 % participation of the whole population in his relig. temperance brotherhoods.
After unsuccessful insurgence (1863) and compl. Suppression of all natl. liberties, Matthias III organized wide net of underground schools, fellowships, cells for illegal press distribution, negotiated with authorities, incl. Czar. Alex. II, and wisley led Lithuanian nations resistance against Russian appression, In 1864 he was transferred and put into police custody. 1864/1865 he lost 15 % (incl. 1 % killed) of his priests and was accuded of treason homself, etc. etc. Matthias III, a giant of his time, died may 17, 1875 and was buried beneath R. C. Cathedral in Kaunas, Lithuania.
From the book Zemaiciu didysis (author Grigas Valancius). Brooklyn, 1978.
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