Find out more

In 1659 and 1710, the monastery was robbed and ravaged by the Swedish army. Sapiega family repaired the buildings, as well as renewed the high altar. It is believed that sculptor and painter Jokimas Dobročinskis contributed to the interior finish of the church. Many monks died during the Great Samogitian plague. They were saved from starvation by owners of the estate who provided them with bread.


The church was rebuilt in 1907–1912 according to the project of Krakow-based architect and restorer Slavomiras Odživolskis. Two side naves were added and a transept with ornate pediments was built. A new wooden tower with four small side towers was erected above the transept. Priest Antanas Bizauskas who was ordained a monk in 1912 revived the monastery and the monkhood province. Monks managed a gymnasium and educated the youth.


The monastery was closed down by the Soviet government on 26 July 1940, at the beginning of the Lithuanian occupation. A fire broke out in Kretinga on 26 June 1941 which significantly damaged the church and the monastery buildings. In 1949, the Soviet government confiscated the property of the church and restricted its activities.


The church was repaired in 1950. In 1982, its tower which was demolished during World War II was rebuilt and the fence of the churchyard was repaired under the care of parson Bronislovas Burneikis. After establishing a foundry, the parson and chancellor of Telšiai Diocese made 3 bells which were lifted onto the church tower.


The church has features of the Gothic and Renaissance periods and basilica style with a semi-circular chapel and a high tower. Its interior includes three naves and 7 Baroque altars. Burials of nobles with their memorial plaques and coats of arms can be found under the church. The churchyard is surrounded by a brick fence. Nearby, there is a small old cemetery also surrounded by a brick fence.


Central and sacristy doors of the church are decorated with the carvings and coats of arms of its founders. The pulpit is decorated with sculptures.


The high altar is a significant treasure of the church. It is the highest wooden altar in Lithuania made entirely of wood, without any stone or concrete. The altar is 16 m high and 8 m wide with a two-storey composition. It includes 21 sculptures. In 2004–2008, the high altar underwent a renovation which cost almost half a million litas provided from the state budget.


The church displays the oldest known church organ in Lithuania. The first known location of the organ was Gintališkė Church of St. Matthew the Apostle and Evangelist. It is believed that even then the organ was not new. The organ that was once made by Königsberg or Curonia masters was repaired and remade, and the year 1744 was written on its prospectus.