Lithuania a grand-duchy in Eastern Europe, which formerly constituted a part of the kingdom of Poland, and which at the partition of the kingdom was partly united with Russia (the governments of Vilna, Grodno, Mohilev, Minsk, and Vitebsk), partly with Prussia (the administrative district of Gombinnen). The area of Lithuania is about 105,000 square miles. In the earliest historic times the country of the Lithuanians was subject to the neighboring tribes, in particular to the Russians of Polocz. As an independent state it appears for the first time about 1217 under Ercziwil, who threw off the yoke of Polock, and conquered Podlesia, Grodno, and Brzesk. Eberwand, about 1220, began to expel the Tartars from Lithuania, and Ringold, about 1235, was the first independent grand-duke. His son Mindore, who had to cede Podlesia, Samogitia, and Courland to the prince of Halicz Novgorod and to the Teutonic Order, was in 1245 baptized by the archbishop of Riga and crowned as king; but in 1261 he apostatized from Christianity, and in 1263 he was slain by Svintorog, the governor of Samogitia, who in 1268 obtained control of the country. In 1281 Podlesia was reunited with Lithuania. In 1282 Witen became ruler of Lithuania, after murdering his predecessor. His son Gedinim (1315-1328) conquered Samogitia and a portion of Russia, inclusive of Kiev, and founded the towns of Vilna and Troki. The son of Gedinim, Olgerd, wholly expelled the Tartars from Podolia, and conquered the prince Demetrius of Russia at Moscow, in 1333 at Mosaisk. His son Jagello was baptized on February 14, 1386, at Cracow, and on this occasion received the name of Vladislav. The marriage of Jagello with the princess Hedwig of Poland led to the union of Lithuania with Poland, and made the latter country the greatest power of Eastern Europe. In 1401, and again in 1413, it was stipulated that the princes of Poland and Lithuania should only be elected with the consent of both nations. Under Witold, who in 1413 conquered Smolensk, Lithuania was a powerful state, which embraced, besides Lithuania proper, the larger portion of White and Red Russia, Samogitia, and other districts. After a brief separation from Poland in the 15th century, Lithuania and Poland were reunitedi in 1501, and after this time the union was not again interrupted. In 1569 even the administrative union with Poland was carried through, and the history of Lithuania fully coincides with that of Poland. For an account of the Reformation, and the subsequent conflicts of the Roman Catholic hierarchy with the Russian government, SEE POLAND and SEE RUSSIA. The Lithuanians, who still number about 1,340,000 inhabitants, are divided into three branches: 1, the Lithuanians proper, about 717,000, in the Russian government; 2, the Samogitians or Shamaites, of whom about 308,000 live in the district of Samogitia, which in 1795 was incorporated with Russia, and belongs to the government of Vilna, and 184,000 in the former government of Augustovo of Poland; 3, the Prussian Lithuanians, about 137,000. Before the partition of Poland, nearly the entire population of Lithuania, which embraced Lithuanians, Poles, and Little Russians or Ruthenians, belonged to the Catholic Church: the Lithuanians and Poles to the Latin rite, and the Little Russians or Ruthenians to the Greek rite. The united Greek bishops were in 1839 prevailed upon to sever their connection with the pope and unite with the orthodox Greek Church, whereupon the Russian government officially regarded the entire population of their dioceses as being part of the Greek Church. The Catholics now constitute a majority only in the government of Vilna; they have within the boundaries of the ancient Lithuania the archdiocese of Mohilev, and the dioceses of Vilna, Samogitia, and Minsk. The Protestants belong mostly to the Reformed Church, which is divided into four districts, each of which has a superintendent and vice- superintendent at its head. It has about 30 ministers, and annually holds a synod which often lasts three or four weeks, and which has to be attended by all the lay members, and by those ministers in whose district the synod assembles. Every district must be represented either by the president or by the vice-president. The meeting of the synod takes place every year in a different district and parish, the clergyman of the latter receiving a compensation for entertaining the members of the synod. The synod rules the Reformed Church under the superintendence of the ministry of St. Petersburg. It pays the salaries of the clergymen, attends to the repairs of the churches, and has also the care of all schools and poor-houses. It has from dotations an annual revenue of 22,000 silver rubles. The Lutheran congregations of Lithuania, which are less numerous, belong to the diocese of Courland. The orthodox Greek Church has within the limits of Lithuania the archbishop of White Russia and Lithuania, the bishop of Mohilev, the bishop of Vilna, and the bishop of Vitebsk. The dioceses of the two former belong to the eparchies of the second, those of the two latter to the eparchies of the third and fourth class. The following table of the five governments formerly belonging to Lithuania exhibits the total population, the Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Israelites; the remainder belong chiefly to the orthodox Greek Church:

See Krause, Lithauen u. dessen Bewohner (Halle, 1834); Glagau, Lithauen und Lithauer, gesammelte Skizzen (Tilsit, 1869). (A.J.S.)

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