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Lithuania Religion
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Traditionally, Lithuania has been a Roman Catholic country. Although severely affected by Soviet repression, the Roman Catholic Church remains the dominant and the most influential denomination. However, Lithuania in the past has had two small but active Protestant denominations, the Evangelical Reformed (Calvinist) and the Evangelical Lutheran. In addition, Orthodox Christianity as well as Judaism have roots at least as old as those of Roman Catholicism. In 1991 a Western poll found that 69 percent of respondents in Lithuania identified themselves as Roman Catholics (in 1939 the percentage was 85), 4 percent identified themselves as Orthodox, and 1 percent professed...

The old Religion
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The Lithuanians had a rich archaic mythology and religion comparable to the religions of India, Greece, Rome, etc. Its most important feature was its close connection with nature: plants, animals, fire and water – the entire surrounding world was held sacred. The Lithuanian Pantheon was similar to that of the other ancient counties of Europe, with gods for all states of life. “Dievas” was the lord of the sunny firmament, and the guard of order and harmony on earth and in heaven. “Perkūnas“ was the god of thunder and protector of soldiers and their commanders. “Velnias” (his name was later...

New and Non-Traditional Religious Movements in Lithuania
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Before going into detail I will explain what I mean by "non-traditional", since the concept of "new religious movements" has boundaries drawn around it more or less clearly – I will use it to describe movements that started to visibly operate or were established after World War II. The meaning of "non-traditional" in Lithuania to a large extent has been influenced by the Law on religious communities and associations, adopted by the Seimas (Parliament) of Lithuania in 1995. In this law nine religious associations in Lithuania were counted as "recognised" by the state and labelled "traditional", while other religious...

 Donatas Glodenis
The Role of Religion in the Emergence of Civil Society in Lithuania
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The religion has long been recognized as an important institution of civil society, significant to the regime for its support and promotion of the values important for political culture. Together with schools, families and a variety of political and other voluntary interest organizations, churches influence political and societal attitudes. On the other hand, there is no firm consensus – does religion promote or subvert civil society? In his famous book about Italy and social capital “Making Democracy Work” Robert Putnam states that the hierarchical structure of Catholic Church is rather alternative for civil society than one of its component. Though...

 Andrius Navickas
Term "Sect" as a phenomenon of a repressive social consciousness
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The connotations of the term "sect" have always been negative. In societies with strong traditional religiosity this term always means marginalization and heresy. In secularized societies this term has been presented as neutral, but it's sociological definitions betray that the term has not escaped a value load: a "sect" is described as a group, which denies the values of liberalism. The current attempts to define a sect as a destructive religious group also lead to the formation of a-priori position towards such groups, based on near of minorities. The repudiation of the term "sect" in sociological discourse would initiate processes...

Transmigration or Resurrection: A Hindu Perspective
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What happens to us after we die? Hinduism on the one hand and the Semitic faiths (Christianity, Islam and Judaism) on the other offer very divergent answers. The latter state that we have only one life. After we die, our souls go into a state of limbo, till a day called the Day of Judgment. On this day, God looks at the relative balance between our good and bad deeds, as well as whether the person subscribed to correct beliefs or not. He then revives/resurrects the soul’s body (that had been buried in the grave), unites it with the corresponding...

 Vishal Agarwal
Lithuanian Religion and Mythology
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Lithuanian religion belongs to the Baltic religions and through many links is related to Prussian and Lettish ones and, along with the old religions of the Northern and Central Europe (Slavs, Germans and Celts), reflects the realias of Indo-European religions. It's distinctive feature is a certain social dimension, i.e.: neither Prussians nor Letts had formed by then a sovereign state, with either knighthood or warriors formed into a strong social strata; whereas the 13th and 14th century sources, as a...

 Gintaras Beresnevičius
Religion in Lithuania
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Lithuania is a country dominated by the Roman Catholic Church. Over 80% of the population consider themselves Catholics. The conversion of Lithuania is officially considered to have taken place in 1387, when Jogaila, the Grand Duke of Lithuania, having become King of Poland, christianized the country in accordance with the sacraments of Roman Catholicism, together with Vytautas, another Grand Duke of the Gediminas Dynasty. The name of Vytautas is mentioned in connection with the Moslem religion brought by the Tatars, who served in his army, and also the religion of the Karaims. Total religious tolerance prevailed within the Grand Duchy of...

Christmas customs and their pagan origins
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Because the festive aspects of the German-American Christmas, including the tree, were considered pagan, the Puritans in New England shunned them until about 1875. They were not entirely wrong! It is generally acknowledged that the Christmas tree is of German origin. In the pre-Christian era the oak was the sacred tree for the Germanic peoples. Legend has it that the missionary to the Germans, St. Boniface, in order to stop sacrifices at their sacred Donar Oak near Geismar, chopped the tree down [725 A.D.]. He is said to have replaced the oak by a fir tree, adorned in tribute to...

Lithuania's nature religions, the place in Europe where heathendom survived for the longest time
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Lithuania, on the shore of the Baltic Sea, has had a very intriguing role in European development, in various ways: militarily, economically, politically and religiously. It was the last country to accept Christianity, in 1387, as part of the marriage agreement between Grand Duke Jogaila and Jadwiga, Queen of Poland. The new faith lived in conjunction with the old nature-based beliefs; and well into the twentieth century in certain regions. Modern Lithuanians are an unusual amalgam of Catholicism and a fierce pride in their pagan past. Many will proudly state that Grand Duke Jogaila and his cousin Grand Duke Vytautas...