The Orthodox believers in Valkininkai

Regina Laukaitytė

The article reviews the history of the Orthodox church and the parish in Valkininkai in 1866–1915, as well as the relations between the Catholics and the Orthodox believers in this town. The Orthodox parish was established in a locality inhabited by Catholics and demonstrated the radical efforts of the czarist authorities to integrate the land into the Russian empire after the 1863 Insurrection. To establish and maintain the small parish of Valkininkai (in 1866 and 1882, respectively, there were 75 and 187 Orthodox believers) the Russian administration made big investments: after a major reconstruction the Franciscan church was transformed into a spacious Orthodox church, with a pastor and psalmist employed full time. In spite of the expectations of the authorities and the Orthodox Church, this parish did not become a backbone for the Orthodox missions. The Catholics also boycotted the school at the Orthodox church. The Orthodox clergy were unable to earn the confidence of the Catholics and to change the confessional situation.