08 November 2010, 11:09
Patriarch Kirill proposes forming board in charge of Lithuanian poet Donelaitis grave
Moscow, November 8, Interfax - Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has proposed establishing a board of guardians responsible for looking after the burial site of Lithuanian poet and pastor Kristijonas Donelaitis located inside a former Lutheran church in Chistiye Prudy, Kaliningrad Region.
"Regardless of who owns this church legally, it is important to make sure that management functions are concentrated in the hands of people who are not indifferent to the fate of this place," Patriarch Kirill said.
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Kaliningrad Region bishop responded to the Lithuanian authorities' request not to hand over the building currently housing the Donelaitis museum in Chistiye Prudy to the Moscow Patriarchate.
A few days ago, the Kaliningrad Region legislature postponed its debate on plans to transfer the aforementioned church to the Moscow Patriarchate.
It would be right to form "a board of guardians involving the Orthodox Church and our colleagues from Lithuanian - both Protestants and Catholics," Patriarch Kirill said.
"Possible, this place and the board itself could become a platform for serious inter-ethnic and inter-cultural dialogue. It is not uncommon that a site that initially is the center of disputes becomes a place of reconciliation, cooperation and search for common positions," he said.
Patriarch Kirill expressed his gratitude to Kaliningrad Region Governor Nikolay Tsukanov and the local legislature for their decision to hand over 19 religious buildings to the Russian Orthodox Church.
"The Church has never built its well-being or tackled its tasks at the price of someone else's well-being," but has always tried to find solutions that would suit everyone best, he said.
The museum of Lithuanian poet Donelaitis (1714-1780), who wrote the first classic Lithuanian language poem The Seasons, opened at a rebuilt Lutheran church in Chistiye Prudy in 1979. In the spring of 1998, the Donelaitis museum was removed from the list of Russia's key cultural monuments.
After graduating from the University of Koenigsberg in 1740, Donelaitis was appointed a cantor in Stallupoenen (now Nesterov, Kaliningrad Region), where he worked for three years.
Donelaitis lived and served as a pastor in Tollmingkehmen (now Chistiye Prudy) from 1743 to his death in 1780.
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