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|EVANGELICAL REFORMED CHURCH OF LITHUANIA|
|Sunday, 06 April 2008 17:28|
THE EVANGELICAL REFORMED CHURCH of LITHUANIA
Introduction. The Evangelical Reformed Church of Lithuania as a united Reformed Church organization and Reformed Church province of Lithuania can be counted from the year 1557 at the Synod in Vilnius on December 14th of that year. From that year the Province (also can be called General or National) Synod met regularly forming all the church provinces (district Synods) of The Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Started from two and later growing to six districts and representative district synods with leading elder pastor - superintendent (senior). The abbreviated name for the church is in Latin, Unitas Lithuaniae (shorter-UL) or in Polish, Jednota Litewska (Union of provincial Church of Lithuania). It sent its representatives to the Polish -Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita) General Synods with representatives from 3 provinces: Minor Poland (Malopolska Jednota), Maior Poland (Wielkopolska Jednota) and Lithuania (Jednota Litewska).
However in it's administration UL was in fact a self-governing Church. The first Superintendent of the church was Rev. Simonas Zacijus (Szymon Zacjusz, approx 1507-1591). In 1565 the anti- Trinitarian Lithuanian Brotherhood who rejected the doctrine of the Trinity separated from UL. The UL parish network covered nearly all of The Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Its district centers were Vilnius, Kedainai, Biržai (today - Lithuania), Sluck, Kojdanov and Zabludov later Izabelin (today - Belorussia). The Church in Lithuania grew weaker due to the effects of war and the counter-reformation. Up until the Second World War, The Reformed Church in Lithuania had about 10,000 believers. Now the Church has over 7,000 believers with parishes in Biržai and Biržai region and Kėdainai (the historical area of Duchy of Radziwiłłs) , Klaipėda (area of former Prussia was called as Minor Lithuania) and Vilnius (the capital of Grand Duchy of Lithuania), and the other large towns (Šiauliai, Panevėžys and Kaunas).
The UL has, since 1922-1925, been a World Alliance of Reformed Churches (now World Communion of Reformed Churches) and also maintained relations with the Reformed Churches in Germany, Switzerland, France, Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Scotland, the Netherlands and The U.S.A. The Highest institution of The UL is the Synod consisting of the pastors (kunigai), catechists called also deacons (katechetai, diakonai), the secular, senior curates (kuratoriai) and delegates (delegatai) from the evangelical reformed congregations. An inter Synod institution works during the time between Synod assemblies in Biržai consisting of the Consistory and the senior minister, the Church (General) Superintendent. Ministers are trained in the University of Klaipėda and abroad.
Information about structure, addresses and telephones
I. The SYNOD (SINODAS). The highest institution of the church. It chooses the senior pastor, the General Superintendent and chooses the inter-synod institution, the Consistory. Decisions are made for ordination of the ministers and their mission, curates are chosen and items of church law are enacted and it is the final instance of appeal. The ordinary assemblies of the Synod takes place in Biržai in the end of June every year orientated to the day of St. Johan the Baptist. This regulation was fixed in the church law by Synod after I World War. An extraordinary meeting of the Synod affairs is invited through the Consistory or made by Synod as well. Those who have decision-making rights and who make up the Synod are:
a) all ordained ministers (kunigai) and catechists (katechetai / diakonai ):
1) Mr. Tomas Šernas, minister, pastor of Vilnius ev. ref. congregation, General Superintendent. Ph.: +370 687 56846. E-mail: vilnius @ ref.lt
Please note: The Rev. Romas Pukys is an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and serves as a parish administrator in Šiauliai for the Evangelical Reformed Church of Lithuania by Synod invite and according to the Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church approval in accordance of the Concordat of Leuenberg and earlier (of the XVI c. and XVIII c.) agreements between the Evangelical Reformed and Lutheran Churches in Lithuania.
NOT ACTIVE PASTORS OF EV. REF. CHURCH OF LITHUANIA :
8) Mrs. Gitana Gasiūnaitė, catechist, lives in Czech Republic.
1. Mrs. Valerija Kubiliūnienė, N. Radviliškis,(+370 450) 55245
c) Delegates (delegatai) from evangelical reformed congregations by quota (Canon VI-1957) chosen to represent for one year at the Synod.
1. Biržai 8 delegates representing up to 1600 members
II. The CONSISTORY (KONSISTORIJA). This operates between meetings of the Synod as a higher church collegiums institution. It consists of three pastors members, three laymen and a layperson president and a pastor vice-president and is appointed by the Synod for a period of three years. Chosen at the Synod of June 2001 in Biržai the Collegium (Sinodo Kolegija) has been referred to as the Consistory (Konsistorija) from 18.11.2002.
Actual Consistory (2010-2013)
1. Mr. Dr. Mykolas Mikalajūnas (curate, Vilnius), president +370 611 40596
Consistory (2007-2010) +370 610 04399
1. Mrs. Dr. Renata Bareikienė (curate), prezident, +370 688 88632
III. GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT (GENERALINIS SUPERINTENDENTAS).
Rev. Tomas Šernas since 2010 June (ordained as senior pastor September 25, 2010)
Since I World War in the position of the General Superintendent of UL were senior pastors: Rev. Wilhelm Mieszkowski (1913-1919), Rev. Povilas Jakubėnas (1919-1942); Rev. Michal Jarztrzębski (1919-1938); Rev. Konstantas Kurnatowski (1938-1940); Rev.Adomas Šernas (1942-1968); Rev. Povilas Jašinskas (1968-1982). In the years 1982-2002 the General Superintendents was not elected. In 2003 the Synod elected Rev. R. Mikalauskas, an acting Church Superintendent. In 27th of June 2004. Rev. R.Mikalauskas was elected as General Superintendent and his ordination took place in 28th of August, 2004 in Biržai. General Superintendents and reformed Bishops of German, Polish and Hungarian Reformed Churches were present. Rev. Rimas Mikalauskas continued in General Superintendent office till 2010 June, when Synod elected Rev. Tomas Šernas to take position of General Superintendent. His ordination took place in 25th of Spetember 2010 in Biržai. Reformed Bishops from Poland and Hungary were presented as well as letters of support received from Germany, Sweden and the other partner churches.
The General Superintendent is the senior pastor, highest clergyman (Bishop) who is authorized by Synod to represent the Church, attend to church discipline and undertake the Synods decisions.
IV. The CONGREGATIONS (PARAPIJOS). The Evangelical Reformed Church of Lithuania congregations (parishes) self-government is upheld by Synod statute. Congregations are divided into those with up to 200 members and those that are larger. Small Parishes have only boards which undertake decision-making and, to some extent, executive functions. Larger parishes have councils of Elders (seniūnai)-the decision-making institution and the executive function is left to the board. Pastors appointed by Synod, who work alongside the parish boards and councils, which are represented, by their chairperson or senior Elder serve the congregations.
V. HONORARY CURATES (GARBĖS KURATORIAI). Friends and supporters of The Evangelical Reformed Church of Lithuania are granted the title of honorary curate for regular and heartfelt Christian care and support for the Reformed churches mission. The title of honorary curate awards the right to take part in Synod with consultative voting rights without being a member of the church, and to get full church information.
1. Mr. John Gillies, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Pharre, TX, U.S.A.
VI. INSTITUTIONS. Unitas Lithuaniae - Institutions formed by Synod and which Synod has a responsibility for.\
The public institution "Vaiko užuovėja" was formed on 30.12.2003 and has been active from 04.02.2004. The enterprise code is 5532441 and address is Medeikiai Village, LT-41456 Biržai region, tel.: +370 450 58414. Director- Daiva Janonienė, mob.: +370 687 27057. VĮ "Vaiko užuovėja" undertakes its work alongside Biržai regional council according to a joint action and financial agreement and is the only children's home in Biržai region as well as only children's home in Lithuania supervised by Evangelical Reformed Church. At this time the home looks after 30 children and is served by a workforce of 20 workplaces.
VIII. PATNERS. Evangelical Reformed Church of Lithuania international partners. UL is a religious minority in Lithuania so it is very important to have international relations with Reformed Churches in Germany, The U.S.A, Scotland, Poland, Hungary, France, Switzerland, Sweden, The Netherlands and other countries.
1) The Lithuanian Evangelical Reformed Synod Collegium (U.S.A.) President Curate. Dr Paulius Slavėnas 675 Central Ave., Deerfield, IL 60015, U.S.A, +1847 405 0794
1) Gustav Adolf Werk (Gemany)
IX. WARC MEMBERSHIP. The Reformed Church is a world wide community which is represented by the former World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) www.warc.ch ; www.reformed-online.org , now World Communion of Reformed Churches.There is a General Assembly every 7 years. In the summer of 2004 the General Assemblies 24th congress was held in Accra and UL delegate, catechist Rev. G. Gasiūnaitė took part in the Assembly. In the Uniting General Assembly in Grand Rapids (MI), USA there were 2 delegates represented: Rev. R.Mikalauskas and Mrs. Dr. Renata Bareikienė. The Reformed Church regulates democratic Presbyterian-synodal or congregational self-government within its historical boundaries. However the Doctrinal or essential principle of the Reformation and its mission is in principle to combine in a free membership of one World organization. UL has been a member of World Reformed and Presbyterian international organization since 1925 and belongs to the European Region of WCRC (former -WARC). Gen. Superintendent Rimas Mikalauskas use to take part in the WARC Europe meetings in Oradea/Nagyvarat, Romania in 2002 in 2005 Bern, Switzerland; 2006 Budapest, Hungary, 2007 Paris, France and 2008 Wuppertal, Germany. According decision of General Superintendent Rev. Tomas Šernas, Rev. Rimas Mikalauskas, the vice-superintendent will continue to represent General Superintendent's office of UL in the Ecumenical and International relationships in the future.
X. LINKS TO NON-CHURCH ORGANIZATIONS. Organizations with which ERCL-Unitas Lithuaniae Synod or individual parishes collaborate.
Juridical person recognized by State as traditional religion named: Lietuvos evangelikų reformatų bažnyčios- Unitas Lithuaniae-Sinodas.
State identity code: 192100594; Address: Reformatų g. 3a, Biržai, Lithuania
Ph.: +370 450 35100 ;
Handy: +370 686 66383
Fax: +370 450 31486
XII. The Bank account for Euro:
Beneficiary: Ev. Reformed Church in Lithuania-Unitas Lithuaniae Synod
Beneficiary's Bank: AB DnB NORD bankas
Branch: Birzai Branch
Bank Address: Kestucio 10, LT- 41176 Birzai, Lithuania
Account Number: LT174010041300081376
ABA or SWIFT CODE: AGBLLT2X
Correspondent Bank: Deutsche Bank AG, Frankfurt/Main
Information updated 07.10.2010 by Rev. R. Mikalauskas