True Lithuania

Reformed Christianity (Calvinism) in Lithuania

This branch of Christianity follows the Jean Calvin teachings. It came to Lithuania in the 16th century and was favored by certain nobles of Radvila family. They were based in Kėdainiai and to this day the small town still is dominated by a Reformed church structure somewhat reminiscent to Ancient Greek temple (rather than by a Roman Catholic spire).

The area where Reformed Church gained a real foothold, however, was in the northeastern Lithuania in the town of Biržai and the surrounding countryside (also a Radvila domain at the time). There are many reformed churches in the towns and villages of the area and some 10% of the population still profess this faith.

The smaller Christian denominations in Lithuania were hardest hit by the Soviet occupation because their small communities meant an inability to withstand Soviet persecutions. As such, some Reformed Christians converted to Roman Catholicism in 1940 – 1990, decreasing their overall share from 0,5% to 0,2%.

Reformed Christian communities and churches also exist in some of the main cities.

Interior of the Biržai Reformed Christian church (1874). Plain for its era the interior reflects the Reformed Christian beliefs. On the wall in front of the congregation (where sacred paintings, crucifixes and stained glass windows dominate in the other denominations) a sole inscription VIENAM DIEVUI GARBĖ (GLORY TO ONE GOD ALONE) proudly hangs. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

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