VIDENISKIAI

By Rapolas Krasauskas

Videniskiai – village in northeast-ern Lithuania. VideniskiaiThere were 271 inhabitants in 1970 (184 in 1923, 223 in 1959).

In the 13th century the village was part of the historical region of Nalsia, ruled by Prince Daumantas. There are the remains of an artificial mound on which it is believed the Prince had his fortress. The Livonian chronicler Hermann de Wartberge, in writing about the military campaigns of the Teutonic Knights of Livonia against the Nalsia region, describes two of their attacks on the village in 1373 and 1375. During the 15th-17th centuries the estate of the same name as the village belonged to be Giedraitis family of princes. Martynas Giedraitis built the church of St. Laurence in 1618 and settled the Canons Regular there, donating to them some of his lands. Their friary became the main house, the residence of the provincial superior of the Lithuanian congregation a noviciate where the clerics received instruction in philosophy and theology.

A few years before the closing of the friar by the Russian in 1832, it had five priests, several brothers, three novices, and six clerics. In the village there were 239 inhabitants in 1863, 225 in 1897. The church , which has survived to the present, is a single nave structure in the Renaissance style: the presbytery features cylindrical vaults with profiled and ornamented ribbing. The pictures, executed on silver plate, decorating the interior are fine examples of 17th century craftsmanship.

From “ Encyclopedia Lituanica”. Vi. Boston, 1972


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Samogitian Cultural Association Editorial Board, 1998.
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