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The Role of Catholicism in the Development of Lithuanian National Identity

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image of Church History and Religious Culture

Over the course of nine centuries in Lithuania, the Catholic Church transitioned from military threat, to foreign occupier, to key component of national identity. This article will take an historical look at the Catholic Church in Lithuania and the process by which Catholic faith became culturally and politically embedded in Lithuanian national identity. An examination of the interplay between the Catholic Church and the Lithuanian nation demonstrates that the Church was instrumental in the formation and growth of national identity, which reached its climax in the close identification of Catholicism with nationalism in the anti-Soviet dissent movements of the 1980s and 1990s.

Affiliations: 1: Indiana Wesleyan University, School of Theology and Ministry, Marion, IN


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