In 1902 Vladas Nagevičius, the first Lithuanian, entered the Emperor‘s Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg. At first he was a member of St. Petersburg Lithuanian Students Association but he wasn‘t totally satisfied by its movement. He realised that a different kind of organization should be founded. Vladas Nagevičius wanted to create an organization which could have maintained national Lithuanian identity and could fight for better future of Lithuania.
After some time few Lithuanian students that had national self-awareness and similar ideas as V. Nagevičius assembled. As a result, the Lithuanian medical fraternity „Fraternitas Lituanica“ was established on November 28, 1908 in Russia, at the Emperor‘s Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg. Its main founder was Dr. V. Nagevičius along with colleagues Kazys Oželis, Vladas Ingelevičius, Pranas Sližys, Zenonas Ščepanavičius. They were influenced by famous Lithuanian activist and proponent of Lithuanian National Revival Dr. Jonas Basanavičius.
The aims of the fraternity, declared in the very first (but unwritten) statute of „Fraternitas Lituanica“ were: to unite Lithuanian medical students in order to strive for higher professional and ethical standards, to maintain national traditions and to resist denationalization pressures. This association was meant to be the second family for its members, and, therefore, they traditionally call each other „brother“.
The activities of the Fraternity were based on democratic principles, the maintenance of non-partisanship spirit and a complete tolerance in regard to political and religious convictions. Outside the Fraternity limits, its members were free to adhere to any political party.
At that time (until the Russian Revolution in 1917) the fraternity was secret but despite that and the fact that corporation ideas could not be proclaimed the number of corps students was increasing rapidly. 1909 – 1917 where the years when corporation inducted a lot of new members who later on distinguished in professional, artistic or social activities: Jonas Blažys, Juozas Žemgulys, Povilas Stančius, Kostas Fedoravičius, Antanas Matukas, Juozas Stasiūnas, Linas Janulionis, Jonas Čeponis, Albertas Jackūnas, Stasys Mačiulis, Adomas Plepys, Balys Matulionis, Stasys Pilka et more. Moreover, „Fraternitas Lituanica“ was not referred publicly as a corporation until 1922. However, main principles followed were as corporative ones.
In 1917 when the Russian Revolution began fraternity members went public, started spreading corporation ideas among Lithuanian students and participated in Lithuanian students organisations activities.
The interwar period
After the Council of Lithuania signed the Act of Independence (proclaiming the restoration of an independent State of Lithuania) on February 16, 1918, members of the corporation returned to their homeland and actively involved in reconstruction of the Republic of Lithuania. As physicians they organized sanitary protection for Lithuanian army and took care of soldiers wellness.
Members meetings were organized. In 1918 in Vilnius the first public annual meeting in Lithuania was held. The main issue discussed there was health care of Lithuanian army. There were lots of difficulties and problems but under the leadership of Dr. V. Nagevičius sanitary provision for Lithuanian army was ensured. Tha fact is that the health care of the Independent Lithuanian army mostly was the concern of doctors fraternity members.
In 1920 ten new physicians joined the corporation. In 1922 members of the fraternity, doctors at that time, changed its name to Lithuanian doctors corporation Fraternitas Lituanica (FL). The corporation was developing, many new members joined it. FL held meetings at least once a year or more often. Annual meetings were convened in autumn. In 1939 there were about 130 corporation members physicians.
Few Lithuanian University students in Kaunas, encouraged by corporation members, established medical students corporation Fraternitas Lituanica on November 19, 1924. The founders were students: P. Kusa, V. Plečkauskas, P.Narkus, S. Molis and few others. The inaugural meeting was attended by dr. Jonas Basanavičius who was a chairman of the meeting.
Students corporation Fraternitas Lituanica acted separately from the corporation of the doctors with the same title, but were close bonded. Members of the students corporation used to turn members of the doctors corporation after receiving a diploma and becoming doctors. In 1939 students corporation had about 75 members.
Wartime and the merger
In 1940 Soviet Union occupied Lithuania, so both, doctors and students, corporations were impelled to suspend their movement, their property was forfeited. Many corporation members were persecuted, some of them were deported to Siberia and perished there; some members even met the death of martyrs (Dr. J. Žemgulys, Dr. S. Mačiulis). Later on when Nazi Germany occupied Lithuania the situation did not get better. Fraternities‘ activity could not be resumed.
At the end of the Second World War, the Soviets occupied Lithuania again, many fraternity members left Lithuania and settled in the West. Only in 1948 they managed to start convening meetings. They took place in Bad Rehberge and Augsburg. Corporation members reconvened in Augsburg, enacted a new statute which fulfilled the previous one. However, most of the members left Europe and endeavour to restore corporation activity failed. 7 members reached Australia, 7 – Canada, 53 set foot in USA.
In 1950 fraternity members from Chicago convened a meeting, later corporants who lived in New York an Cleveland did it too. So corporation divided into three divisions: Chicago, New York City and Cleveland. These divisions collaborated to arrange consolidated annual meetings. However the number of corporants reduced continuously and „Fraternitas Lituanica“ activity declined. The same situation was encountered by female medical corporation „Patria“, and on May 25, 1975 in Chicago these two corporations merged. This coupling was accomplished to strengthen and coordinate both corporations better.
Since the alliance the corporations publicly acted as the one unit, but the internal activities could be autonomous. „Patria“ had its own colored stripes and symbols and they could continue wearing them, although the combined corporation statute enacted „Fraternitas Lituanica“ couleur.
“Patria” Zirkel remained and it is inscribed next to the „Fraternitas Lituanica“ Zirkel. Newly joined Patrians‘ shoulder straps had „Fraternitas Lituanica“ colors (black and golden) which are also seen on the caps. In addition, red color was inserted on Patrians‘ caps. It represents love for the motherland. „Patria“ Zirkel was embroidered as well.
After declaring the independence of Lithuania by the Act of March 11 in 1990 the corporation „Fraternitas Lituanica“ was also re-established. On May 7, 1991 reunion started by the initiative of philister Vytautas Sirijos Gira and prof. Jonas Lelis who had returned from the United States. At that time new members joined the fraternity, they participated in corporation activity and cherished its traditions. Every autumn the corporation activity starts with Initium Semestri (Latin „start of the semester“) and ends in early summer with Finis Semester (Latin „end of the semester“).
Corp! Patria (Latin „Motherland“) was found on June 13, 1931 in Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, by the female students of medical and dental practice. These students wanted to set up a corporation similar to Corp! Fraternitas Lituanica. Thus medical and dental students corporation „Patria“ was found by 7 women: Marija Stukaitė, Bronė Namikaitė, Juzė Augulytė, Vanda Vilčinskaitė, Kristina Adomavičiūtė, Pabrėžaitė ir Žukauskaitė.
„Patria“ followed „Fraternitas Lituanica“ statute and had the same ideas as the fraternity. „Patria“ members were in close contact and cooperation with members of FL, who provided full assistance and care. Sometimes meetings were held together. Celebrations, commemorations, visits and outings could not happen with one corporation and without another. Number of members of Patria was not big regarding to the fact that only medical and dental students could become members. Furthermore, the majority of members after graduating started families and pursued their professional activities so the corporation did not manage to do some significant work.
At the time of Lithuania occupation the corporation activity was suspended. Members with their families departed to Germany, Austria and the United States. After the Second World War there were no ties between the members of Patria. And only on September 23, 1950 in Chicago by the initiative of dr. A. Mačiuikienė in the apartment of A. Taurienė corporation activity was restored and the first meeting outside Lithuania was convened. They revived the corporation and elected the board. Since this meeting the Patrians started to cooperate closer with the FL members. Combined meetings were convened more often, celebrations and commemorations always went together. Although several new members have joined, but the corporation rapidly decreased and its activity was declining. So the remaining members of Patria, invited by members of FL, decided to merge these two corporations.