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Kazimieras Prapuolenis


Kazimieras PRAPUOLENIS (1858-1933), Roman Catholic priest, recipient of the Orders of Gediminas and of Vytautas the Great, born in Lauckaimis, county of Sakiai, on March 1, 1858. He studied at the Theological Seminaries of Warsaw and St. Petersburg and took his candidate's degree in theology (1885) at the Theological Academy of St. Petersburg. While working there as secretary of the metropolitan curia, he succeeded in introducing Lithuanian-language sermons and hymns at St. Petersburg Cathedral; through his efforts and the influence of Archbishop Klopotowski, St. Nicholas Church in Vilnius was assigned for use to the Lithuanian community; he was one of the founders of the first Lithuanian society in St. Petersburg (1892). He used his contacts among Russian intellectuals and government circles to agitate in favor of abolishing the ban on Lithuanian-language publications in force since 1864, demonstrating that it was based on an illegal administrative decree; the case was brought before the Supreme Court, whose ruling resulted in the ban's repeal in 1904. That same year he was dismissed from his duties as secretary. Thereupon he took up residence at Seinai, southern Lithuania, where, with Rev. Juozas Laukaitis as his partner, he founded the weekly Šaltinis (The Source, 1906) and the monthly Vadovas (The Guide, 1908) for priests. In his numerous articles for Lithuanian and foreign (Italian, German) periodicals, he frequently discussed Lithuanian-Polish relations and criticized the methodic Polonization practiced in Lithuania. Some of these articles were published as a separate pamphlet entitled Ze stosunkow litewsko-polskich (Some Aspects of Lithuanian-Polish Relations, 1907). His partially completed historical survey of Lithuanian sermons (Katalikiškoji lietuvių pamokslija) was published in Vadovas (1908-09). While living in Kaunas, he thoroughly researched Polonization practices prevalent in the Church and published his findings under the title Polskie apostolstwo na Litwie (The Polish Apostleship in Lithuania, 1913). Written in Polish in a journalistic style, the work appeared in a Lithuanian translation in 1918 and 1928, and in a French translation in 1916. In 1912 Martynas Yeas, member of the Russian parliament (Duma), obtained for him the office of rector of St. Stanislas' Church at Rome, which belonged to the Russian embassy. During the eight years that he held this post, his office was a focal point for Lithuanian priests studying in Rome as well as for visiting Lithuanians. Following the restoration of independent Lithuania (1918), he served for a time as his country's unofficial representative at the Vatican. On his return to Lithuania in 1921, he was charged with organizing a department for religious affairs and was its director for almost five years. He resigned for reasons of health in 1925 and settled in Palanga, where he died on April 17, 1933.
Bibl.: A. Dambrauskas-Jakštas, Užgesę Žiburiai, Kaunas, 1930: A. Dubinskas, "Kazimiero Prapuolenio nuopelnai savają spaudą atgaunant." Lietuvos Aidas, No. 166, 1933 (Kaunas); B. Prapuolenis, "Atsiminimai apie Kazimiera Prapuoleni," Draugas, No. 126, 1953 (Chicago).


Text from the ENCYCLOPEDIA LITUANICA I-VI.  Boston, 1970-1978