Find out more

The first wooden church was built in 1509 by the Samogitian elder Mikalojus Kęsgaila. In the act of donation of 21 May 1509, he vowed to forever provide Švėkšna Church with as much land from Švėkšna manor estate as is necessary for sowing 40 barrels of wheat, as well as 10 families with their own lands and three manor inns located in Švėkšna with the right to use them as beer and mead breweries. In addition, the church would annually and forever receive a barrel of thick undiluted honey and a tithe of all the crops from Švėkšna, Beržėnai and Gintališkė manors. In return, the church had to undertake to hold three sung Masses each year – the first Mass of the Holy Trinity, the second of the Blessed Virgin and the third of Saint Jacob. This church was consecrated only on 8 October 1652 when a Samogitian bishop came to Švėkšna for the first time. A parish was established here.


In 1732, Švėkšna was devastated by a large fire which destroyed its first wooden church. In 1742, a second church was built in Švėkšna in place of the burnt one. It had the form of a cross and 5 domes upholstered in white tin, painted green.


After the second church became too old in 1801, it was demolished and a new church was built in its place in 1804. It was also wooden and had a cross plan, two towers and a good brick foundation.


At the end of the 19th century, the church became too small and could no longer accommodate all the believers of Švėkšna parish during services. Architect Ustinas Golinevičius designed a new brick church in 1890. After many requests, the Governor-General of Vilnius agreed to allow the construction of a wooden church whose estimated value is no more than 4 106 roubles. He promised to give his permission only if it is determined that it is dangerous for people to be inside the current church. In 1893, parson Martynas Valančius had to pay a fine of 100 roubles for collecting the funds for the construction of a new church during Christmas.


The project of Karl Eduard Strandman was approved in 1900, the estimated value of which was 60 863 roubles. Owners of Švėkšna and Vilkėnai manors - counts Adomas Pliateris, Aleksandras Konstantinas and Mykolas Pliateris provided 50 000 roubles and all the building material (wood) for the construction of the church. Bricks and tiles necessary for the construction were made in their brickyards free of charge. Part of the funds were collected from Lithuanian Americans by Julius Maciejauskas. The current fourth Švėkšna Church was built within a period of 5 years under the care of parson Julius Maciejauskas. Around 200 000 roubles were spent on the construction and equipment of the church.


The red brick neo-Gothic church has a Latin cross plan, basilica style, a five-sided apse and two towers. The building is 57 m long, 37 m wide through its crosses, and 21 m wide in other areas. Its towers are 65 m high. A clock with four dials was installed in the left tower in 1912.