The Republic of Belarus in northern Europe gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Situated between Russia and Poland, Belarus has historically been a cultural borderland. Baptized into Orthodoxy in the 10th century (the Polatsk eparchy was established in 992), the country later became part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and partly adopted Roman Catholicism, especially after the Union of Lublin (1569; with the Kingdom of Poland). After the Brest Church Union (1596), the Uniate Church (subordinated to the Pope but with Orthodox ceremonies) was established. Other religions were represented by Jewish (since the 14th century), Muslim (since the 14th century), Old Believers (since mid-17th century), and Protestant (Calvinist, Lutheran, and Anti-Trinitarian; in mid-16th century) communities. In 1795, Belarus was ...

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