From the Reformation in 1561 to 1617, the Catholic Church in the Duchy of Courland was prohibited by law. Catholic church returned to the Suiti region only in in 1632, when the owner of the area, Johann Ulrich von Schwerin, reintroduced the Catholic faith. In 1634, he handed over the Alšvanga church and the chapel in Felixberg (today Jūrkalne) to the Catholic congregation. He also invited Jesuits to spread the Catholic faith among the local population.
Johann Ulrich von Schwerin’s passionate promotion of the Catholic Church led to his poisoning in 1637. The simmering conflict between Catholics and Lutherans could be resolved here only after the personal intervention of the Polish king Wladyslaw, who approved the churches of Alšvanga and Felixberg for the Catholics.
The history of the Catholic anclave of Suiti, started in 1632 by Johann Ulrich von Schwerin, continues until today. There are three Catholic churches and three parishes in the Suiti region. Built in 1625, the Alšvanga (Alsunga) church still delights both residents and visitors of the region. In 1882, it was significantly expanded, taking the shape of a cross. The current church in Jūrkalne was built in 1862. The construction of the existing church in Gudenieku was started in 1930 and completed around 1947. In the following sections, you can learn more about the history of each church and the clergy who worked there.