between the Holy See and
the Republic of Lithuania
the pastoral care of Catholics serving in the Army
The Holy See and the Republic of Lithuania
(hereinafter referred as the “Contracting Parties”);
1.The Holy See shall establish a Military Ordinariate responsible for the pastoral
care of the Catholics serving in the Army of the Republic of Lithuania.
- in order to provide continuous pastoral care to Catholics serving in the Army of the
Republic of Lithuania, in a way which is acceptable to both Contracting Parties;
have agreed on the following:
2.In accordance with the Apostolic Constitution Spirituali Militum Curae, the
Military Ordinariate shall be headed by a Military Ordinary who has the rights and
duties of a diocesan Bishop.
3.The Military Ordinary may at the same time hold the office of a diocesan or
4.The jurisdiction of the Military Ordinary is personal, ordinary and proper. This
jurisdiction shall be exercised cumulatively with the local Ordinaries.
5.The Military Ordinary is a member of the Conference of Lithuanian Bishops.
The Military Ordinary shall be freely appointed by the Holy See, and prior notice of
his appointment is to be given to the President of the Republic of Lithuania.
In co-ordination with the Minister of Defence, the Military Ordinary shall appoint a
Vicar General. The Vicar General is at the same time the Head Chaplain of the Army.
1.Military Chaplains shall be appointed or dismissed from office by the Military
Ordinary in agreement with the local Bishop. In accordance with the provisions of the
Canon Law, Military Chaplains shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Military
Ordinary, even when they remain incardinated in their own dioceses. Military
Chaplains have the rights and duties of a pastor of a personal parish.
2.The Minister of Defence, in agreement with the Military Ordinary, may grant a
special service status to Military Chaplains charged with the pastoral care of
Catholics in the major military units. Such Military Chaplains may be incardinated in
the Military Ordinariate, according to the norms of Canon Law.
3.The Military Ordinary, in co-ordination with the local Bishop, may also
temporarily engage other priests in pastoral ministry.
In accordance with the norms of Canon Law, the following persons shall be subjected
to the jurisdiction of the Military Ordinary:
(a) Catholic military and civilian personnel serving in the Army of Lithuania;
(b) Catholic members of their families and other Catholics who share the same
residence with them;
(c) Catholics attending military schools, working in hospitals and other similar
(d) Catholics who carry out a task committed to them by the Military Ordinary in a
permanent way or with his consent.
The curia of the Military Ordinariate will be in Vilnius.
The Ministry of Defence shall provide proper material assistance in maintaining the
Military Ordinariate and its places of worship, as well as for the other pastoral
1.In exercising their pastoral ministry, Military Chaplains shall be bound by the
norms of Canon Law, the ordinances of the Military Ordinary, as well as the statutes,
rules and regulations of the Army.
2.The duties of a Military Chaplain shall comprise: visiting military units,
celebrating Mass and presiding at other acts of worship, administering the
sacraments, teaching religion and morals, arranging talks on the topics of religion and
morals, managing and caring for the church property entrusted to him and performing
other pastoral activities.
3.If a. Military Chaplain is to be subjected to administrative sanctions, the
military authorities shall act in consultation with the Military Ordinary.
1. The Military Ordinary shall have the right to give instructions to Military
Chaplains concerning their ministry, to maintain constant relations with them either
directly or through his delegates, and to supervise them in the places of their ministry.
2. Military Chaplains shall regularly report to the Military Ordinary on their
The Conference of Lithuanian Bishops and the Ministry of Defence of the Republic
of Lithuania will agree upon specific regulations for the Military Ordinariate
concerning practical aspects of the pastoral ministry of Military Chaplains, as well as
their terms and conditions within the military structure.
Should any divergences arise in the future concerning the interpretation or
implementation of this Agreement, the Contracting Parties will proceed by common
accord to an amicable solution.
This Agreement shall enter into force from the moment of reciprocal notification of
the fulfilment by the Contracting Parties of the procedures necessary for its entrance
Done in Vilnius on 5 May 2000 in two copies in English and Lithuanian, both texts
being of equal force.
For the Holy See: Erwin Josef Ender, Nunzio Apostolico
For the Republic of Lithuania: Algirdas Saudargas, Ministro degli Affari Esteri