Vydūnas in 1930
22 March 1868
Jonaičiai, Lithuania (Jonaten, East Prussia)
|Died||20 February 1953 84) (aged|
|Resting place||Bitėnai (reburied 1991)|
Wilhelm Storost, artistic name Vilius Storostas-Vydūnas (22 March 1868 – 20 February 1953), mostly known as Vydūnas, was a Prussian-Lithuanianteacher, poet, humanist, philosopher and Lithuanian writer and philosopher, a leader of the Prussian Lithuanian national movement in Lithuania Minor, and one of leaders of the theosophical movement in East Prussia.
Lithuania Minor, or Prussian Lithuania, is a historical ethnographic region of Prussia, later East Prussia in Germany, where Prussian Lithuanians lived. Lithuania Minor enclosed the northern part of this province and got its name due to the territory's substantial Lithuanian-speaking population. Prior to the invasion of the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century, the main part of the territory later known as Lithuania Minor was inhabited by the tribes of Skalvians and Nadruvians. The land became depopulated to some extent during the warfare between Lithuania and the Order. The war ended with the Treaty of Melno and the land was resettled by Lithuanian newcomers, returning refugees, and the remaining indigenous Baltic peoples; the term Lithuania Minor appeared for the first time between 1517 and 1526. With the exception of the Klaipėda Region, which became a mandated territory of the League of Nations in 1920 by the Treaty of Versailles and was annexed to Lithuania from 1923 to 1939, the area was part of Prussia until 1945. Today a small portion of Lithuania Minor is within the borders of modern Lithuania and Poland while most of the territory is part of the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia.
Theosophy is an esoteric religious movement established in the United States during the late nineteenth century. It was founded largely by the Russian émigrée Helena Blavatsky and draws its beliefs predominantly from Blavatsky's writings. Categorised by scholars of religion as both a new religious movement and as part of the occultist stream of Western esotericism, it draws upon both older European philosophies like Neoplatonism and Asian religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.
East Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878 ; following World War I it formed part of the Weimar Republic's Free State of Prussia, until 1945. Its capital city was Königsberg. East Prussia was the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast.
The Storost family was for centuries living in East-Prussia and Wilhelm was born in the village Jonaten (Lithuanian : Jonaičiai), near Heydekrug, in the Kingdom of Prussia. Wilhelm Storost was the name on his German passport, while Vilimas or Vilius Storostas was the literature Lithuanian form used by himself, his family, and other Lithuanians. "Vydūnas" was added to his surname as a pseudonym when he was about 40 years old. Storost was married to Klara Füllhase.
Šilutė District Municipality is one of 60 municipalities in Lithuania. It is known for spring floods when ice on Nemunas River starts melting. This is the only municipality in Lithuania that gets flooded on regular basis.
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 200 000 abroad.
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.
Storost was educated as teacher at the Präparandenanstalt in Pillkallen (1883–85) and at teacher seminar in Ragnit (1885–88). From 1888 to 1892 he was a teacher in Kinten (lit. Kintai), when he went to teach at a boys school in Tilsit until 1912 and taught German, French, English, Lithuanian and sports. In 1912 he left his teaching position in order to take up philosophical studies, which he took at the universities of Greifswald, Halle, Leipzig and Berlin. 1918/19 he taught Lithuanian at the Seminar for Oriental Languages in Berlin under the director Eduard Sachau. Back in Tilsit he dedicated himself to reestablishment of Lithuanian Culture, especially folks songs and rural traditions. He directed a choir and wrote songs as well as theater plays. From 1933 on he worked in Memel at the music school.
Dobrovolsk, formerly Pillkallen (1510-1938) and Schloßberg (1938-1947) is a village in Krasnoznamensky District of Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. It has a population of 1,693 (2010).
The University of Greifswald is a public research university located in Greifswald, Germany, in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Humboldt University of Berlin is a university in the central borough of Mitte in Berlin, Germany. It was established by Frederick William III on the initiative of Wilhelm von Humboldt, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher as the University of Berlin in 1809, and opened in 1810, making it the oldest of Berlin's four universities. From 1810 until its closure in 1945, it was named Friedrich Wilhelm University. During the Cold War the university found itself in East Berlin and was de facto split in two when the Free University of Berlin opened in West Berlin. The university received its current name in honour of Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt in 1949.
1932 he wrote a book Sieben Hundert Jahren Deutsch-Litauischer Beziehung (Seven Hundred Years of German-Lithuanian relations). His idea of understanding between folks groups did not please the Nazis and in 1933 the book was outlawed. 1938 he was shortly incarcerated, but because of protests released after two months.
Together with nearly all of the people of East Prussia he was expelled during the Soviet take-over and lived in a refugee camp for some time. He died in Detmold, West Germany.His grand nephews, Jürgen Storost, recently explained, that Wilhelm Storost's answered his friend Viktor Falkenhahn, that "his use of the pen name Vydunas was his chosen anthroposophic mission; that he did not want to be a "pavydūnas", but a "vydūnas" (one who wishes everyone everything good).
Detmold is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, with a population of about 73,400 (2013). It was the capital of the small Principality of Lippe from 1468 until 1918 and then of the Free State of Lippe until 1947. Today it is the administrative center of the district of Lippe and of the Regierungsbezirk Detmold. The Church of Lippe has its central administration located in Detmold. The Reformed Redeemer Church is the preaching venue of the state superintendent of the Lippe church.
West Germany was the informal name for the Federal Republic of Germany, a country in Central Europe, in the period between its formation on 23 May 1949 and German reunification on 3 October 1990. During this Cold War period, the western portion of Germany was part of the Western Bloc. The Federal Republic was created during the Allied occupation of Germany after World War II, established from eleven states formed in the three Allied zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom and France. Its (provisional) capital was the city of Bonn. The Cold War era West Germany is unofficially historically designated the Bonn Republic.
Vydūnas was active in the old Lithuanian pagan religion (see Romuva). However, he never declared the revival of the pagan religion as either his personal goal or a goal of Lithuanians, remaining a national leader but not a religious one. His moral influence transcended the confines of being a typical political leader or a writer at his time. He was compared by later biographers with national leaders in India of his time, such as Rabindranath Tagore or Mahatma Gandhi. Pantheistic universalism, not predefined with participating in any obligatory religious practice, was one of the leading ideas of his philosophy, and gained him later fame as a pioneer of both pagan revival and theosophy in Lithuania.
Romuva is a modern reinstitution of the traditional ethnic religion of the Baltic peoples, reviving the ancient religious practices of the Lithuanians before their Christianization in 1387. Romuva claims to continue living Baltic pagan traditions which survived in folklore and customs. Romuva is a polytheistic pagan faith which asserts the sanctity of nature and ancestor worship. Practicing the Romuva faith is seen by many adherents as a form of cultural pride, along with celebrating traditional forms of art, retelling Baltic folklore, practising traditional holidays, playing traditional Baltic music, singing traditional dainas and songs as well as ecological activism and stewarding sacred places.
India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.
Rabindranath Tagore, and also known by his sobriquets Gurudev, Kabiguru, and Biswakabi, was a polymath, poet, musician, and artist from the Indian subcontinent. He reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Author of the "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse" of Gitanjali, he became in 1913 the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Tagore's poetic songs were viewed as spiritual and mercurial; however, his "elegant prose and magical poetry" remain largely unknown outside Bengal. He is sometimes referred to as "the Bard of Bengal".
Vydūnas was an ethical vegetarian, and wrote several essays about his ethical choices.
Vydūnas was nominated for the Nobel Prize by the Lithuanian Writers Association.
Hermann Sudermann was a German dramatist and novelist.
Martynas Mažvydas was the author and the editor of the first printed book in the Lithuanian language.
Prince Wilhelm of Urach, Count of Württemberg, 2nd Duke of Urach, was a German prince who was elected in June 1918 as King of Lithuania, with the regnal name of Mindaugas II. He never assumed the crown, however, as German authorities declared the election invalid; the invitation was withdrawn in November 1918. From 17 July 1869 until his death, he was the head of the morganatic Urach branch of the House of Württemberg.
Tiedemann Giese, was Bishop of Kulm (Chełmno) first canon, later Prince-Bishop of Warmia (Ermland). His interest in mathematics, astronomy, and theology led him to mentor a number of important young scholars, including Copernicus. He was a prolific writer and correspondent, publishing a number of works on the reformation of the church. Tiedemann was a member of the patrician Giese family of Danzig (Gdańsk) in Poland. The Giese family ancestors originated from Unna in Westphalia, near Cologne. His father was Albrecht Giese and his younger brother, the Hanseatic League merchant Georg Giese.
Wilhelm Teudt was a German cleric and völkisch lay archaeologist who believed in an ancient, highly developed Germanic civilization. His 1929 work Germanische Heiligtümer was rejected by experts even at the time of publication, but continues to have some influence in esoteric and neopagan circles in Germany.
The Act of Tilsit was an act, signed in Tilsit by 24 members of the National Council of Lithuania Minor on November 30, 1918. Signatories demanded unification of Lithuania Minor and Lithuania Proper into a single Lithuanian state. This would mean detaching the northern areas of East Prussia, inhabited by Prussian Lithuanians, from the German Empire.
Rambynas is a hill on the right bank of the Neman River in Rambynas Regional Park, Pagėgiai Municipality, western Lithuania. The current hill, about 46 metres (151 ft) above sea level and about 40 metres (130 ft) above the Neman, is a remnant of the larger hill that was destroyed by erosion. The hill was known as sacred among locals and played a role in the ceremonies of pagan Lithuanians. It is featured in many local legends and is protected by the state as a mythological object. A large stone at the top of the hill, known as the altar stone, was destroyed by a miller in 1811. Rambynas became popular with Prussian Lithuanians at the end of the 19th century who organized various events, most notably celebrations of the Saint Jonas' Festivals or Rasos, on the hill. They rebuilt the altar in 1928. The hill is popular with Lithuanian neo-pagans and hosts the annual celebrations of the summer solstice on 23 June.
Stanislovas Svetkus Rapolionis was a Lutheran activist and Protestant reformer from the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. With patronage of Albert, Duke of Prussia, he obtained the doctorate of theology from the Protestant University of Wittenberg where he studied under Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon. After graduation, he became the first professor of theology at the newly established University of Königsberg, also known as Albertina. As professor he began working on several Protestant publications and translations, including a Bible translation into Polish. It is believed that he also started the first translation of the Bible into Lithuanian. Together with Abraomas Kulvietis, Rapolionis was one of the very first authors to write in the Lithuanian language. While Rapolionis and Kulvietis died early leaving their work unfinished, they laid the foundations for future Lithuanian writers and translators.
A Lithuanian personal name, as in most European cultures, consists of two main elements: the given name followed by the family name. The usage of personal names in Lithuania is generally governed by three major factors: civil law, canon law, and tradition. Lithuanian names always follow the rules of the Lithuanian language. Lithuanian male names have preserved the Indo-European masculine endings, although the rules are not as rigid as for Latvian names, which preserve gendered endings even for foreign names.
The Prussian Lithuanians, or Lietuvininkai, are Lithuanians, originally Lithuanian language speakers, who formerly inhabited a territory in northeastern East Prussia called Prussian Lithuania, or Lithuania Minor, instead of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, later, the Republic of Lithuania. Prussian Lithuanians contributed greatly to the development of written Lithuanian, which for a long time was considerably more widespread and in more literary use in Lithuania Minor than in Lithuania proper.
Leopold Wilhelm von Dobschütz was a Prussian "general of cavalry", the "hero of Dennewitz" and "liberator of Wittenberg", military governor of the Rhine province and of Breslau. He was Gutsherr of Zölling, which his wife had inherited, and the Gütern Ober- and Nieder-Briesnitz as well as Schönbrunn, all in the district Sagan.
Mindaugas was the first known Grand Duke of Lithuania and the only Christian King of Lithuania. Little is known of his origins, early life, or rise to power; he is mentioned in a 1219 treaty as an elder duke, and in 1236 as the leader of all the Lithuanians. The contemporary and modern sources discussing his ascent mention strategic marriages along with banishment or murder of his rivals. He extended his domain into regions southeast of Lithuania proper during the 1230s and 1240s. In 1250 or 1251, during the course of internal power struggles, he was baptised as a Roman Catholic; this action enabled him to establish an alliance with the Livonian Order, a long-standing antagonist of the Lithuanians. During the summer of 1253 he was crowned King of Lithuania, ruling between 300,000 and 400,000 subjects.
Gediminas was Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1315 or 1316 until his death. He is credited with founding this political entity and expanding its territory which, at the time of his death, spanned the area ranging from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. Also seen as one of the most significant individuals in early Lithuanian history, he was responsible for both building Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and establishing a dynasty that later came to rule other European countries such as Poland, Hungary and Bohemia.
The Lithuanian Literary Society was a literary society dedicated to the Lithuanian language that was active from 1879 to about 1923 in Tilsit, East Prussia. It was the first scientific society dedicated to Lithuanian studies. It sought to document, preserve, and study Lithuanian language, folklore, literature, and cultural heritage. Members of the society were mostly non-Lithuanian scholars and conducted its proceedings in German.
Alexander von Suchten was an alchemist, doctor and writer.
The Birutė Society was the first cultural non-religious society of Prussian Lithuanians. Established in 1885 in Tilsit, East Prussia, the society was intermittently active until the outbreak of World War I. The society sought to preserve Lithuanian language and culture and protect them form Germanization. While it discussed linguistic and cultural subjects, the society never raised issues of social inequality or protested against the political regime of Kaiser Wilhelm II. The society prompted the division of Prussian Lithuanians into two main groups: religious conservative versus secular liberals. Birutė is best remembered for organizing festivals and celebrations that featured Lithuanian-language performances of various folk and patriotic songs as well as amateur theater performances, including the first Lithuanian-language theater performance in 1895.
Rokas Šliūpas was a Lithuanian physician, co-founder and chairman of the Lithuanian Red Cross from 1919 to 1932. Educated in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, Šliūpas began a private medical practice in Ariogala. At the same time, he actively supported Lithuanian book smugglers and was arrested by the Tsarist police in 1900 and exiled to Kazan. As a doctor, he was mobilized by the Imperial Russian Army during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904–1905 and World War I in 1914–1918. In Lithuania, he was an active participant in the Lithuanian National Revival, organizing various societies including the cultural Daina Society and the educational Saulė Society. He became the first chairman of the Lithuanian Red Cross and worked to establish three hospitals in 1919, organize health care for prisoners of war and war refugees in the difficult and chaotic post-war years. Šliūpas worked to establish Birštonas as a spa town, build a new hospital in Klaipėda and a tuberculosis sanatorium in Panemunė. In 1932, he resigned as chairman of the Lithuanian Red Cross due to disagreements with the authoritarian regime of President Antanas Smetona and devoted his time to his private medical practice.
Bitėnai is a small village in the Pagėgiai Municipality, Lithuania. According to the 2011 census, it had population of 76, a decline from 119 in 2001. It is situated along the Neman River near the Rambynas hill and is known as the location of the Martynas Jankus printing press. Jankus Museum and the visitors' center of the Rambynas Regional Park are located in the village.
Lithuanian philosopher Vydunas
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