Thursday, September 6, 2012

Those Places Thursday: St. George Catholic Church, Smilgiai, Panevezys district, Lithuania

Smilgiai church belfry by Laima Gūtmane(simka).
Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.
This is the church where my maternal great-grandfather, Charles (Kazimieras) Peter Guokas Sr. (1863-1939) was baptized, and his parents, Jonas Guokas (ABT 1821 - BEF 1898) and Marija Šukytė (ABT 1836 - 1898), my great-great-grandparents, were married in 1856.

Šv. Jurgio (Saint George) parish originally began in 1655.  This wooden church was built 1761-1764 on the site of its predecessor, which may have burned.  The Baroque-style facade with its two cupola-topped towers were rebuilt in 1858.  The church has a cruciform plan with three naves, and a Rococo high altar, which spreads out to include what would normally be two side altars.  The belfry is a separate building.

A panoramic view of its gorgeous interior is available online at  A number of good exterior views are available here (scroll down to post #45).

Smilgiai church by Laima Gūtmane(simka). Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

Church Smilgiai by Modris Putns. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

St. George Catholic Church interior, Smilgiai, Lithuania - photo courtesy Osvaldas Guokas

Sources: Lithuania Bradt Travel Guide by Gordon McLachlan, 5th edition, May 2008, and the church website.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.


  1. This is such a beautiful and distinctive church, Amanda. I love the photograph with both buildings and the horse and wagon driving by. It is so picturesque. Looks like it would be straight out of a storybook!

    Thanks so much for sharing these pictures within our Doors of Faith carnival at The Catholic Gene, and thanks for spreading the word.

  2. Thanks, Lisa, for stopping by! It's been challenging to find Creative Commons licensed material - particularly of church doors - for all the Catholic churches in my family history!

  3. You're finding them, though! Thanks to all of those photographers who share their photos online.

  4. I share your sentiment regarding the photograph including the horse and wagon, Lisa. This is just a remarkable photo. What a quaint and peaceful setting for a church. I am curious about the altar design, colors and figurines. Thank you Amanda I have some work to do. It's beautiful.