Jurgis Matulaitis-Matulevičius

Jurgis Matulaitis-Matulevičius
Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis

Jurgis [George] Matulaitis (Polish: Jerzy Matulewicz; 13 April 1871 in the village of Lūginė, near Mariampolė, Lithuania, Russian Empire – 27 January 1927 in Kaunas, Lithuania) was a Roman Catholic Bishop of Vilnius from 1918 to 1925 and founder of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On 28 June 1987, Pope John Paul II beatified him as the Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis-Matulewicz.



Matulaitis was the son of poor farmers and baptized at the monastery church of the Marian Order in Mariampole. He learned his Catholic faith in catechism class at the monastery, from the Marian priest, Jurgis Cešnas. He was orphaned at an early age—his father dying in 1874, and his mother in 1881. In his youth, Matulaitis developed a weakness in his right arm and leg, that prevented him from working with his brother on the farm, and kept him away from classes at the school. His illness was years later diagnosed as tuberculosis of the bone, which he suffered with for the rest of his life.

Much time spent alone, led Matulaitis to develop his keen intellect. When his uncle, a priest in Warsaw, Poland, saw his potential, he offered to pay for his high school education at a minor seminary. And when civil authorities closed the Warsaw seminary, Matulaitis moved to the only remaining seminary in the Russian Empire, the Saint Petersburg Roman Catholic Theological Academy. Ordained to the priesthood on 20 November 1898, his high academic marks led his bishop to send him to the University of Fribourg, in Switzerland, for doctoral work.

Outside the watchful eye of the Russian civil authorities, Fribourg became a place for free discussion of the sad state of the Lithuanian homeland. With other students from Lithuania, Matulaitis talked about a Catholic cultural revival. Becoming convinced that religious Orders were best suited to the work of such a revival, Matulaitis traveled home, to Mariampole, to discuss with one of the last remaining members of the suppressed Marian Order the possibility of secretly resurrecting the group. Trips to Rome and Mariampole set the plan, approved by the Marian Superior Vincent Senkus, in motion.

Matulaitis completed his doctorate in theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He then returned to teach Latin and canon law in the seminary in Kielce. He then moved on, to head of the newly established sociology department, and served as vice rector of the St. Petersburg Spiritual Academy, teaching dogmatic theology. All the while the renewal of the Marians was taking place in secret. Pope Pius X approved a new interim Constitution as the group's rule. Matulaitis then secretly took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a member of the Marian Congregation in 1909. With the death of the last Marian, Fr. Senkus, a hastily organized meeting on 14 July 1911, elected Matulaitis the Superior General of the Congregation of Marians, which, at that point, consisted of him and 2 other priests—though there were seminarians preparing to join the group. Though he was a respected teacher, priest, spiritual director and confessor, Matulaitis' secret work with the Marians put the renewal—and the Seminary—in danger. Matulaitis decided it was time to resign his position at the academy to work for the Marian Order.

A convent of Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Kaunas, Lithuania (established by Blessed Jurgis Matulaitis)

With some small success reviving the Marians, Matulaitis began reclaiming the monastery properties of the old Order. He also established Marian religious houses and houses for training new members (novitiates) at Bielany, Poland, Marijampolė, Lithuania, Fribourg, Switzerland, and Chicago, Illinois. Just as it seemed the work of the Marian renewal was seeming to take root, Matulaitis heard the rumors that he was being considered for the position of bishop. He accepted the call of Pope Benedict XV to serve as the Bishop of Vilnius. Matulaitis had just founded the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lithuania, 15 October 1918. ( He also founded another Congregation, the Handmaids of Jesus in the Eucharist, in 1924, in Belarus). He was installed as Bishop of Vilnius on 8 December 1918.

For seven years, he headed the diocese of Vilnius through the aftermath of World War I. Vilnius Region was at the center of the Lithuanian–Soviet, Polish–Soviet and Polish–Lithuanian Wars. The constantly shifting battle lines meant that Vilnius changed hands frequently between Germans, Bolsheviks, Lithuanians, and Poles. Finally, wearied by his efforts, Matulaitis requested to be relieved of his pastoral duties in 1925. But no sooner was his request granted, than he was appointed Archbishop by Pope Pius XI, and sent back to Lithuania to negotiate a concordat between the new nation of Lithuania and the Vatican, and establish the nation's dioceses.

In 1926, as Archbishop, Matulaitis traveled to the United States for a second time, and participated in a Eucharistic Congress in Chicago. He returned to Lithuania and completed the negotiations with the Lithuanian government. In Kaunas, a city under curfew, Matulaitis fell ill. Because of the curfew, he remained in his apartment, and died of a ruptured appendix on 27 January 1927.

Personal Motto

Overcome evil with good.

--taken from Saint Paul the Apostle; inscribed on Matulaitis' coat of arms.


  • Bishop Emeritus of Vilnius
  • Titular Archbishop of Adulis
  • Superior General of Congregation of Marian Fathers


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Marianistes polonais — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Société de Marie (Marianistes), Pères maristes et Frères maristes. Le bienheureux Stanislas de Jésus et Marie Papczyński, fondateur de la congrégation, sur un portait de la fin du XVIIe siècle, monastè …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Congregation of Marian Fathers — Blessed Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary Papczyński, Founder of the Marians, on the oldest existing portrait from the end of the 17th C., Marian monastery in Skórzec, Poland. The Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the Most …   Wikipedia

  • List of Lithuanians — This is a list of Lithuanians, both people of Lithuanian descent and people with the birthplace or citizenship of Lithuania.In a case when a person was born in the territory of former Grand Duchy of Lithuania and not in the territory of modern… …   Wikipedia

  • Liste der Erzbischöfe von Wilna — Die folgenden Personen waren Bischöfe und Erzbischöfe von Vilnius (Litauen): 1388–1398 Andreas I. Jastrzębiec, O.F.M. 1399–1407 Jakob Plichta, O.F.M. 1408–1414 Mikołaj Gorzkowski 1415–1422 Piotr Krakowczyk 1422–1453 Maciej Wilnianin 1453–1467… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • January 27 — Events* 98 Trajan becomes Roman Emperor after the death of Nerva. *661 Rashidun Caliphate ended with death of Ali. *1142 Wrongful execution of noted Song Dynasty General Yue Fei. *1186 Henry VI, the son and heir of the Holy Roman Emperor… …   Wikipedia

  • Pietro Gasparri — Pietro Cardinal Gasparri Ph.D (May 5, 1852 – November 18, 1934) was a Roman Catholic archbishop, diplomat and politician in the Roman Curia and signatory of the Lateran Pacts. Born in Capovallazza di Ussita, province of Macerata, Gasparri served… …   Wikipedia

  • Roman Catholicism in Lithuania — The Roman Catholic Church in Lithuania is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome.It is the most Catholic of all the Baltic states: there are almost three million Catholics, around …   Wikipedia

  • Vatican and Eastern Europe (1846–1958) — The Vatican and Eastern Europe (1846 1958) describes the relations from the pontificate of Pope Pius IX (1846 1878) through the pontificate of Pope Pius XII (1939 1958). It includes the relations of the Church State (1846 1870) and the Vatican… …   Wikipedia

  • Mecislovas Reinys — Mečislovas Reinys (* 5. Februar 1884 in Madagaskaras Dorf, Bezirk Utena, Pfarrgemeinde Daugailiai, Region Zarasai; † 8. November 1953 in Wladimir (Russland)) war litauischer Geistlicher und Politiker sowie Weihbischof in Vilnius. Ausbildung 1909… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mečislovas Reinys — Reinys auf einer litauischen Briefmarke (2009) Mečislovas Reinys (* 5. Februar 1884 in Madagaskaras Dorf, Bezirk Utena, Pfarrgemeinde Daugailiai, Region Zarasai; † 8. November 1953 in Wladimir (Russland)) war litauischer Geistlicher und Politiker …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”