The Saint Roch Church in Gardamas

Skirmantė Smilingytė-Žeimienė

The wooden church had burnt on 12 April 1913 in Gardamas. In 1914 a little wooden makeshift church was built with preparations to erect a masonry church. However, the World War I followed by turmoil with devaluation of funds distanced the hope to have a new church. The foundations were laid in 1922, and the construction of the Neo-Gothic church of field stones and bricks was finished only after a decade–in 1932. The one-tower building of a pseudo-basilica type differed from the project designed in 1922 by the architect Erichas Omnečinskis; its initial tower was single-spaced. The built church had also a changed window configuration, no turret above the transept and two side entrances were left in the front elevation; also realisation of many decoration details such as turrets, spires, mesh forms and arcs were withdrawn. After the redesign done by J. Salenek (?) who pursued higher functionality and expressiveness of forms, the look of the church became more harmonious and modern. The interior of the church was not finished before the WWII, and both side altars were made only in 1958.

Generalising the course of construction of the church and its equipment, it should be noted that the architecture of the Gardamas church and its interior decoration is typical of the first half of the 20th century, although many things were done after the WWII. The equipment and decoration of the church reflect the general character the church interiors were arranged in Lithuania of that period, when neo-style equipment with non-original serial fine arts works, mainly sculptures prevailed. The Gardamas church equipment pieces (V. Čižauskas) and outfit products from the workshops (A. Danišauskienė, A. Krupavičienė and J. Masalcas) indicate rather low art and technological potential of the workshops. Former parish members who emigrated from Lithuania donated quite a few things to the church; so, its monstrance was made in the USA.

From the art viewpoint, the interior of this church is not valuable, but it is notable for such a feature as the harmony of its elements.