Famous people

  • 1953 – 1932


    Vladyslav Kozakevič – Polish pole jumper, Summer Olympic in Moscow champion in 1980, three-time world record holder, European Athletics Indoor champion in 1977 and 1979, 10 times Polish champion.

    He was born on December 8 in 1953 in Šalčininkai city. In 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow he was remarkable not only by winning the gold medal, but also because of the so-called “Kozakevič gesture”. During the final jump, while Kozakevič was performing his jump, the spectators furiously made a lot of noise, because his major opponent was the Soviet Union athlete Konstantin Volkov. Kozakevič jumped over 5.78 m high, which brought him the gold medal. After jumping V. Kozakevič figuratively raised a clenched fist towards the gathered spectators.

    This gesture has been shown all over the world during the Olympics Games translation on television, with the exception of the USSR. This gesture became a symbol of the fight against the communist system and won popularity in Poland, where one month latter, in August 1980, the Solidarity movement started. After the Olympics the USSR ambassador in Poland said that Kozakevič does not deserve the medal for the lack of respect for the Soviet people, but the Polish government said that it was not a gesture but a hand cramp. In 1998-2002 V. Kozakevič was the Gdynia City Council member.


    ana-krepstulKrepštul Anna was born on February 20 in 1932 in Tabariškės. Since childhood Anna characterized her talent and passion for art. She had been supported by her father, her first art lessons she also received from father, whose hobby was carving and technology. He built himself a house and constructed a car. This artistic atmosphere was surrounded by infinite love and warmth of Anna mother. She took care of her children, husband, home, loved literature and writing letters.

    It seemed that little Anna and her loved ones are safe and happy in a small family world. This cozy life was shattered by the 10-year-old Anna disease. It was a beginning of a long struggle with osteoporosis and bone tuberculosis. Art and painting helped her to deal with honour with the weakness and imprisonment in a wheelchair (since 1978). Long hours of pain, staying in sickbed, hope for the better had been reflected in beautiful paintings. Her work was kind of an escape from 77 bone fractures, flight towards liberation from suffering. Each landscape, portrait, still life, flowers, cats, every painting of the Virgin Mary is the story of what was important to the painter at that time. Her paintings are lively, saturated with colours and light. An important place in her works won admiration for the Tabariškės village nature. Merkys tributaries, shining ponds, meadow flowers are painted and embroidered on the canvas.

    Many people loved Anna for her spiritual calmness, friendliness, love for God and family, they were learning about patriotism, honesty and empathy from her. Most people knew and appreciated her creative work. The first 16-year-old Anna Krepštul exhibition was opened in 1948 in Vilnius. Another exhibition took place only in 1985. Then the Folk Art Association (liet. Liaudies kūrybos draugija) gave her a Folk artist title.

    During his lifetime Anna painted over three and a half thousand paintings, which today are in private collections and galleries in Poland, Lithuania, the USA, England, Germany, France, Australia, Canada, the Vatican and in many churches.

    From the first to the last moments Anna Krepštul was in a close relation with people: her parents, brother Henry, sister Danuta, clergy, friends, doctors, journalists and politicians. Many people went to Tabariškės village to meet her, to hear a good word.
    Ana died on October 12 in 2007, while she was waiting for her friends visit. Now we can visit her grave in Tabariškės cemetery.

  • 1888 – 1906


    Juzefas ObrembskisThe priest prelate Juzefas Obrembskis, called also Vilnius Region spiritual father, was born on March 19 in 1906 in Novy Skaržine (Poland). In 1925 he entered Vilnius Spiritual Seminary, a year later was admitted to Vilnius Stefan Batory University Theology Faculty, where he graduated in 1932. In June of the same year he was ordained to the priesthood in Turgeliai. In 1950 he was sent to work in St. Virgin Mary of the Assumption parish in Maišiagala. Despite the prohibitions priest actively exercised his Pastor duties, not only took care of the spiritual life of the parishioners, but also took care of elderly priests, who were hiding from the Bolsheviks. Rescued many parishioners from exile. Vilnius Region spiritual father gave up neither under the German nor the Communist persecution and to end of life cared about the people spiritual life.

    Obrembskis, called alsothe “Vilnius region patriarch” died on June 7 in 2011 in Maišiagala. For active pastoral work J. Obrembskis was awarded by the President of Poland with the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Gold Cross of Poland, Cross of Merit (Poland).


    Mykolas SopočkoMykolas was born on November 1 in 1888 in Józewszczyzna, which is now the Belarus territory. He graduated from the Vilnius Spiritual Seminary and in 1914 he was ordained a priest. In 1914-1918 he was Tabariškės village parish vicar. Later he lived in Warsaw, where he studied theology and pedagogy at the University of Warsaw, he also was the military chaplain. In 1924 he arrived to Vilnius and continued his pastoral work and organized Catholic youth associations. In 1927-1932 he was the Vilnius Spiritual Seminary spiritual father, and from 1928 he worked at the Stefan Batory University Faculty of Theology and Spiritual Seminary.

    Dedicated to his scientific and didactic activities he worked as a pastor, encouraged activities of the Catholic societies, as well as listening to confessions of Catholic Monks Congregations. In 1934-1938 served in St. Michael’s church as a rector and chaplain at the Sisters of Bernardine. In 1933 he met Sister Faustyna Kowalska and became her confessor and spiritual guide. He helped her to understand her revelations and to engage in God’s mercy promotion. He ordered Faustyna to write “The Diary”, suggested to make a Merciful Jesus image painting, published the first prayers of God’s mercy cult. Was suggesting that the authority of the Church would announce the God’s Mercy celebration and approve its cult. In his scientific works was promoting the God’s Mercy cult biblical and theological foundations.

    It was not lucky enough to receive the fruits of his efforts, but he left this world believing that his ambition will finally come true. He died in 1975 in Bialystok. Church authorities soon began to gradually popularize the cult and in 2000 John Paul II, when canonizing Sister Faustyna Kowalska, announced the celebration of God’s Mercy Day on the second Easter Sunday. Modest work, began in Vilnius by St. Faustyna and Blessed Mykolas Sopočka, their dedication and passion brought fruits and hope for the future. Zealous preacher, pastor, educator of priests, monks guardian and, most importantly, a tireless apostle of God’s mercy received a gift for his saintly life – in 2008 in Bialystok he was beatified. There, in the Shrine of Divine Mercy, his relics are being kept.

  • 1794 – 1786


    Mykolas Balinskis was born in 1794 in Terespol, near Vitebsk. Graduated from the Gymnasium in Vilnius and continued his education at Vilnius University Institute of Physics and Mathematical Sciences. In 1814 Mykolas received a master’s degree in philosophy, moved to study on the Literature and the Free Arts Faculty. He belonged to the Šubravcų Association, along with the University professors and influential residents of the city.

    In 1820 Balinskis married Zofija Sniadeckytė, a famous Vilnius professor and scientist Andrius Sniadeckis daughter.
    When in 1830 in late autumn begun the Warsaw Uprising, in Vilnius was formed the Uprising Central Committee, where Mykolas Balinskis took part. In May 1831 M. Balinskis was arrested, but soon released.

    Later, M. Balinskis lived in Warsaw, in 1848 he returned to Lithuania and settled down in Jašiūnų mansion.
    Balinskis played an important role in shaping the Lithuanian historiography and defining its problematics. His researches on Vilnius University, history of Vilnius city and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and his work on Barbara Radziwiłł were being continued. In 1815 M. Balinskis and J. Lelevelis founded a Polish magazine “Tygodnik Wileński”. In 1816-1822 Balinskis edited the magazine. He was also a Vilnius Archaeological Commission Vice-president and a member of the Imperial Russian Geographic Society. In 1837 M. Balinskis wrote a detailed two-volume history of Vilnius, he collected and published many interesting materials about Lithuanian cities and towns, churches and estates. In addition to Vilnius history, Balinskis wrote on Polish history, Vilnius statistical description, memories about the queen Barbara Radziwiłł, memories about Jonas and Andrius Sniadeckiai, two-volume historical writings, historical studies.


    Born in 1786 in the then Prussia. He was a recognized pharmacist in Vilnius, one of the fifteen Vilnius Medical Society (VMD) founders, active public figure, left a deep trace in Lithuanian science and culture. In the pharmacists periodical publication “Vilnius pharmaceutical Guide”( liet. „Vilniaus farmacijos žinynas“) he wrote publications not only about the toxicological tests carried out in his Žydroji Farmacy laboratory, pharmaceutical technology, but also about England and France pharmaceutical development.
    Vagneris career was ruined by the tsarist government repression. For anti-tsarist activities he was detained and imprisoned in St. Petersburg,then in 1830 exiled for two years to Siberia. After long years of captivity Vagneris returned to Lithuania with his wife Ana, bought an estate in Šalčininkai and moved there to live. He took a good care of the mansion and modernized the farm.
    After the death of Karolis Vagneris the mansion was managed by his son Olgierd, and after his death – Olgierd’s son Vitoldas. Šalcininkų manor flourished especially in the interwar period, when it was managed by Vitoldas son Karolis. Vagners farm at that time was considered exemplary in Vilnius region, foreign delegations were brought to see the farm.

  • 1768 – 1756


    Jons Sniadeckis

    Jonas Sniadeckis was born in Żnin. He graduated the Lubranski College in 1772-1775 in Poznań city. Then he studied mathematics and philosophy in Krakow University. In Nowodworscy High School Sniadeckis taught mathematics, physics, logic, political economy. In 1778 he left to study at Western European research centers: Gutenberg and Sorbonne Universities.

    In 1781 J. Sniadeckis returned to his homeland and took the lead of the Cracow University higher mathematics and astronomy department. During this period, Jonas Sniadeckis released higher algebra tutorial, published on astronomical research topics, wrote a treatise about Copernicus.

    In 1806 he was nominated as a Vilnius University astronomy professor and Vilnius University rector in years 1807-1815. Published his work on spherical trigonometry, released philosophical treatises, two of them – on metaphysics and philosophy. A crater on the far side of the Moon was called by his name.

    On Jonas Sniadeckis initiative a mansion in Jašiūnai was built in years 1824 – 1828. Here he created a rich library, a collection of paintings, he also built a small observatory. Jašiūnų mansion became a top destination of the Vilnius intelligentsia. Here Jonas Sniadeckis died at the age of 74. The family decided to bury him in the woods in front of the mansion, on the right bank of the Merkys where Jonas loved to walk.


    Andrius SniadeckisHe was born in Żnin, now Poland. In 1787-1791 he studied medicine at the University of Cracow, attended Padua, Edinburgh, London, Vienna Universities. In 1797-1832 he was a professor of chemistry at the Vilnius University. In the Vilnius University A. Sniadeckis installed a chemical laboratory, wrote the first chemistry handbook in Lithuania, also was one of the creators of the Polish chemical terminology. He is considered the pioneer of biochemistry Lithuania, and his work “Theory of organic bodies” was one of the first handbooks of biology and biochemistry in the world, translated into French and German languages.

    A. Sniadeckis promoted hygiene, healthy diet, physical education, called for improvements to medical assistance. It was one of the founders of a Polish magazine “Dziennik Wileński” and its editor, one of the founders of Vilnius Medical Association and its president. Also belonged to Šubravcų (the Rascals) Association and since 1819 was its president. When the Vilnius University was closed, Śniadecki used to be a lecturer at the Vilnius Academy of Medicine and Surgery. He died in Vilnius.

  • 1793 – 1485


    povilas-ksaveras-bzostovskisP.K. Bžostovskis, who belonged to the Stirrup coat of arms, was born on March 30 1739 in Vilnius region. His parents were a prominent Lithuanian writer Juzefas Bžostovskis and Liudwika Sadovska the mayor of Slonim. At the age of thirteen P.K. Bžostovskis chose a spiritual path. First, he studied at the Vilnius University Jesuit College of Priests and Warsaw Academy of Missionary Priests. Later he studied at the prestigious Collegium Clementium in Rome.

    After his father’s death, when he already was a priest, P.K. Bžostovskis give up part of his wealth and bought a Merkinė mansion near Turgeliai. He called his property the Pavlov Republic. The vast majority of the peasant farms were empty, granges were collapsed and local landowners were surprised why Bžostovskis purchased such a questionable value Merkinė estate. No one could even suspect that soon there will occur an unprecedented experiment, when the peasant community will be organized in such way that it would reach the heights of wellbeing and prosperity.

    In 1769 priest P.K. Bžostovskis passed a law according to which the Pavlov’s estate life had to be organized. The law contained 8 paragraphs which included: the Catholic duties, justice, court reports, landowners police, schools and doctors regulations, peasants fees. On the basis of this law Bžostovskis possession was declared a self-governing Republic, which consisted of tax paying citizens, nobles, residents and lodger. The authority of this Republic was the governor, authorized by the property owner, to continue its deputy-vicar. Bžostovskis declared himself the president of the Republic. From 1769 there was a school for children of citizens in the City Hall . Here also the meetings and citizens-sessions were held.

    Kościuszko Uprising defeat and the last Polish-Lithuanian division was a major cause of the collapse of Pavlov Republic. In the middle of July, when no one had any clue of the defeat of the uprising, Bžostovskis went to Warsaw. At the time, being in the Warsaw Royal Palace, Brzostovskis followed with horror the tragic events of the Polish front, October defeat near Maciejowice, Tadeusz Kościuszko capture, November Warsaw defeat. Before the last Polish-Lithuanian division Bžostovskis decided to sell the Pavlov possession to the count Fryderyk Moszyński. He set a condition to the new owner to diligently follow Pavlov property laws. Bžostovskis also left 20 thousand Zlotys for the hospital and school maintenance. Then emigrated from Warsaw and lived in Dresden, later in Italy. After five years of staying abroad he returned to Vilna land, sick and poor. He bought a small house and settled in Turgeliai village.

    Merkinė estate owner was also a prominent writer and the Vilnius Tribunal deputy, secular and theological literature patron, Turgeliai parish pastor, a translator, philanthropist. The last years of his life, Brzostowski dedicated to pastoral activity and creativity. He died on November 17 in 1827, being 88 years old and was buried in the Rukainių church which restoration he had sponsored during his life. Many Turgelių parishioners took part in his funerals.


    stanislovas-rapolionisBorn around 1485-1500 near Eišiškės, one of the pioneers of Lithuanian writings, the first Lithuanian who defended a doctoral degree in Protestant theology at the Protestant University, the first professor of theology at the University of Konigsberg.

    Comes from the Lithuanian small and poor nobility family from Eišiškės town. The family had no subordinates and the household and property did not differ from the peasants household. S. Rapalionis was in poor health, not wery tall and hunchbacked, but extraordinary talented, gifted with sharp mind and good eloquence. He got interested in Martin Luther’s doctrine, in about 1525 he left the monastery and began to give lectures in noble estates.
    Rapalionis knew very well the old Latin, Greek and Hebrew, as well as Lithuanian and Polish languages. He was a great orator – he literally recited his lectures. He was translating the Bible into the Polish language, it is believed that he was the first author to translate it also to Lithuanian language (unfortunately the translation had not survived), translated some chants to Lithuanian, one of them is “A Song about the Jesus Christ suffering” ( liet. „Giesmė apie kentėjimą Jėzaus Kristaus“), which was later included in M. Mažvydas book of chants (1570), wrote theological works in Latin.

    Self-employed for just one a year, Rapalionis wasn’t able to reveal all of his intellectual capacities. However, in a very short time he managed to leave a distinct mark in three nations cultural history – Lithuanian, Polish and German.

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