For a long time the parish in Meškuičiai has been famous for its Hill of Crosses, on which stood not less than three thousand crosses, and it was almost impossible to count the small ones. Each cross had its own history.
Here is what one priest has recounted:
"Once I was going to the Hill of Crosses to bless a newly-built cross. At that moment, a military vehicle drove up to the hill. Two Russian pilots who had brought a cross asked me to bless it. I carried out their request. One of the pilots described how his jet plane had once caught fire while he was flying. It is almost impossible to save yourself in such situations. Suddenly he had recalled some remarkable tales about the Hill of Crosses, and he had resolved that, if he survived, he would erect a cross there. It is uncertain why the plane caught fire, and just as unexpectedly it stopped burning."
Many people would come here on foot carrying crosses and erect them. Quite a few of them had been brought from Latvia, Estonia, Byelorussia, and the United States. The people say that so much suffering, so many illnesses have been brought to this hill. How, one wonders, does it bear so much suffering? It is a Lithuanian Golgotha.
Early in the morning on April 5, 1961, some automobiles drove up to the Hill of Crosses. Strange men began to pull down the crosses. The Hill of Crosses was being destroyed by the army, the police, and some prisoners. They burned the wooden crosses right on the spot, whereas the ones made from stone and concrete they smashed into pieces and hauled off to Šiauliai. It is said that they used them as gravel for a highway. They hauled two truck-loads of crosses to Bubniai and burned them, and the others, they sank. In one day, all the crosses were destroyed.
At the nearby crossroads stood policemen keeping watch that people would not head in the direction of the Hill of Crosses. Not far from the hill stood armed guards; they remained for a few more days, to prevent people from putting up crosses anew.
During this barbaric operation, Rugienis was "visiting" Šiauliai. After the crosses had been destroyed, he summoned the Rev. Mažanavičius, pastor of the parish in Šiauliai, and asked him:
"Did you hear what happened to Meškuičiai Hill?"
"No, I didn't."
"The crosses have gone up to heaven in smoke," explained Rugienis and ordered the pastor to use his influence with the people so that there would be no incidents.
On September 14, 1970, walking on bare and bleeding feet Father Algirdas Močius carried a wooden cross 65 km from the parish in Lauksodis to Meškuičiai and on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, erected it in the area ravaged by the atheists.