Religious Texts and National Identity – The Model of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Religious Texts and National Identity – The Model of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania




religion, Lithuanian language, Grand Duchy of Lithuania, identity


Analyses of the processes that take part in the formation of nations reveal numerous interdependencies which stem directly from a nation’s religion and language. It is worth exploring them using the example of the multi-religious and multinational Grand Duchy of Lithuania, where the problem of legal separateness of a large part of the population had been growing since the end of the 14ᵗh century. Many elements that were part of cultural memory and built collective identity were used to strengthen national integration, and a crucial role in this process was played by religion, treated as a vital element of commemorative practices and rituals, and the persistence and stability of religious institutions. Examples of written texts and their collections which demonstrate both the universality of culture-creating activities of the Roman Catholic Church and the significance of Protestant denominations, Orthodox Church, and other religions present in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania confirm that national consolidation and formation of national identity need not be based only on the ethnic community but that religion is equally important. The article discusses the model of a specific concept of citizenship based primarily on a sense of community and historical tradition.

Author Biography

Iwona Pietrzkiewicz, University of the National Education Commission, Poland

Habilitated doctor, the UKEN profes- sor, a researcher interested in historical bibliology, especially in the area of book culture; the author of over 100 publications; she cooperates with numerous institutions which work on archiving and preserving Poland’s historical heritage.