In the nineteenth century the Karaim community of Lithuania was attributed to the non-Christian burgher estate, and laws set to the Jewish community were applicable to the Karaim as well. However, the authorities saw the difference between the two communities with respect to morality and ethics and consequently rendered the Karaim certain social and economic freedoms.
The Karaim community, living in Trakai and Naujamiestis, Panevėžys district, sought to retrieve its former legal and social status, formed in the period of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania between the fourteenth and eighteenth centuries. For over half a century it maintained contacts with the authorities asking and sometimes even requiring more favourable conditions for its existence, retention of its distinctiveness and the right to preserve its collective identity. This dialogue resulted in a sort of compromise. The Karaims were not accorded the desired special status that would have made them equal to other privileged estates. Nevertheless, they were separated legally from the Jews, they acquired the rights of the Christian burgher community and their priests enjoyed the rights of Christian clergy.