Antanas Baranauskas

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Antanas Baranauskas
Antanas Baranauskas in 1899 portrait (cropped).jpeg
Baranauskas in 1899
Born(1835-01-17)17 January 1835
Anykščiai, Vilnius Governorate, Russian Empire
Died26 November 1902(1902-11-26) (aged 67)
Sejny, Congress Poland
Resting placeBazylika Maryi Panny w Sejnach, Sejny
OccupationPoet, linguist, bishop
Language Lithuanian, Polish
Genre Romanticism
Notable works The Forest of Anykščiai

Antanas Baranauskas (Latin : Antonius Baranovski, Polish : Antoni Baranowski; January 17, 1835 in Anykščiai – November 26, 1902) was a Lithuanian poet, [1] mathematician and Catholic bishop of Sejny. Baranauskas is best known as the author of the Lithuanian poem Anykščių šilelis . He used various pseudonyms, including A.B., Bangputys, Jurksztas Smalaūsis, Jurkštas Smalaūsis, and Baronas. [2] He also wrote poetry in Polish. [3]

Polish language West Slavic language spoken in Poland

Polish is a West Slavic language of the Lechitic group. It is spoken primarily in Poland and serves as the native language of the Poles. In addition to being an official language of Poland, it is also used by Polish minorities in other countries. There are over 50 million Polish-language speakers around the world and it is one of the official languages of the European Union.

Anykščiai City in Aukštaitija, Lithuania

Anykščiai is a ski resort town in Lithuania, 20 miles west of Utena. The Roman Catholic Church of St. Matthias in Anykščiai is the tallest church in Lithuania, with spires measuring 79 metres in height. Anykščiai has a resort status in Lithuania and is a popular destination of a domestic tourism.

Lithuanians are a Baltic ethnic group, native to Lithuania, where they number around 2,561,300 people. Another million or more make up the Lithuanian diaspora, largely found in countries such as the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Russia, United Kingdom and Ireland. Their native language is Lithuanian, one of only two surviving members of the Baltic language family. According to the census conducted in 2001, 83.45% of the population of Lithuania identified themselves as Lithuanians, 6.74% as Poles, 6.31% as Russians, 1.23% as Belarusians, and 2.27% as members of other ethnic groups. Most Lithuanians belong to the Roman Catholic Church, while the Lietuvininkai who lived in the northern part of East Prussia prior to World War II, were mostly Evangelical Lutherans.


Early years

Baranauskas was born to a humble peasant family of Lithuanian nobility origin. [1] Early in his youth, his parents sent him to a local parochial school. After finishing his studies there, Baranauskas initially remained in the parish. As described in his diary, between the years 1841-1843, he learned the Polish language and later between 1848–1851, Russian as well. [2] His first attempts to write poetry and rhyme in Lithuanian, are to be found in his diaries. [2] Later he attended a bi-yearly school for communal writers in Rumšiškės. There he started writing his first poems in Polish. [1]

Lithuanian nobility

The Lithuanian nobility was historically a legally privileged class in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania consisting of Lithuanians, from the historical regions of Lithuania Proper and Samogitia, and, following Lithuania's eastern expansion, many Ruthenian noble families (boyars). Families were primarily granted privileges for their military service to the Grand Duchy. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth had one of the largest percentages of nobility in Europe, close to 10% of the population, in some regions, like Samogitia, it was closer to 12%.

A parochial school is a private primary or secondary school affiliated with a religious organization, and whose curriculum includes general religious education in addition to secular subjects, such as science, mathematics and language arts. The word "parochial" comes from the same root as "parish", and parochial schools were originally the educational wing of the local parish church. Christian parochial schools are often called "church schools" or "Christian schools". In Ontario, parochial schools are called "separate schools".

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.


Antanas Baranauskas bust in Seda Seda. Paminklas A.Baranauskui, 2006-09-02.jpg
Antanas Baranauskas bust in Seda

In 1853, he finished school and started working as a writer and chancellor in various towns. During this period he began a relationship with the Samogitian poet Karolina Proniewska (Karolina Praniauskaitė) [4] [5] and her family. The two shared a passion for the poetry of Adam Mickiewicz. [5] Praniauskaitė suggested that Baranauskas should try to write more in Lithuanian. In 1856, Karolina's family tried to separate the couple by sponsoring Baranauskas' entry into the Catholic Seminary of Varniai. While studying there, he began to concentrate on the development of the written Lithuanian language, and wrote a commentary on Lithuanian and Samogitian dialects Apie lietuvių ir žemaičių kalbą. It was the first scholarly attempt to distinguish these different Lithuanian dialects.

Samogitia Ethnographic region in Lithuania

Samogitia or Žemaitija is one of the five ethnographic regions of Lithuania. Žemaitija is located in northwestern Lithuania. Its largest city is Šiauliai. Žemaitija has a long and distinct cultural history, reflected in the existence of the Samogitian dialect.

Karolina Proniewska Polish writer

Karolina Proniewska or Karolina Praniauskaitė (1828–1859) was a romantic Polish-Lithuanian poet and translator, of Samogitian extraction. Born in Samogitia, a historical region of Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire, she is sometimes referred to as a Samogitian Bard.

Adam Mickiewicz Polish national poet, dramatist, essayist, publicist, translator, and political activist

Adam Bernard Mickiewicz was a Polish poet, dramatist, essayist, publicist, translator, professor of Slavic literature, and political activist. He is regarded as national poet in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. A principal figure in Polish Romanticism, he is counted as one of Poland's "Three Bards" and is widely regarded as Poland's greatest poet. He is also considered one of the greatest Slavic and European poets and has been dubbed a "Slavic bard". A leading Romantic dramatist, he has been compared in Poland and Europe to Byron and Goethe.

While in the seminary, Baranauskas started writing poems in Lithuanian, and from that time essentially wrote in that language. One of his earlier works written under the influence of Mickiewicz was Anykščių šilelis (The Forest/Pinewood of Anykščiai). It is considered a classic work of Lithuanian literature. Literature critics consider it as a symbolic reference to Lithuanian history and language. [6] While some critics contend that Baranauskas wrote the poem in anger, in response to an assertion by his lector Alexander Gabszewicz that the Lithuanian language was not beautiful enough to write poems in, [2] others dispute this as a misinterpretation. The poem was first published in 1861, and again in 1862 in Laurynas Ivinskis' calendars.

Lithuanian literature

Lithuanian literature concerns the art of written works created by Lithuanians throughout their history.

Lithuanian language Language spoken in Lithuania

Lithuanian is an Eastern Baltic language spoken in the Baltic region. It is the language of Lithuanians and the official language of Lithuania as well as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.8 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 200 thousand abroad.

Laurynas Ivinskis Lithuanian translator

Laurynas Ivinskis (1810-1881) was a Lithuanian teacher, publisher, translator and lexicographer, from a Samogitian noble family. He is notable for a series of annual calendars published between 1847 and 1877, in which he summarized the daily life of Samogitian peasantry. He also published literary works by some of the most renowned local authors. He was the first to publish Antanas Baranauskas' most famous work, Anyksčių Šilelis.

From 1858 to 1862, Barnauskas studied at the Saint Petersburg Roman Catholic Theological Academy, receiving a master's degree in theology. Between 1863-1864, he studied at Munich's, Rome's, Innsbruck's and Louvain's Catholic universities.

Saint Petersburg Roman Catholic Theological Academy

The Imperial Roman Catholic Theological Academy was an institution of higher education preparing Roman Catholic theologians in the Russian Empire. The Academy granted master's and doctorate degrees in theology and was designed to prepare officers for senior positions in the Catholic Church hierarchy. It originated at the Vilnius University, but was transferred to Saint Petersburg in the aftermath of the Uprising of 1831. The Tsarist authorities wanted to exercise greater control over the Academy and implement Russification policies. After the October Revolution in 1917, the Academy was moved to Poland where it became the Catholic University of Lublin. A new theological seminary was established in Moscow in 1993; it moved to the premises of the historical Saint Petersburg Academy in 1995.

Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an academic discipline, typically in universities and seminaries. It occupies itself with the unique content of analyzing the supernatural, but also especially with epistemology, and asks and seeks to answer the question of revelation. Revelation pertains to the acceptance of God, gods, or deities, as not only transcendent or above the natural world, but also willing and able to interact with the natural world and, in particular, to reveal themselves to humankind. While theology has turned into a secular field, religious adherents still consider theology to be a discipline that helps them live and understand concepts such as life and love and that helps them lead lives of obedience to the deities they follow or worship.

Munich Capital and most populous city of Bavaria, Germany

Munich is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria, the second most populous German federal state. With a population of around 1.5 million, it is the third-largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, and thus the largest which does not constitute its own state, as well as the 12th-largest city in the European Union. The city's metropolitan region is home to 6 million people. Straddling the banks of the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps, it is the seat of the Bavarian administrative region of Upper Bavaria, while being the most densely populated municipality in Germany. Munich is the second-largest city in the Bavarian dialect area, after the Austrian capital of Vienna.

Starting in 1871, he worked at the Kaunas Priest Seminary, and began teaching the Lithuanian language. He authored a grammar textbook in Lithuanian, Mokslas lietuviškosios kalbos. After Baranauskas went to Sejny, he gained a considerable reputation by being able to preach in both Polish and Lithuanian. By 1880, after he realized that the ban of printing in the Lithuanian language would not be lifted, in spite of several unofficial promises by Tsarist authorities to do so, his desire to promote the Lithuanian language slowly declined. He never ceased to believe, that Lithuanian should be developed and expanded and until his death worked on a translation of the Bible into Lithuanian, and working 10–12 hours a day, succeeded to translate three fifths of the Old Testament.

Kaunas Priest Seminary

Kaunas Priest Seminary is the largest seminary in Lithuania serving the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kaunas. It is part of the Faculty of Theology of Vytautas Magnus University. Its current rector is Aurelijus Žukauskas. As of 2007, the seminary had 35 students. It traces its history to 1622.

Sejny Place in Podlaskie Voivodeship, Poland

Sejny is a town in north-eastern Poland and the capital of Sejny County, in Podlaskie Voivodeship, close to the northern border with Lithuania and Belarus. It is located in the eastern part of the Suwałki Lake Area, on the Marycha river, being a tributary of the Czarna Hańcza. As of 1999 it had almost 6,500 permanent inhabitants, with a strong seasonal increase during the tourist season.

Lithuanian press ban Ban on Lithuanian language publications in Russia

The Lithuanian press ban was a ban on all Lithuanian language publications printed in the Latin alphabet in force from 1865 to 1904 within the Russian Empire, which controlled Lithuania at the time. Lithuanian-language publications that used Cyrillic were allowed and even encouraged.

In his later years, Antanas Baranauskas, enjoyed some of the comforts of life. His beliefs were similar to the later Krajowcy group. Therefore, for the rest of his life he tried to reconcile nationalists from both - Lithuanian and Polish - sides. For that he was rather unpopular amongst the nationalists in both sides. [2]

Most of the Lithuanians did not attend his burial, considering him a traitor of the national revival movement, mostly Russian officials and Poles attended it. [2] It was a completely different story when a monument for him was built in Sejny. Only Lithuanians attended the event, and even then paint was spilt on the monument the following night. [2]


Before Baranauskas, the main "respectable" languages in the area were considered to be Russian and Polish, so Baranauskas was one of the few primary individuals responsible for re-legitimizing the Lithuanian language, and by extension, Lithuanian culture. Referring to Baranauskas in a lecture, the early 20th century Lithuanian poet Maironis once said, "Without him, there might not be us". [6]

Baranauskas's home is preserved in the Anykščiai Regional Park.

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  1. 1 2 3 Małgorzata Pawłowska, ed. (1993). "Antoni Baranowski". Biografie suwalskie (in Polish). Suwałki: Jaćwież. OCLC   69481751 . Retrieved 2006-07-17.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Egidijus Aleksandravičius (2003). Giesmininko kelias (in Lithuanian). Vilnius: Versus Aureus. p. 58. OCLC   60351917.
  3. Encyclopedia Wiem
  4. Mukienė, Danutė (2003-05-15). "Žemaitijos rašytojai" (in Lithuanian). Archived from the original on 2007-02-16. Retrieved 2007-04-18.
  5. 1 2 Krystyna Syrnicka (May 2002). "Karolina Proniewska - zapomniana poetka ze Żmudzi". Nasz Czas (in Polish). 20 (559): 25. ISSN   1641-7933. Archived from the original on 2007-07-03. Dla historii literatury litewskiej najbardziej znaczący jest wysoko oceniony przez literaturoznawców jej przekład legendy o Egle, królowej węży z Witoloraudy J.I.Kraszewskiego. "Ţalčiř motë" ("Matka węży") była zamieszczona w kalendarzu L. Iwińskiego (L. Ivinskisa) za 1859 rok.
  6. 1 2 Justinas Marcinkevičius (1995). "Štai kas yra mes". Tekančios upės vienybė (in Lithuanian). Kaunas: Santara. pp. 42–44. OCLC   35046901.