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Kazokiškės Church of Virgin Mary the Conqueror

According to the entries in Vilnius Diocese calendars, the first church of Kazokiškės was built back in 1609 by Landlord Stanislovas Beinartas. Other sources claim that the first church in Kazokiškės had to be built sometime between 1638 and 1641.

When repairs were done in 2006, the old and cracked plaster above the entrance to the sacristy was removed to reveal a large fragment of a brick arch. It could have only one purpose, that of large doors leading to the brick church that stood in the place of the present-day sacristy and that has retained only several of its walls remaining intact. This means that the present-day church built between 1783 and 1790 has fragments of the old church dating back to the year 1609. During the cleaning of the attic, remainders of roof tiles were found proving that the church used to have a sturdy roof suitable for such a type of a building. As willed by its sponsor, Kazokiškės Church was given to the Paparčiai Dominican Order and was deemed a filial church of Paparčiai Church until 1864, when the central government ordered the Paparčiai Monastery to be closed down and Kazokiškės Church was affiliated with Žasliai Parish. The present-day brick Kazokiškės Church was constructed with the endeavor and initiative of the Dominican Order. In 1789, the Pope gave wake to Kazokiškės Church and it was consecrated in 1790, if one is to believe the entries in the board bricked into the church wall. Kazokiškės Church was designed by Architect Augustinas Kosakauskas (1737-1803). The gates to the churchyard and the separate wooden bell tower were also built based on the architectural design prepared by Augustinas Kosakauskas.

According to the visitation of 1830, the church boasted Doric architectural order and was of 31.8 m in length, 15.6 m in width and 23.5 m in height. The roof was made of wooden tiles. A metal cross was placed at the top in the front. The churchyard had a perpendicular wooden board fence and a brick gate in front of the main entrance to the church. The bell tower boasted wooden columns and as many as three bells. The church had brick flooring, 7 windows and 5 altars, one of which was painted using optical art methods. The central altar was adorned with the painting of Virgin Mary the Conqueror. The church had five confessionals and the sacristy had a Swedish furnace.

In 1885, donations were collected for church repairs. In 1872, the General Governor of Vilnius received a request to use the donations given by the locals to construct a new wooden bell tower and to repair the presbytery. The request was granted. The visitation of 1891 indicated that the church had a bell tower made of four columns covered in wooden boards. It had three bells but two of them were cracked. The choir division had an organ that could produce 11 sounds, a copper drum, a brick pulpit, paintings of the 14 stations of the Way of the Cross, the remaining painting of Stanislovas Beinartas and 5 brick altars. The central altar was adorned in the painting of the Virgin Mary the Conqueror covered in another painting, Our Lady the Unwithering Rose. 1915, the church and parish buildings were evaluated. Based on the valuation, the churchyard was fenced with a brick fence, the church was covered in galvanized tin and plastered from the outside. The brick sacristy was also plastered. The church had 5 altars, the central one being wooden, new and old pipe organs, and 14 stations of the Way of the Cross. The following paintings were also documented: Virgin Mary, St. Casimir, St. Vincent, St. John, Crucifixion of Jesus, Holy Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God. The documents also contained entries of the liturgical inventory, assets of S. Beinartas and the parish buildings.

Kazokiškės Parish was officially established after 1918. The sermons were given in Polish in Kazkokiškės until the year 1925. Reverend Jonas Bobkevičius was proactive in propagating the use of the Polish language and was known for his strong belief that saying Praised be Jesus Christ in Lithuanian was a heavy sin. In addition to Polish sermons, sermons in the Lithuanian language were given in Kazkokiškės from 1925. In 1937, reverend Juozas Čaplikas made sure to order a new brick bell tower project, designed by Engineer Bernardas Žintelis. Apart from the construction of the bell tower, the church itself was also renovated: its interior was decorated and a new cemetery was established.

The interior of Kazokiškės Church is embellished with old and valuable pieces of art dating back to the times of the Dominican Order. The paintings in the altars are especially valued and honored, among them: Mother Mary and Baby Jesus, St. John the Baptist, St. Casimir, St. Vincent Ferrer, and St. Catherine of Siena. The oldest painting is that of Mary the Mother of God which is known for its many graces. The painting was brought in 1680 by Dominican Liudvikas Skickis after completing his studies in Rome. It is a copy of the miraculous painting of Our Lady of Victories of Naples. For some time, the painting was held in the monastery church of Paparčiai and was only later brought to Kazokiškės by the Dominicans. The painting of Mother Mary and Baby Jesus was known for granting miracles as proved by the entries in a special book dating back to the year 1700 and the many silver votive offerings that have been remolded into the crown and embossed casing for the painting. The special book contains as many as 127 entries about the miracles (graces) granted by this painting.

The crown and the casing made of the votive offerings were stolen in 1743.The present-day embossed casing was made in the second half of the 18th century. The painting of Mary the Mother of God that is famous for granting graces is still adorning the central altar.