In 1520 a Catholic church was built in Elija (Šventoji). After 1540 Elija’s priest became familiar with Lutherans, and the church had got much closer to Curonians residing in this area. During the flood in the autumn, 1637, the church was washed down with water. Construction of a new church began in 1638. The church destroyed by time was built anew in 1727, and in 1728 priest Venkis consecrated the church. In 1809 the church in Elija collapsed again. In 1816 tsar Alexander I visited Curonian province. Rucava priest Baunbach who participated in the ceremonial welcome of the tsar handed in to him an application of Butinge, Elija and other neighbouring villages’ residents asking to restore the church in Elija. Alexander satisfied the request of the residents and allocated 40 000 roubles for implementation of this project. It took rather long to choose a place for the church; although in 1822 basement for the stone church was layed next to the Butinge estate. In 1824 the church was consecrated. Passions had still long raged and accusations were heard that the architect and the manager of Butinge estate built the church in Butinge by fraud, while in fact those were Elija’s residents who were favoured by the tsar. Parish in Butinge (in Šventoji) earlier used to be a part of Rucava’s parish.