Our Lady of Lake Smetona
Our Lady of Lake Smetona refers to a vision of Virgin Mary which was seen in 1932 in a site at the coast the Lake of Many Names (then known as Lake Smetona) in what was then the Maasai colony of Lithuania.
The appearance of the Virgin was visible to a group of Lithuanian settlers and people of African race who led them (out of the group of 15, ten people reported the sighting and the 5 remaining people were at the other place at the time). It should be noted that the at the time of the reported sighting only three people in the group were Christians while the remaining were either Lithuanian pagan or African pagan.
After the sighting
The group of settlers established a village of Paežerys at the place. Some pagans converted to Christianity, while others who endured the sighting saw the event as a manifestation of some pagan Gods. After the news about the sighting reached Naujasis Kaunas, Christians of Masaja started to do piligrimages to the site. Several Christian families of Paežerys in years 1932 - 1935 built a small church of Our Lady of Lake Smetona, notable for its strange architectural style. The construction was supervised by a person who was among the original settlers (he attempted to study architecture in Vilnius university before going to Africa but failed his studies). It was done entirely by people without any funding from the State, as the Lithuanian state saw Christian religion as Vened influence, while the sighting was still quite unknown to the Christian world.
There is a legend that the hanging crosses in the church design represent another event in the area that happened in year 1932, when the Lithuanian settlers found wooden crosses hanging on trees in the local forest. The gold-coloured windows are supposedly so because the Virgin Mary appeared to have slightly golden skin. It is however unclear now which of these facts are only legends dating from late 30s or even post-war and which are true.
In late 30s the sighting became more famous in Lithuania and Africa. It drew pilgrims as well as Christian settlers in Paežerys. Paežerys became the only Christian-majority town in what was then Naujojo Vilniaus apskritis and also had a sizeable population of Veneds.
The church was attacked by unknown people (possibly Slavic mutineers) in 1940 in an attempt to destroy it, however it survived, although the front wall collapsed. It was rebuilt in 1941, but destroyed completely during the Borderland War. After the Second Great War however the piligrimages continue,a lthough for some time Maasai government tried to supress them. Now a new small modern church is established at the site.
Our Lady of Lake Smetona, now usually called more politically correct Our Lady of the Lake, is still revered in the Republic of the Two Crowns, especially the region of Palenkė. In 1952 a church identical to the one destroyed in Africa was built near one lake in Palenkė, Lithuania. That place was chosen for being similar to the coastline in Paežerys.
This page was created by Abdul-aziz.