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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Second Sunday in Advent at Priekulė, Lithuania

The Lutheran Parish in Priekule, Lithuania
This morning we attended worship in Priekulė, Lithuania. It is one of 54 parishes of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lithuania. Christianity came to Klaipeda, Lithuania in 1252, while the rest of Lithuania was pagan. In 1525, Klaipeda, then a part of Prussia, became Lutheran. The Lutheran congregation in Vilnius was established in 1555. The majority of the Lutheran congregations were established in the 17th and 18th centuries in Lithuania. The Lutheran congregation in Priekulė, Lithuania, where we worshiped, once had 6,000 members. Now about 50 persons worship in what was the old school house, the original church having been destroyed by the Communists in the Soviet Era. Before WWII, the Lutheran population was more than 200,000. Today, it is around 20,000 persons. The Lutheran congregation in Priekule retains a strong German identity.

Rev. Dr. Darius Petkūnas writes in the Resurgence of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lithuania after the Soviet Era, "All Lithuanians love to sing and Lutherans extend this love for music to parish life. From the days of the Reformation the Lithuanian Lutheran Church has been a singing church. The great German hymns were all translated into Lithuanian, and hymns by Lithuanian Lutherans have been added to this treasury," During worship, we had opportunity to hear this rich musical heritage in the confirmation choir and in the hymnody.
Confirmation Choir Sings During Worship
Watch the video below to hear the Confirmation Choir sing.


Pastor Petkuūnas preached on signs of the end of the world for the Second Sunday of Advent.

After the sermon, the congregation sang, "Kelkitės, šlovingai aidi" (Wake, Awake for Night is Flying or Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme in German) by Philipp Nicolai

Listen to the first stanza in Lithuanian in the video below.

The church is kept warm by an old wood or coal burning stove.

Our visit to Priekulė was very pleasant.

Rev. Daniel Johnson, Rev. Dr. Albert Collver, Juta Galkienė, Rev. Dr. Darius Petkūas
You can read the Resurgence of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lithuania after the Soviet Era here:

Resurgence of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lithuania After the Soviet Era
--Rev. Dr. Albert B. Collver, Director of Church Relations

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