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Did you know? Holy Cross Dayton

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Holy Cross Church in Dayton the only Lithuanian parish in southern Ohio. It was redesigned in the 1960s by Lithuanian Chicago architect John Mulokas to honor churches throughout Lithuania that were closed by the Communist government. It features stylized versions of folk art, most of them – including the stained glass – made by Lithuanian craftsmen.

1886
First two Lithuanian immigrants settle in Dayton.

1902
St. Peter’s Society founded to establish a Lithuanian church.

1914
Holy Cross parish established.

1915
Church dedicated.

1963-64
Church renovated and redesigned.

1965
Shrine of the Three Crosses erected.

Land of Crosses Lithuania’s traditional nickname – decorative crosses “kryžiai” – are so popular that “cross-crafting” is recognized by UNESCO and is the inspiration for the parish’s name.

1. Stained glass screen (with flanking panels) behind the altar represents the famous Hill of Crosses in northern Lithuania, made by Adolf Valeska Studios of Chicago.

2. Carved wooden side altars for St. Casimir, patron saint of Lithuania; and Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, shaped like roadside shrines and topped with traditional Lithuanian “sunburst crosses.”

2 readings still proclaimed in Lithuanian at every Mass.

14 side windows made of French slab glass by Adolf Valeska Studios of Chicago feature stylized depictions of Lithuanian roadside shrines.

29 ft 7 inches: The height of the Lithuanian-style belltower and steeple.

Shrine of the Three Crosses Designed by Lithuanian Toronto architect Alfred Kulpavirchus to honor “all the martyrs for the faith
in the countries occupied by the Soviet Communists” and all “living and deceased parishioners and friends” of the parish, the crosses commemorate one in Vilnius destroyed by the Soviet Union. Each cross isrepresentative of one of the country’s major regions and features sunburst metalwork, as well as statues of Mary, Jesus and St. Casimir.

This article appeared in the October edition of The Catholic Telegraph Magazine. For your complimentary subscription, click here.

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