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The Church of Saint Mary’s Scapular stands in Druskininkai town. It dominated the resort’s historical silhouette during the third decade of the 20th century and is the only Catholic shrine in the town up to this day. Services are held in Lithuanian and Polish.
Interestingly, the Church of Saint Mary’s Scapular was built in place of the old brick chapel. The latter was built in the resort in 1842–1844 and it is believed that the author of the chapel may have been one of the architects of the Governorate of Grodno. Tsarist authorities refused to appoint a priest to Druskininkai, therefore services were held by the vicar of Ratnyčia. A priest was appointed only in 1879. The current brick church was built in 1912–1931 according to the project of architect Stefanas Šileris. Constructions of the church were initiated by parish pastor Boleslovas Valejka. A parish was established in 1921. The old church was demolished in 1931.
The church of Druskininkai has neo-Gothic forms, red brick structure, base made of ashlar stonework, and high pitched roofs covered with tiles. The main facade of the object (non-canonically) faces the north. The church is of hall volume, three-naved, forming a shorter section with a three-sided apse and single tower. The presbytery is long and slightly lower than the naves, its western side has a chapel, while its eastern side holds a sacristy. The northern facade is mostly distinguished by its three-tier tower, the bottom of which incorporates a wide pointed arch portal surrounded by rows of brick steps, and the upper tier of which is decorative with a pinnacle. The side facades have a highlighted nave section divided by large pointed arch windows and light abutments between them. The churchyard has no fence.
The church is associated with numerous famous figures who influenced the political, cultural and public life of the resort Liudvikas Narbutas – one of the leaders of the uprising in 1863 got married in the old church of Druskininkai shortly before he was killed. At the time, priest Juzefas Majevskis actively fought against Tsarism and was later exiled to Tobolsk for his activities. In 1906, K. Čiurlionis (the father of M. K. Čiurlionio) was the organist of the church. It is said that the new church of Druskininkai was favoured by the Marshal of Poland J. Pilsudskis. The church of Druskininkai had a different aura during the post-war period, when priest Juozas Vaičiūnas came here from Vilnius. The priest who was transferred to Druskininkai against his will also “brought with him” all of his experiences of life in Vilnius. The rectory site was often used by linguist Juozas Balčikonis, Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas, bibliographer Vladas Abramavičius, sculptor Rapolas Jakimavičius and many other well-known Lithuanian figures.
In 1991, a 4.5 m high sculpture of Blessed Christ was built in the facade of the church.
- Viltė Migonytė, autc.lt