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Democracy, Culture, CatholicismVoices from Four Continents$
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Michael J. Schuck and John Crowley-Buck

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823267309

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823267309.001.0001

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A Theological Reading of the Lithuanian Church during the Soviet Period: Martyria, Koinonia, Diakonia, and Leiturgia

A Theological Reading of the Lithuanian Church during the Soviet Period: Martyria, Koinonia, Diakonia, and Leiturgia

Chapter:
(p.29) A Theological Reading of the Lithuanian Church during the Soviet Period: Martyria, Koinonia, Diakonia, and Leiturgia
Source:
Democracy, Culture, Catholicism
Author(s):

Vidmantas Šimkunas

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823267309.003.0002

The Catholic Church is an historical and a spiritual reality. As such, complete understanding of the Church’s experience over time must include a theological interpretation. Šimkunas explores the Lithuanian Church’s fifty-year experience of Soviet occupation through the theological lenses of martyria (witness of faith in sacrifice), koinonia (gathering the faithful in community), diakonia (service to one’s neighbor), and leiturgia (ritual expression of faith). When these four can exist in balance, the Church is healthy. However, during Soviet occupation these features were thrown out of balance. Martyria became the predominant Church experience, symbolized by the Hill of Crosses monument where Lithuanians defied the Soviets by placing hundreds of homemade crosses on a hill under cover of darkness. Soviet laws and practices suppressed the Church’s public practice of koininia, diakonia, and leiturgia. These restrictions created a valiant but privatized and traditionalist Church that was ill-prepared to participate in democratic government after independence in 1990.

Keywords:   Catholic Church, diakonia, Hill of Crosses, koinonia, leiturgia, martyria, Soviet occupation, theology

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