Catholic Church in Lithuania
|Part of a series on the|
|Catholic Church by country|
Worldwide distribution of Catholics
It is the most Catholic of all the Baltic states: there are two million Catholics, which is 79% of the total population (2002). The country is divided into eight dioceses including two archdioceses and a military ordinariate. In 2007 there were 779 Roman Catholic priests and 677 parishes. Lithuania is the northernmost predominantly Roman Catholic country in the world, being slightly farther north than the Republic of Ireland.
St. Casimir (Kazimieras, 1458–1484) is the only canonized saint of Lithuania. He is the patron of the country and Lithuanian youth. Archbishop Jurgis Matulaitis-Matulevičius (1871–1927) was beatified in 1987.
Resistance to Communism
The Roman Catholic Church is an influential factor in the country, and some priests actively led the resistance against the Communist regime and, after independence was regained, in support of traditionalism, especially in ethical questions.
The nationally renowned anti-Communist resistance shrine, the Hill of Crosses, upon which thousands of Latin Rite crosses of all sizes have been placed, is located near the city of Šiauliai. Erecting Latin crosses on the hill was forbidden by the Czarist Russian Orthodox authorities in the 19th century. Later, in the 20th century, the Soviet authorities also forbade such explicit religious symbols. The crosses were removed in 1961 with tractors and bulldozers, but despite Soviet prohibitions, Catholics continued to put small crucifixes and larger crosses on the Hill of Crosses. Pope John Paul II visited the hill during his visit to Lithuania, primarily because it was a sign of anti-Communist Catholic resistance, as well as a Roman Catholic religious site. Lithuania was the only majority-Catholic Soviet republic.
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vilnius
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kaunas
- Military Ordinariate of Lithuania
Roman Catholic Cathedrals in Lithuania
- Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Vladislaus (Šv. Stanislovo ir Šv. Vladislovo arkikatedra bazilika), Vilnius;
- Cathedral of Transfiguration of Christ (Kristaus Atsimainymo katedra), Kaišiadorys;
- Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul (Kauno šv. Petro ir Povilo arkikatedra bazilika), Kaunas;
- Basilica of Archangel Michael (Šv. arkangelo Mykolo bazilika), Marijampolė;
- Cathedral of Christ the King, Panevėžys;
- Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul (Šiaulių šv. Apaštalų Petro ir Pauliaus Katedra), Šiauliai;
- Basilica of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Šiluva;
- Cathedral of Saint Anthony of Padua (Šv. Antano Paduviečio katedra), Telšiai;
- Cathedral of the Visit of St. Virgin (Švč. M. Marijos Apsilankymo katedra), Vilkaviškis;
- Basilica of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Žemaičių Kalvarija.
Roman Catholic Churches in Lithuania
First churches appeared in Lithuania before the introduction of Christianity – they have been built by merchants and craftsmen from other countries who lived here. After the baptism in 1387 the number of churches in Lithuania began to grow notably. In the middle of the twentieth century there were as many as 885 Catholic churches and chapels in Lithuania.
The first church in Lithuania, supposedly, was built by the Grand Duke Mindaugas in the thirteenth century. It was Vilnius Cathedral, which in its long history has been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. The oldest surviving stone church is St. Nicholas, built in the 14th – 15th centuries. It stands in Vilnius and visitors admire its Gothic and Romanesque features. St. Anne's Church is a masterpiece of late Gothic. The Chapel of the Gate of Dawn storing the icon of the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy in Vilnius has many features of late Renaissance and is one of the holy places in Lithuania most visited by pilgrims. Impressive architectural work of baroque is St. Peter and Paul Church in Vilnius. The oldest wooden church of Lithuania is in Paluse, Ignalina district. 
Catholic organizations in Lithuania
- "Romos katalikų daugiausia" (PDF) (in Lithuanian). Department of Statistics to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania. 2002-11-07.
- GigaCatholic Directory
- Catholic Hierarchy Catalog
- Foreword to the past: a cultural history of the Baltic people by Endre Bojtár, p. 140
- Lithuanian Saints and Witnesses of Faith on the Official Page of Catholic Church in Lithuania
- GCatholic Directory
- Katalikų Bažnyčia Lietuvoje / Catholic Church in Lithuania
- Official web site of Lithuanian Catholic Church
- Sanctuaries and Pilgrimage Sites in Lithuania
- Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Lithuania". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.