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Lithuania’s Hill of Crosses

Hill of CrossesThere are tens of thousands of crosses planted on a hillside in Lithuania. The Hill of Crosses (Kryžiu Kalnas) is located in northern Lithuania near Šiauliai – the fourth largest city in the country. No one knows for sure why the custom started, but the crosses began appearing in the 14th century. Over the years, pilgrims journeyed there to place their own cross on the hill.

The city of Siauliai was founded in 1236 and controlled by Teutonic Knights during the 14th century. The tradition of placing crosses seems to date from this period and may have risen as a symbol of Lithuanian defiance toward foreign invaders. Since the medieval period, the Hill of Crosses has represented the peaceful resistance of Lithuanian Catholicism to oppression. In 1795, Siauliai was incorporated into Russia but was returned to Lithuania in 1918. Many crosses were erected upon the hill after the peasant uprising of 1831-63. By 1895, there were at least 150 large crosses, in 1914, 200, and by 1940 there were 400 large crosses surrounded by thousands of smaller ones.

crosses on a hillAfter being captured by Germany in World War II, the city suffered even more damage when Soviet Russia retook it at the war’s end. From 1944 until Lithuania’s independence in 1991, Siauliai was a part of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. During the Soviet era, the pilgrimage to the Hill of Crosses became expression of Lithuanian nationalism. The Soviets repeatedly removed the crosses placed on the hill by Lithuanians.

The hill was leveled three times: during 1961, 1973 and 1975. The crosses were burned or turned into scrap metal, and the area was covered with waste and sewage. Following each of these agonizing experiences local inhabitants and pilgrims from all over Lithuania rapidly replaced crosses upon the sacred hill. In 1985, the Hill of Crosses finally found peace. The reputation of the hill has since spread all over the world and every year it is visited by many thousands of visitors.

The size and variety of crosses is as amazing as their number. Beautifully carved out of wood or sculpted from metal, the crosses range from three meters tall to the countless tiny examples hanging profusely upon the larger crosses.

It is a wonder that the instrument of torture on which Jesus died has become the greatest symbol of Christian hope.

He is Risen.

Should We Keep "In God We Trust"?

In God We Trust - Faith and FactsHere’s your chance to let the media know where the people stand on our faith in God, as a nation. NBC is taking a poll on whether “In God We Trust” should stay on our American currency.

Please share your view and vote on this important subject. Perhaps you could pass it along to others as well.

“In God We Trust” poll

Post your view in the comments after you vote.

In God We Trust: The History

The Treasury Department reports that the motto, “IN GOD WE TRUST,” was added to coins around the time of the Civil War and was associated with increased religious fervor. Salmon P. Chase was the Secretary of the Treasury and he received thousands of requests from believers suggesting that the country express devotion to God by adding this phrase to our money.

The first request came in a letter on November 13, 1861 by Rev. M. R. Watkinson of Ridleyville, Pennsylvania. In a letter dated November 20, 1861, Secretary Chase instructed the director of the Philadelphia mint insert the motto:

In God We Trust - Faith and Facts “Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins. You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition. It was found that the Act of Congress dated January 18, 1837, prescribed the mottoes and devices that should be placed upon the coins of the United States.”

Pollock suggested “Our Trust Is In God,” “Our God And Our Country,” “God And Our Country,” and “God Our Trust.” Chase picked “In God We Trust.” The motto first appeared on our coins in 1864 and by 1909 it was included on most all coins. During the height of the cold war, on July 11, 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Public Law 140 making it mandatory that all coinage and paper currency display the motto.

In God We Trust: The Motto

The National Anthem is usually sung with only the first verse. The last stanza of the The Star-Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key in 1814 and later adopted as the national anthem, contains a variation of the phrase which became our motto; “…And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” The words were shortened to In God We Trust.

Urban Legends: Removing The Motto From Our MoneyIn God We Trust - Faith and Facts

New US dollar coins are being designed without the motto, “In God We Trust.”

According to Snopes.com this legend is FALSE. The motto is inscribed on the edge of the coin but is not omitted.

Conclusion

President Thomas Jefferson wrote, “The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time” and asked ‘Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are of God?’”

The Bible says:
It is better to trust the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).

It is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works” (Psalm 73:28 NKJV).

Cry Out To Jesus

Whatever your concern, burden, hurt, obstacle, weight – Cry Out To Jesus