The blazonry of Šakyna and Gruzdžiai

Edmundas Rimša

The coats of arms created for Šakyna and Gruzdžiai–centres of two rural neighbourhoods–are discussed in the paper. Šakyna got the free town rights and the arms from Stanislaw August–the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania–on June 12, 1792. The coat of arms depicting an armoured knight holding a shield with an inscription Pro Lege et Libertate (For Law and Liberty) was related to the events of the end of the 18th century. Under the invasion threats by the neighbours, the armoured knight convincingly showed that only armed forces could defend the land and the town, and secure the rights and freedom of its dwellers. However, when the King signed the privilege, the land was already occupied by Russian army; soon, the self-governance and the coat of arms were abolished. The arms of Šakyna were reconstituted in 1999. Gruzdžiai had no historical coat of arms. It was created in 1999 with the image of Saint Roch (Rokas in Lithuanian). The township of Gruzdžiai is notable for Saint Roch Wakes (held on August 16). Local folk artisan Aloyzas Gendvila (1845–1919), who carved quite a number of Saint Roch sculptures and, hence, called Rokas Maker, contributed significantly to the popularisation of the Saint.