The most Catholic of the three Baltic republics, Lithuania has resembled Poland in its conservatism and relatively high levels of religiosity. Religious activity was liberalized after the country declared its independence in 1991. The republic has maintained a four-tier registration system that is by far the most complicated and detailed European system, which distinguishes between four types of religious groups (state-recognized “traditional” communities, state-supported religious groups, other religious communities and associations, and unregistered religions). “Traditional” religious communities enjoy privileges denied to other denominations, but all groups present in the country can worship freely. Given its numbers and historical importance, the Roman Catholic Church has been de facto treated as the state, national church and has been wooed by the country's major political formations, which include Eastern Europe's largest Christian Democrat Party.
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