A chapel in Genčai village, Kretinga district, was built in 1912 by Juozas Paulauskas. In Lithuania, where chapels and crosses are abundant, there is a tradition of rebuilding an old, dilapidated chapel or cross. Thus, following this tradition, as the old chapel disintegrated with time, Algirdas Mulvinskas replaced it by the present chapel in 2005. Usually efforts were made to copy of the old one as accurately as possible.

The wooden chapel is compact in volume, of a cross-shaped layout, covered with cross-shaped tin roof. The chapel has a frame structure, covered with vertical boards. On the three sides the chapel has wooden rectangular doors with glazing in the upper part. The roof has a metal decorated sun cross forged by a blacksmith in Quarter 1 of the 20th century.

The chapel interior contains two sculpture groups: The Burial of Christ carved by an unknown god carver at the end of the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th century, and The Blessed Virgin Mary of Sorrows with two angels. The first one consists of the following individual statuettes: Christ in the Coffin, The Blessed Virgin Mary of SorrowsSt. Mary Magdalene, St. John the Evangelist, St. Joseph Arimathian, St. Nicodemus, Angel. There is also the sculpture St. Joseph with Baby Jesus authored by the same god carver.

The theme of Our Lady of Sorrows is very popular in folk sculpture. The sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary are highlighted in sculptures where the earthly Mother of Jesus experiences the suffering of her Son’s torments on the way to Calvary. The Sorrowful Mother (Mater Dolorosa) stands stiff, with her arms crossed on her chest, deep in thought. The seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary are symbolized in the folk art by seven swords piercing the heart of Our Lady of Sorrows. We see this traditional storyline of the Blessed Lady of Sorrows in this chapel, as well, but some of the swords are damaged and gone.

Here one can see another surviving Samogitian tradition: dressing sculptures of saints with cloth clothes. Most often, as in this chapel, the Blessed Virgin Mary is dressed. Her robes remind those of queens or bridesmaids, and represent a very typical outfit. Mary’s sculptures are also dressed with bead and necklaces, as is the case with this chapel’s statue.




  • State/county: Kretinga district
  • Country: Lithuania