Gediminas Hill reinforcement works, which began on 3 January 2017, accidentally unearthed burials. Following the identification of the remains of the participants of the 1863-1864 uprising, executed in Lukiškės Square in Vilnius, the continued search led to the unearthing of the remains of 21 men. It was decided to hold a State Funeral ceremony for the commanders and fighters of the 1863-1864 uprising in cooperation with Poland, in exactly one month, i.e. 22 November. The reburial will take place at the Rasos Cemetery in Vilnius.
Towards the end of the 18th century, following the partitioning of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth between Russia, Prussia and Austria, the lands of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania fell under the control of Russian Empire. The 19th century was marked by repeated rebellions against the oppressors in different parts of the former state. One of the last attempts to restore independence was the 1863-1864 uprising.
The uprising against the Russian Empire broke out in January 1863 in Warsaw, the Kingdom of Poland. The uprising soon spread to the former lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the present territory of Belarus, Lithuania and of Ukraine. The uprising sought to restore the independent Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the 1772 boundaries, grant all the citizens equal civil rights and the right to land for peasants. In Lithuania, the insurgents also emphasised the struggle for the curbed rights of the Catholic Church, while in Belarus, the uprising itself and its leader Konstanty Kalinowski are associated more with the building of a modern Belarusian nation. The uprising engaged almost 200 000 members of different social backgrounds. In 1864, the Government of the Russian Empire quenched the uprising and took to repressive measures against the insurgents and the supporters of the uprising. The uprising has remained in the memory of the nations involved as a symbol of the uncompromising and self-sacrificing struggle for freedom, the right of nations to independent living and for civil rights.
From June 1863 to March 1864, following the orders of Governor General of Vilnius Mikhail Muravyov, 21 people were executed by hanging or shooting in Lukiškės Square, including the two key commanders of the uprising, Zygmunt Sierakowski and Konstanty Kalinowski. The following men were also executed for different acts of resistance to the tsarist rule: Bolesław Kołyszko - for leading a rebel squad; priests Stanisław Iszora and Rajmund Ziemacki - for reading out the manifesto of the uprising in churches; noblemen Julian Leśniewski and Albert Laskowicz for calling on peasants to rise up; Józef Jabłoński, Aleksander and Józef Rewkowski and Karol Sipowicz for organising an assault against the marshal of the nobility of Vilnius Governorate Aleksander Domejko. “Daggers” Jan Bienkowski and Jan Marczewski, sent out from Warsaw by the leaders of the uprising to kill the marshal of the nobility of Vilnius Governorate Aleksander Domejko; and their cooperator in secret police - nobleman from Kaunas Governorate Edward Czapliński - all of them were sentenced to death by hanging in Lukiškės Square. Death-sentenced leaders of the organisation of the uprising included Mieczysław Dormanowski from Warsaw and Ignacy Zdanowicz and Tytus Dalewski from Vilnius. Captured by various insurgent groups former Russian military officers and soldiers that helped the uprising were also shot dead, including Henryk Makowiecki, Władysław Nikolai, Kazimierz Syczuk and Jakub Czechan. Those that fought and died continued the tradition of fighting for the freedom of the Homeland and passed it on to future generations.
- PROGRAMME OF THE CEREMONY
22 November, Friday
8.30 Coffins of the commanders and fighters of the 1863-1864 uprising leave the courtyard of the Palace of Grand Dukes of Lithuania. A solemn military formation in Cathedral Square
8.40 Following the coffins of the commanders and fighters of the 1863-1864 uprising into the Cathedral Basilica of St. Stanislav and St. Vladislav
9.00–11.30 Public farewell
11.45 Arrival of state officials and foreign delegations at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Stanislav and St. Vladislav
12.00 Holy Mass celebration in the Cathedral Basilica of St. Stanislav and St. Vladislav. It will be celebrated by Metropolitan Archbishop of Vilnius, Gintaras Grušas, with the participation of Bishops and military Chaplains from Lithuania, Poland and Belarus
((Entrance to the Cathedral Basilica will be restricted, the Holly Mass will be streamed live on the screen in Cathedral Square (LRT live broadcast)
Holy Mass will be followed by farewell speeches given by state officials
13.20 Coffins of the commanders and fighters of the 1863-1864 uprising leave the Cathedral Basilica of St. Stanislav and St. Vladislav. Reburial procession heads towards the Old Rasos Cemetery.
(Procession route: streets of Vrublevskio, Šventaragio, Pilies, Didžioji, Aušros Vartų, Pelesos, Rasų to the Old Rasos Cemetery)
~ 14.00 Stopping the funeral procession at Aušros Vartai (Gate of Dawn). Chanting prayers in Lithuanian, Polish and Belarusian
~ 14.30 Procession arrives at the Old Rasos Cemetery
Entry to the Old Rasos Cemetery will be restricted, the reburial ceremony will be streamed live (LRT live broadcast)
14.40 Following the coffins of the commanders and fighters of the 1863-1864 uprising into Chapel of the old Rasos Cemetery, last farewell
End of the official part of the funeral
End of the State Funeral: firing salute in honour of the commanders and fighters of the 1863-1864 uprising and of all those who fought and laid down their lives for freedom.
~ 16.00 Old Rasos Cemetery Chapel open to public attendance