RIGA - Vitolds Masnovskis spent more than 13 years gathering the information for his extraordinarily detailed and lovingly compiled "The Lutheran Churches of Latvia."
The first volume was published a year ago, prompting the literary critic Peteris Bankovskis to write: "Only a pure enthusiast has enough energy for such grand works in such an adverse environment." Masnovskis has now published the second volume of his encyclopedic work, which is every bit as rich and fascinating as the first.
Within this collection of encyclopedias - at least the first two so far finished - there is everything you could possibly want to know about Latvia's diverse and rich collection of Lutheran churches, from their architecture to their history. Much of the more interesting historical details relate to the German barons who often funded the construction of the churches, and the bizarre uses these same churches were later put to during Soviet times. In 1972, for example, a particularly fine church in Adazi was used as a storage house for empty bottles and containers.
So far, the first two books of Masnovskis' planned four-volume set are truly a labor of love and deserve an audience well beyond the interest of academics, historians and architecture enthusiasts. Hopefully, his years of hard work and extraordinary devotion will pay off.
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