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Anykščiai Church

In The Church of St. Matthew the Apostle it is not possible to overlook the famous elephant in the parlour; neither can one ignore a great Roman Catholic Church in the middle of a Jewish shtetl.

Built to replace a smaller wooden church, whose antecedent was first erected in 1514, the construction of the new edifice began in 1899 and was completed in 1909. Built to a height of 84 meters (276 ft.), it became a religious and cultural landmark whose soaring twin spires were visible miles around. It was an imposing physical presence that dominated the shtetl, the rest of Anykščiai, and all of the countryside around. Its spires were damaged during the First World War and replaced by the smaller and less elaborate ones in 1928. Although the Nazis destroyed much of Anykščiai during WWII, the church was left unscathed. Even with its reduced height of 79 meters (259 ft.), it is still an imposing structure and remains the tallest church in Lithuania and a source of national and civic pride of the Lithuanian Christian community.

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