Lithuania - (Europa)

Informationen über Lithuania

65301 Quadratkilometer
Roman Catholic 79%, Russian Orth 4.07%, Old rites orthodox 0.78%, Lutherans 0.56%, Reformed 0.2%, Jehovah witnesses 0.09%, Muslims 0.08%, Free Churches 0.08%, no religious or others 15.12%
Christen (%)
Protestanten (%)
Reformierte (%)

Christianity officially took root in Lithuania in 1387 when King Jogaila (in Polish Jagiello) renounced paganism and married the RCath queen Hedwig of Poland. The dual kingdom of Lithuania-Poland was thus born, and the fortunes of the two peoples became intertwined. From the 13th till the 16th century the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which is sometimes called the state of Belarusan-Lithuanian by historians, was one of the largest, most powerful, and most flourishing states in medieval Eastern Europe. It comprised the lands of contemporary Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, and a part of Russia.
Protestantism came to Lithuania in the early Reformation years. Lutheranism arrived in the beginning of the 1520s. Young people of prominent families went to schools in Scotland, Bohemia, France, and Switzerland and helped to promote the Calvinist religion upon returning to their home country. The first Ref Synod took place in December 14, 1557 in Vilnius. John Calvin himself corresponded with Duke Radvila ("Radziwill"), the leading magnate of the country. Vilnius, with its numerous nationalities, also became a religious center. Under the "Magna Charta Libertatum," issued in 1563, Luth and Calvinists enjoyed equal rights with all other faiths. During the Counter-Reformation Prot, like other minorities, lost their civil rights. Though subjected to discrimination, the Lithuanian Reformed church survived and met regularly in synods.
In 1795 tsarist Russian troops invaded the country. Religious discrimination affected all non-Russian Orthodox believers, but it stopped aggressive discrimination of Reformed people by RCath state authorities. During the time of national independence, i.e.,1918-1940, the country gained new strength. During World War II Lithuania was invaded by the Soviet Union (1940) and later occupied by Germans (1941-1944). Fierce fights destroyed part of the country. Over 300,000 died. Hundreds of thousands fled when Russian troops came back in 1944. Many Lithuanians escaped to Western countries. Today over 850,000 Lithuanians still live in the USA alone. For five decades the Soviet Union imposed its rule and its atheist system on the country. Church property was confiscated, preaching restricted, teaching forbidden. Over 250,000 Lithuanians died in camps in Siberia. An equal number of Russian immigrants settled in Lithuania.
On March 11, 1990, in the wake of the changes in the Soviet Union, the Lithuanian parliament proclaimed independence. Lithuania is today an independent republic within the Baltic free zone of exchange and is a member of the Council of Europe.


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