Lithuania is a country found in the Baltic region of north-eastern Europe. It hosts an estimated population of 2.8 million people. Ethnic Lithuanians constitute 84.1% of the total population of the country. Polish, Russians, and Belarusians make up 6.6%, 5.8%, and 1.2% of the population of the country, respectively. Other minority ethnic groups comprise the rest of the population of Lithuania.
Christianity is the predominant religion in the country. The Catholic Church has the highest number of adherents. As per the CIA World Factbook, 77.2% of Lithuanians are Roman Catholics. 4.1% of the population is affiliated to the Russian Orthodox Church. Old Believers, Evangelical Lutherans, and Evangelical Reformists account for 0.8%, 0.6%, AND 0.2% of the population, respectively. Other religions with a minor presence in the country include Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. 6.1% of Lithuania’s residents claim not to adhere to any religion while 10.1% do not specify any religion.
History Of Christianity In Lithuania
Lithuania is the most Catholic state in the Baltic region and the world's northernmost Catholic state. There are 2 archdioceses and 8 dioceses in the country. The Christianisation of the country took place mainly between the late 14th and early 15th centuries. During the Communist rule, the Catholic priests of Lithuania vehemently protested against the anti-religious decrees of the Communist regime. The Hill of Crosses in an internationally renowned shrine where the devout Catholics of the country placed thousands of Christian crosses as a sign of protest against the Communist regime.
The first churches in Lithuania were established mainly by the wealthy foreign merchants and craftsmen working in the country. Following baptism in 1387, the number of Catholic churches in Lithuania multiplied rapidly and by the mid-20th century, there were as many as 885 churches in the region. The Vilnius Cathedral is possibly the first church to be built in Lithuania. It was built in the 13th century by the Grand Duke Mindaugas. The St. Anne's Church, St. Nicholas church, and St. Peter and Paul Church are some of the most famous churches in Lithuania.
Other Religions In Lithuania
The adherents of the Russian Orthodox Church living in Lithuania are primarily from the Russian minority community. Lutheranism was at its peak in Lithuania during the time when Germany controlled parts of the country in the 16th century. With the departure of the Germans, this Christian denomination’s popularity gradually diminished in Lithuania. Islam has a long history in Lithuania. Muslims in theSt. country are mainly the descendants of the Crimean Tatars who were allowed to settle in the south in the medieval era. Although they lost their language over time, they continue to practice Islam even today.
Freedom Of Religion In Lithuania
The Constitution of Lithuania provides for the freedom of religion. Discrimination based on religion is strictly prohibited by the country’s law. The government of the country also generally protects this right of the people.