the hill of crosses

The Jurgaiciai mound, the so called Hill of Crosses, is situated 12 kilometers from Siauliai – Riga highway and railway. Local people refer to it us the Hill of Prayers, Begging, Castle, Sventakalnis, and Pilius. It is believed, that there once stood a castle, which was called Kule, or Kulan, which was burnt together with three other castles by the Swordsmen in 1348. Most likely, the name of the castle comes from the name of Kulpe river, which runs nearby. The crosses were fiirst mentioned in written chronicles in 1850, though most often there are appearance is related with the suppression and repression of the rebellion of 1831. This is what the famous historian L. Krzywicki was told at the end of the XIX century by local people. At that time were 130 crosses on the hill and a brick chapel.
In the beginning of the XX century, the Hill of Crosses was already a well known place; in addition to visits from many people, it was allso a site for masses and religious festivals. The Soviet government considered the crosses and the hill to be a hostile symbol. In 1961, for this reason, they started to destroy the Hill of Crosses. But each time the hill was to

orn down (four total) the crosses would reappear. In 1988, with the fresh wind of revival, the Hill of Crosses gained a different status. At this time, it became both a Lithuanian and world phenomenon. Today, there are over 50.000 crosses, statuettes, pictures of saints, and poles with the statuettes, many adorned with numerous rosaries. The hill is decorated with beautiful ornament of crosses. People of all faiths and nationalities visit the hill to find peace, and to be head by God.

The Hill of crosses is a real shrine of spirit, and a unique cultural and historic monument. The Hill of Crosses is a living of silent witness to wars, occupations, exiles, repressions and other disasters. The fates of the earth and itts people, nations and nature appear to combine together into a mighty anthem, which echoes the words of love and respect, said by the Pope John Paul II in 1990 in Rome:” The nation which climbs the Hill with such tenacity and piety to put a new cross, believes in life and resurrection”. And what was once miraculous, has happened. After long decades of occupation, Lithuania has regained its freedom and independence. The nation started seeking a revival with difficulties, but ve
ery persistently pursued its goal. After three years on 7 September, 1993 an honorable guest, the Pope, finally visited the Hill of Crosses. Here, in Lithuanian Golgotha, hundreds of thousands of people coming from different countries felt majestic and indefinable peacefulness and God’s blessings.

After the year the Hill of Crosses received a valuable present from Pope – a Crucifix. The glance of the Christ tells us to think of the mysteries and meaning of the Cross. In the past, present and future, the Cross will continue to be a part of man’s life. “Ave Crux!”- “Welcome Cross!” – not a symbol of grief and death, but a symbol of Faith, Love and Sacrifice!

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