Donelaitis, Kristijonas

Donelaitis, Kristijonas Image 1

Kristijonas Donelaitis

K. Donelaitis was born on January 1, 1714 in Lasdinehlen village in East Prussia. His father was a free peasant. Donelaitis' mother raised her children well, in spite of her husband's early death, her son Pričkus (Friedrich) became a famous goldsmith in Königsberg, a musician, physicist and a horologist, known as the first fortepiano to be constructed in Prussia maker. Other brothers of Donelaitis were crafty too. Kristijonas was a priest but he loved to build barometers and watches, was a gardener and also he was the one to make the second fortepiano in Prussia. 1736-1740 Donelaitis studied theology at the University of Königsberg. While studying he took part in Lithuanian language seminars. After graduation he could write in Greek, Latin, French, Lithuanian, German and Hebrew, knew antique, baroque and classicism literature and was recognized/adressed as "teacher" in Tollmingkehmen community. In the summer of 1740 Donelaitis (right after the graduation) was assigned as Stallupönen schools second teacher and as the cantor for a student choir, and soon afterwards the rector of the school and married former rectors widow Anna Regina Ohlefant.

During the spring of 1743 Donelaitis was assigned as Tollmingkehmen pastor and continued this duty until death. He built a church in Tollmingkehmen as well as a school and a widow-house. there are six fables of Donelaitis in Lithuanian language alongside with a few German verses and religious canticles. Donelaitis died on February 18, 1780 and was buried in Tollmingkehmen.

He has not printed any of his works. after his death, his wife consigned these works to a family friend, a pastor of Walterkehmen, J. Jordan. Later on these were passed to University of Königsberg professor Ludwig Rhesa, who published four of Donelaitis' songs (as "The Seasons") and fables. Rhesa's caption and the order in which he set songs befit and remain the same.