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Rainiai chapel

Rainiai, Viešvėnų sen., Telšių r.
Tel. +370 444 70282


Žiūrėti Rainių Kančios koplyčia didesniame žemėlapyje

Admission price

  • The guided tour to Rainiai chapel (english) – 25 € (Tickets to the quided tour are purchased at the ticket desk of Samogitian museum “Alka”)


  The Rainiai massacre was one of the most tragic events in history of Lithuania during the first Soviet occupation. During the night of June 24-25 1941, in Rainiai forest Soviet soldiers together with local collaborators sadistically murdered seventy five Lithuanian political prisoners. Three more inmates tried to escape but they were shot at Džiuginėnai. Most of the prisoners were teachers, farmers, students, tradespeople, officers and workers. The biggest crimes made by them were love for homeland and reluctance to submit to occupants. All these men were tortured to death. Most of them were killed crashing their heads and goring with bayonets. Only ten prisoners were fusilladed.

  Bodies of the martyrs were buried in four pits; they were exhumed on June 28. Most of the bodies were mutilated to the extent and because of that forty six prisoners could not be identified. On June 1 after the requiem mass most of the martyrs of Rainiai were reburied to the same grave in the cemetery of Telšiai.
  The forest of Rainiai was paled; and the board with record reminding the tragedy was built in the place of the massacre. In 1942 the book “Samogitian Martyrs” (Lithuanian: „Žemaičių kankiniai”) was issued. In the same year architect Jonas Virakas won a competition to design a memorial, which had to commemorate the victims of the massacre. He planned to build a chapel in the cemetery of Telšiai.
  During the second Soviet occupation the chapel was demolished and the forest was cut down. Soviets were seeking that people would forget about the tragedy and its causers. But people could not forget the torment of the victims of Rainiai. Very often in June crosses were built at the site of Rainiai massacre or the flag of independent Lithuania used to wave.
   In 1989 The Samogitian Association of Culture started to take care about commemoration of the victims of the massacre. On June 24 it was the first time when the tragedy was commemorated. General architect of Telšiai district Algirdas Žebrauskas made a project of the chapel. He used drafts of J. Virakas. It was decided to build the chapel in Rainiai because there was not enough place in the cemetery. Rainiai Chapel of Torment was sanctified on June 23, 1991 during commemoration of the 50th anniversary of murder. The memorial memorialized all victims of the terror of Soviets. White color dominates in the Chapel. Even stained glasses created by Algis Dovydėnas are white. They reflect red drops of blood on the white background and instruments, which symbolize torment of Jesus (studs, bender and the crown of thorn). All these tools reminds about torment of victims of Rainiai as well. In the fresco of Antanas Kmieliauskas the image of martyrs of Rainiai, of people who were exiled to Siberia and of partisans interlace with torment of Jesus Christ and his Mother. The cross of white marble, created by sculptor Remigijus Midvikis, is in the center of the chapel.
   On November 1, 1991 the cross carved by R. Midvikis was built in the forest of Rainiai, in the place of the massacre. In 1996, during the 55th anniversary of murder, the memorial (Pieta created by A. Kmieliauskas) was built on the grave of victims in the cemetery of Telšiai.

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