Article 1.  Purpose of the Law


      This Law  shall   establish the legal relations of religious


 communities and  associations   and the  State of  Lithuania, and


 shall  implement     the  human  right  of  freedom  of  religion


 consolidated by  the Constitution  of the  Republic of Lithuania,


 other laws and international documents and agreements.




      Article 2. Right  of  Freedom of Religion


      Lithuania does not have a  state religion.


      Every individual within the Republic of Lithuania shall have


 the right   to  choose freely any  religion or faith, and to also


 change his  choice individually  or with  others, to  profess  it


 privately or  publicly, to  perform religious  rites, to practice


 his faith and to provide instruction thereof.


      No one  may force another person, nor  himself  be forced to


 choose or  to profess any  faith or religion.


      The human  freedom to profess or propagate religion or faith


 may not be limited by any other means, than by law alone and only


 when the   security of society, public order, people's health and


 morality, as well as  of  other  fundamental  rights and freedoms


 of individuals must be guaranteed.


      Parents and  guardians shall  not be restricted in providing


 for the  religious, and  moral upbringing   of their children and


 charges, in accordance with their own convictions.


      A crime  or failure  to implement laws may not be excused by


 the religion or


      faith practised by  an individual.


      Believers shall  have the  right to  freely  join  religious


 communities and  associations, and  also to  establish  religious




      Every  individual   may  on   the  basis  of  his  religious


 convictions choose  an alternative   (labour)  service in lieu of


 the obligatory military service.




      Article 3. Equality among People Regardless of their




      All individuals,  regardless of  the religion  they profess,


 their religious  convictions or their relationship with religion,


 shall be   equal  before the law. It shall be prohibited to limit


 their rights   and freedoms directly or indirectly,  or  to apply




      An  individual's   religion    shall  not  be  indicated  in


 documents issued by state  institutions and organisations.




      Article 4. Religious Communities, Associations and




      A  religious   community     is  comprised  of  a  group  of


 individuals seeking  to implement the aims of  the same religion.


 It may  be a  local   subdivision of  a  corresponding  religious




      Religious associations  are unions   of  church and  uniform


 religious organisations namely, communities striving to implement


 the aims of the same religion.  An association shall be comprised




 of no  fewer than  two religious  communities who  are subject to


 mutual leadership.


      Religious  centres  are  higher  governing  institutions  of


 religious associations.




      Article 5. Traditional Religious Communities and


                Associations of Lithuania


      The state  recognises nine traditional religious communities


 and associations  existing in Lithuania, which comprise a part of


 the historical,  spiritual  and  social  heritage  of  Lithuania:


 Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran, Evangelical


 Reformed, Russian Orthodox, Old Believer, Judaistic, Sunni Muslim


 and Karaite.




      Article 6. Recognition of  other Religious Associations


      Other  (non   traditional)  religious  associations  may  be


 granted  state   recognition  as  being  a  part  of  Lithuania's


 historical, spiritual and social heritage, if they are  backed by


 society  and their instruction and rites are not contrary to laws


 and morality.   State  recognition denotes  state backing  of the


 spiritual,   cultural    and   social   heritage   of   religious




      The Seimas  of the  Republic of Lithuania shall grant  state


 recognition.  Religious   associations   may      request   state


 recognition following  the elapse  of  a  period  of no less than


 25  years   from  the  date  of  their  initial  registration  in


 Lithuania.    If   request  is denied,  it  may  be  resubmitted,


 following the  elapse of  10 years,  from the  day request    was




      The Seimas  shall deliberate the question upon receipt of  a


 conclusion from the Ministry of Justice.


      The initial  registration alluded  to in  part two  of  this


 Article has  taken place, provided that the religious association


 acted legally  (was registered)  in Lithuania  after February 16,






      Article 7. Basic Principles of State and Religious


                Community and Association  Relations


      Religious communities  and  associations  shall  not  fulfil


 state functions,  while the  state shall not fulfil the functions


 of religious communities and associations.


      Religious communities  and associations shall have the right


 to freely  organise  in  accordance  with  their  hierarchic  and


 institutional structure, and manage their inner life according to


 its canons and statutes, as well as other norms.


      All religious communities and associations possessing  legal


 person rights may obtain state support for culture, education and


 charity, in accordance with the procedure established by laws.




      Article 8. Freedom  to Perform Religious Rites


      Religious  rites   and  cult   ceremonies  shall  be  freely


 performed within  cult   premises and  in their vicinity, in  the


 homes and  flats  of  citizens,  funeral  homes,  cemeteries  and




      Pursuant to  request by  believers religious  rites shall be


 performed in  hospitals, social  care facilities  and  places  of


 detention.   The time   for  performing religious  rites and cult


 ceremonies, and  other  conditions  shall  be  co-ordinated  with


 authorities of   the aforementioned institutions. The authorities


 of these institutions shall provide opportunities for performance


 of religious rites.


      The  authorities   of  military   units,  upon   request  by


 believers,  shall  provide  opportunities  for    performance  of


 religious rites  in accordance with the procedure established  by






      Upon  request  by  students  who  are  believers  and  their


 parents, the  rites of  traditional and  other  state  recognised


 religious communities  and associations,  which are not  contrary


 to   the secular  school  concept,  may  be  performed  in  state


 education and training institutions; participation shall be based


 upon free choice.


      Religious rites  may be performed in other public locations,


 as well,  if those  rites are  not in violation of  public order,


 people's health,  morals or  the rights  and  freedoms  of  other




      Religious communities and associations having  the rights of


 legal persons may,  according to the procedure established by the


 local government,  have their  own denominational  cemeteries  or


 their own  territory  within common cemeteries. The procedure for


 burial in   denominational   cemeteries  or within    a  cemetery


 territory,  allotted   to  a  religious  denomination,  shall  be


 established by the corresponding community or association.


      A complaint  regarding  refusal to grant permission for,  or


 interference with  the performance  of  religious  rites  may  be


 registered with a higher governing institution or the court.




      Article  9. Religious Instruction


      Religious instruction  may be provided  in houses of prayer,


 state and  other educational and training institutions as well as


 other premises and locations.


      Religion  of     traditional    and  other  state-recognised


 religious communities   and  associations may  be taught in state


 education institutions  upon request by parents (guardians, care-




      The  state   shall  recognise   religious   instruction   by


 traditional and  other state-recognised religious communities and


 associations in  denominational  educational institutions (Sunday


 schools of those denominations or other instruction groups), upon


 registration of  religious education programmes with the Ministry


 of Education and Science and presentation therewith, of documents


 attesting to  teacher qualification,  as well  as   a request  by


 the   spiritual authorities of appropriate religious community or




      Students   who are    wards  of  the  state    are  provided


 religious instruction  according to  the  religion  professed  by


 their family or relatives.


      The procedure of religious instruction in state institutions


 of  education and training is regulated by laws on education.




      Article 10.  Legalisation of  Legal Person Rights of


                Traditional Religious Communities and




      Traditional religious  communities and  associations, having


 the rights  of a  legal person,  shall  inform  the  Ministry  of


 Justice thereof.


      Newly-established  (re-established)   traditional  religious


 communities and associations shall acquire  the rights of a legal


 person,   pursuant    to  a  report    in  writing    of    their


 establishment (re-establishment),  to the  Ministry of Justice by


 their authorities, and the continuity of  a specific community or


 association is  established by  taking into  account its  canons,


 statutes and also, other norms.




      Article 11. Granting of Legal Person Rights  to Other


                Religious Communities and Associations


      Other religious  communities and  associations shall acquire


 the rights of a legal person upon registration of their  statutes


 or  the documents   corresponding to them.


      Religious communities may be registered, provided they unite


 no fewer  than 15  members namely, adult citizens of the Republic


 of Lithuania.


      Religious associations  may   be registered,  provided  they


 unite no  fewer  than  two  religious  communities.    Registered


 religious communities    which  are  part  of  the  structure  of


 registered religious   associations,  and centres  shall  acquire


 rights of   a  legal person, pursuant to their recognition by the


 authorities of   the  association and   the  Ministry of  Justice


 being informed thereof, in writing.


      In order  to  effect  registration  of  the  statutes  or  a


 corresponding document  of a  religious community/association,  a


 written  application   shall  be   submitted  of   the  religious


 community/association's  initiative   meeting   protocol      and


 membership list.


      The    religious     community/association    statutes    or


 corresponding documents which shall be submitted must indicate:


      1)name and main office of religious  community/association;


      2) principles,  activity directions  and aims  of  professed


 religious instruction;


      3) organisational  structure and  authorities  of  religious




      4) procedure  of   management,  use  and  sale  of  property


 belonging to religious community/association;


      5) procedure for closing  of religious community/association


 and distribution of property  remaining following liquidation.


      The Ministry  of Justice  shall register  the statutes  or a


 corresponding document of religious communities/ associations  no


 later than  within a  six-month period  from the  time  of  their




      Should the  submitted statutes or corresponding documents of


 the religious  community/association fail  to include  all of the


 indicated  data,   the  Ministry  of  Justice  shall  return  the


 aforementioned document   within  15 days  of its receipt, to the


 community/association   and indicate  what shortcomings should be


 rectified. The  period for  registering   corrected  statutes  or


 corresponding document shall be reckoned anew.




      Article 12. Refusal to Register Statutes or


                Corresponding Document of Religious




      Religious community/association  statutes  or  corresponding


 document shall not be registered if:


      1)   data indicated  in Article  11 of  this Law    are  not


 included therein;


      2)   activity of  religious  community/association  violates


 human rights and freedoms or public order;


      3)     statutes  or   corresponding  document  of  religious


 community/association  of   the  same  name,  have  already  been




      Upon refusal  to  register  religious  community/association


 statutes or  corresponding  document,  the  applicants  shall  be


 informed about  this in  writing, no  later than  within  5  days


 following adoption  of the  decision, and  given specific reasons


 for refusal.


      Refusal to  register the  statutes or corresponding document


 of  religious community/association, may be appealed in court.




      Article 13. Property Rights of Religious Communities,


                Associations and Centres


      Religious communities,  associations  and centres shall have


 the right  of ownership  to houses  of prayer, residential houses


 and other  buildings and edifices, production, social and charity


 objects as  well as  other types  of property,  required for  the


 activities of religious communities and associations.


      Religious   communities/associations   and   centres   shall


 administer, use  and sell  their property  in accordance with the


 laws of  the Republic of Lithuania.




      Article 14. Education, Charity and Mercy - Related


                Activities of Religious Communities,


                Associations and Centres


      Religious communities,  associations and centres  shall have


 the right to establish and have general education schools as well


 as other  institutions of  instruction, education and culture and


 also, institutions of instruction and  training   for preparation


 of clergy  and  religion  instructors,  in  accordance  with  the


 procedure established by laws and other normative acts.


      Educational institutions  of traditional and other religious


 communities, associations  and centres  having the  rights  of  a


 legal person,  and   schools  of  such    religious  communities,


 associations   and centres, that provide the education prescribed


 by the  state, shall  receive financial  and other  support  from


 state and  local government  budgets,    according  to  procedure


 established by laws and other normative acts.


      All religious  communities, associations  and centres    may


 engage in  charity, participate  in mercy-related  activity   and


 establish medical institutions as well as charitable institutions


 and organisations.


      Article 15. Publishing and Economic Activity of


                Religious Communities, Associations and




      Religious communities,  associations and  centres shall have


 the right   to  engage in  publishing,  production  and  economic


 activity,     establishing  public   information  media,  charity


 foundations and  other organisations,  in accordance  with    the


 procedure established by laws.




      Article 16. Taxation of Religious Communities,


                Associations and Centres and of  Their




      The income  namely, contributions, income resulting from the


 sale of  property  acquired  through  charitable  means,  of  all


 religious  communities,   associations  and   centres     (higher


 governing institutions),  shall not be taxable, provided they are


 intended for  construction, repair  or restoration  of a house of


 prayer, charity, culture and education.


      The income  received by the clergy of religious communities,


 associations and  centres, assistants  at religious  rites    and


 service  staff  (  except  individuals  performing  construction,


 repair and  restoration work),   from  the funds indicated in the


 first part  of this  Article, shall  not be  subject to tax  of a


 natural person.


      Religious necessities  and literature  brought   across  the


 border into  the Republic of Lithuania, through the authorisation


 of religious  communities, associations  and centres  having  the


 rights of a legal person, shall not be subject to customs tax.


      Enterprises     (organisations)  established   by  religious


 communities, associations  and  centres    shall  be  subject  to


 taxation in accordance with the laws.




      Article 17. Legal  Regulation of  Work of Individuals


                Employed by Religious  Communities,


                Associations  and Centres


      Religious communities,  associations and  centres shall have


 the right   to  employ individuals, with whom  work contracts are


 drawn up  in accordance  with  the procedure established by  laws


 of the Republic of Lithuania.


      Members of  clergy  may  be  supported  from  the  religious


 community or  association funds, in accordance with the procedure


 established by  such, or  may receive their support directly from


 believers in return for religious services rendered.




      Article 18. Social Security  and Social Insurance of


                Religious Communities, Associations and




      Rights to  social insurance and other rights and guarantees,


 established by  laws of the Republic of Lithuania, shall apply to


 individuals,  employed   according  to   labour  contract,   with


 religious   communities,    associations   or    centres,   their


 institutions, enterprises and organisations.


      For these  purposes, religious communities, associations and


 centres shall  contribute to the State Social Insurance Fund from


 their  income,   the  same     amounts   as  state   enterprises,


 institutions and organisations.


      Members of the clergy and other individuals employed without


 labour  contracts  by  religious  communities,  associations  and


 centres, may  make their  own private  contributions to the State


 Social Insurance  Fund according  to   procedure  established  by






      Article 19. International Co-operation among  Religious


                Communities and Associations


      Religious communities  and associations shall have the right


 to establish  and maintain international  relations and contacts,


 participate  in   international  organisations   as  well  as  in


 activities of  their governing  bodies,  exchange    information,


 receive religious  necessities,  literature  and  charity    from


 international organisations and private individuals.


      Religious communities and associations shall be able to send


 their members  to other  states for training, organise clergy and


 pilgrim journeys  abroad and  to cooperage  in  other  ways  with


 religious organisations located abroad.




      Article 20. Suspension or Cessation of  Activity of


                Religious Communities, Associations and




      Should a religious community, association or centre  fail to


 act according  to  the  registered  statutes  or    corresponding


 documents thereof  or should    their  activity      violate  the


 Constitution or  this Law,  the Ministry  of Justice shall inform


 the religious  community,  association  or  centre  which  is  in


 violation of  laws and  indicates the  term of  time during which


 violations  must   be  rectified.     Failure   to  rectify  said


 violations, shall  result in  a court  appeal by  the Ministry of


 Justice, for  suspension of  activity of the religious community,


 association or centre.


      Activity of a religious community, association or centre man


 be suspended  for a term not to exceed 6 months. Should violation


 cited by  the court, fail to be rectified during this term, their


 activity may be ceased per court decision.


      Activity of a religious community, association or centre may


 also be  terminated per  own decision.  Activity of  a  religious


 community or  association may  be terminated  per decision of its


 higher governing institution.


      Following the  termination of   activity    of  a  religious


 community, association or centre, the remaining property shall be


 transferred to  the  successor  in  interest,  specified  in  its


 statutes or  another corresponding document.  If the successor in


 interest is  not specified  or does not exist, the property shall


 be taken over by the state.




      Article 21. Implementation of the Law


      This  Law  shall  be  implemented  in  accordance  with  the


 Republic of Lithuania Law on the Procedure for the Implementation


 of the  Law on  Religious Communities  and  Associations  of  the


 Republic of Lithuania."




      I promulgate  this Law  passed by the Seimas of the Republic


 of Lithuania.




 Algirdas Brazauskas


 President of the Republic






 October 4, 1995


 No. I - 1057