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Soviet Union


Catholics accounted for a substantial and active religious body in the Soviet Union. Their number increased dramatically with the annexation of western Ukraine in 1939 and the Baltic republics in 1940. Catholics in the Soviet Union were divided between those belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, recognized by the government, and those remaining loyal to the Ukrainian Catholic Church, banned since 1946.

Roman Catholic Church

The majority of the 5.5 million Roman Catholics in the Soviet Union lived in the Lithuanian, Belorussian, and Latvian republics, with a sprinkling in the Moldavian, Ukrainian, and Russian republics. Since World War II, the most active Roman Catholic Church in the Soviet Union was in the Lithuanian Republic, where the majority of people are Catholics. The Roman Catholic Church there has been viewed as an institution that both fosters and defends Lithuanian national interests and values. Since 1972 a Catholic underground publication, The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, has spoken not only for Lithuanians' religious rights but also for their national rights.

Data as of May 1989