Kaunas Priest Seminary is the largest seminary in Lithuania serving the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kaunas. It was established after the 1863 Uprising. After the January Uprising of 1863, the seat of Bishop of Samogitia Motiejus Valančius was moved from Varniai to Kaunas on December 3, 1863. The Seminary was offered the monastery of Cistercians and St. George Church. From 1863 to 1870 the seminary's capacity was limited, since officials of the Russian Empire did not permit new enrollments.
Antanas Baranauskas taught there for some time, initiating lectures using the Lithuanian language. Many of its students were active in Lithuanian book smuggling. In 1884 its students began printing a Lithuanian-language newspaper ('Lietuva'), edited by Adomas Dambrauskas-Jakštas. Fearing persecution by the Tsarist authorities, seminary leaders closed the newspaper. In 1888 a secret Lithuanian society was established, which was transformed into the St. Casimir Society in 1889. In 1892 Maironis was appointed a professor there and this move had a major impact on usage of the Lithuanian language. After Maironis left for St. Petersburg, Adomas Dambrauskas-Jakštas was appointed as the chaplain and continued Maironis' work. In 1909 Maironis was appointed as the rector of the seminary. At that time the seminary was completely Lithuanian.
During World War I, the seminary moved to Vašuokėnai estate near Troškūnai and the building in Kaunas was converted to a military hospital. Between 1926 and 1940, 3,078 students graduated from the Seminary. After Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union, all other priest seminaries in Lithuania were closed. The number of students was at first limited to 150 - the limit gradually decreased to 25. Most of the seminary buildings were confiscated; the Church of Holy Trinity was turned into a warehouse; a library containing some 90,000 volumes was destroyed; and many priests were deported to Siberia. Between 1945 and 1981, 428 priests graduated. After Lithuania declared independence in 1990, the seminary reacquired its former buildings, which were restored before the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1993.
The Church of the Holy Trinity, built in 1624-1634, is part of the Seminary. It represents the late Renaissance style.References:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.