Republic, on the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, north of Poland.
In the 13th century a Diocese of Lithuania, dependent directly on Rome, was created at the request of the ruler, Prince Mendog; he and his family had embraced Christianity, but reverted to paganism before missionary work had made much progress.
Early in the 14th century Franciscan and Dominican monasteries were founded at Vilna but were soon suppressed.
Later in the same century tne Grand Duke Jagello of Lithuania was baptized and married the Catholic Queen Hedwig of Poland.
The association of the two countries brought about the spread of Catholicism in Lithuania, mainly from Poland.
Efforts were made also to unite the Orthodox Church of the region with Rome, retaining the Slavic liturgy; this was accomplished, by the Union of Brest in 1595-1596, in the formal union of the Ruthenian Church with Rome.
By that time Lithuania and Poland had become constitutionally one kingdom.
In the partitions of Poland, 1772-1795, Lithuania was divided between Russia and Prussia, and her churches came more and more under the authority of the governments of those countries.
In the 19th century many priests and religious of the Latin Rite and of the Ruthenian Uniat Church were expelled from this region.
Since the establishment of Lithuania as a separate republic (1922) the Church there has been reorganized (1926) and includes the Archdiocese of Kaunas, the Dioceses of Kaisedorys, Panevezys, Telsiai, and Vilkaviskis, and the Prelature nullius of Kiaipeda.
Archdioceses, past and present, include
Dioceses, past and present, include:
Other ecclesiastical divisions include:
- territoial prelature of Klaipeda
- military ordinariate of Lithuania
New Catholic Dictionary