Antanas Mackevičius

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Antanas Mackevičius (Polish: Antoni Mackiewicz)[1] (June 14, 1828 in Morkiai, near Kelmė – December 16, 1863 in Kaunas) – was a Lithuanian priest and one of the initiators and leaders of the 1863 January Uprising in the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania,[2] on the lands of the partitioned Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.[1][3]

Biography[edit]

Antanas Mackevičius was born into a family of minor Polish-Lithuanian nobility.[4] Between 1846-1849, after finishing his secondary education at the gymnasium in Vilnius, he continued his studies at St. Vladimir University in Kiev. During this period a series of political upheavals occurred throughout the European continent, the Revolutions of 1848, which spread eastward. As a consequence of these events and influenced by them, Mackevičius began to consider the possibility of liberating Lithuania from the Russian Empire. In 1850 he left Kiev and entered the seminary in Varniai. He was ordained, and between 1853 and 1855 he served as the vicar in Krekenava, and between 1856 and 1862, served as pastor of the church in Paberžė.

According to Jurgis Želvys, following the unsuccessful 1831 Uprising, Antanas Mackevičius, like most of the Lithuanian nobility, did not lose hope of restoring Lithuania's independence.[2] A new opportunity arose in the spring of 1863, when a subsequent uprising against the Russian Empire spread to Lithuania. Antanas Mackevičius was one of the first to openly agitate for Lithuanian independence. In a sermon at the church in Paberžė he called upon the people to rise up and restore independence, and promised to reorganize society by granting greater rights for peasants, and also promised them land. Mackevičius also criticized Polish nobility attempts to attach Lithuania to Poland.[2] However, according to Timothy Snyder, although now seen as a "proto-Lithuanian nationalist", Mackevičius' goal was indeed to recreate the Grand Duchy - but "in a provisional association with Poland" [5]

Mackevičius succeeded in organizing some two hundred and fifty men, armed with hunting rifles and straightened scythes. Mackevičius' platoon fought until November 26, but after a defeat near Vilkija on December 17, he was captured and taken to the prison in Kaunas. After Mackevičius refused to betray other leaders of the uprising, he was hanged on December 28, 1863 by the direct order of Mikhail Nikolayevich Muravyov-Vilensky.[6] An attempt to rescue him by a group from Aleksotas did not get beyond the planning stages and therefore unable to prevent his execution.

In Lithuania, thirty thousand poorly trained and armed insurgents faced approximately one hundred and forty-five thousand regular Russian troops.

Memorial[edit]

In Kėdainiai there is commemorative exposition honoring Antanas Mackevičius' legacy at the town's museum. It contains many of Antanas Mackevičius' personal artifacts - his furniture, private letters, documents, and other items.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b (Polish) Antoni Mackiewicz in Wielka Ilustrowana Encyklopedja Powszechna, volume IX; Kraków: Gutenberga, s. 260.
  2. ^ a b c Antanas Mackevičius ir Paberžė. Retrieved on 2009-11-13
  3. ^ Antoni Mackiewicz in God's Playground, a History of Poland: 1795 to the present by Norman Davies, Columbia University Press
  4. ^ Lietuvos katalikų dvasininkai ir 1863 metų sukilimas. Retrieved on 2009-11-13
  5. ^ Timothy Snyder (2004). The reconstruction of nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999. Yale University Press. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-0-300-10586-5. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  6. ^ (Lithuanian) Virginija Skučaitė. Egzekucijų vietos Kaune // Kauno diena. 2002 m. liepos 27 d. [1]
  7. ^ 1863 metų sukilimo muziejus. 2009-11-13
  • (Lithuanian) Gediminas Ilgūnas. Antanas Mackevičius: sukilimo žygiai ir kovos. V.: Versus Aureus, 2007. - 303, [1] . ISBN 978-9955-34-009-6
  • (Lithuanian) Arūnas Gumuliauskas. Baudžiavos panaikinimas ir 1863 m. sukilimas. Lietuva: nuo valstybės susikūrimo iki valstybės atkūrimo. Vilnius: 1993. – p. 229–232.