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Vilniaus Arkikatedros Šv. Kazimiero koplyčios kupolas ir paminklas Vilniaus įkūrimui The Catholic Church was important to Lithuania's statehood, from the very beginnings of the nation's Christianization through the struggles (1988-1991) to regain the country's independence. Throughout Russian Imperial rule during the 19th century, and the Soviet and Nazi occupations of the 20th century, the Church played a fateful role as Lithuania's custodian of human dignity.Kauno Arkikatedroje paskelbiama apie Lietuvos bažnyčios provincijos įkūrimą

Throughout the long five hundred years of Christianization beginning with the 14th century, the nation's aristocracy tried, without success, to persuade the Holy See to create a Lithuanian Church Province. The bishoprics of Vilnius and Žemaitija were dependencies of metropolitans whose centers were in Poland and Russia. A separate province finally created in 1927 did not include Vilnius or the larger Vilnius territory, then occupied by Poland. Only after 1992, upon reorganization of Lithuania's church province, did its territory and that of the state coincide.

Though the Catholic community was decidedly dominant, both in numbers and influence, during the 14th through the 18th centuries of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy, those who professed other faiths (Protestants, Moslems, Jews, etc.) enjoyed much broader rights than in many other European nations of that time.
During modern times a strong thread of human rights was woven into this tradition of living in harmony, and Lithuanian citizens of diverse ethnicity and religious faiths joined together in resisting, as far as was possible, the atheistic coercion of the Soviet system.

Lietuvos katalikų Bažnyčios kronikos pirmojo leidimo Amerikoje (1974) aplankasLithuania's first public societies - temperance societies - and the first social movement - the "book-carriers" - were direct outgrowths of the Catholic Church's educational and political activity. (The book-carriers were persons who, at great risk, smuggled books and other publications printed in Lithuanian, using the Latin alphabet, which had been proscribed by Imperial Russia). Catholic societal organization reached its apogee at the time of the first Independence (1918-1940), when every other Lithuanian inhabitant belonged to one or another of ten religious societies. During the years of Soviet occupation, the Catholic underground was a rallying force in the struggle for Independence. The "Chronicle of the Lithuanian Catholic Church", an illegal underground periodical reporting Soviet crimes from 1972 through 1988, became a voice heard round the world, which the KGB was unable to suppress. 

Short visit - Text and illustrations presented by the "Aidai" publishing house and the Catholic Internet Service.

Ekskursija Enter this expanded exposition of our theme, to learn about the dramatic developments and heroic resolve that attended the relations of Church, Society and State in Lithuania.
Presented by: Publishers "Aidai", 1999. Website managed by Catholic Internet Service.

A Virtual Exhibition of a Millenium of Lithuanian Cultural Heritage:
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