President of the Republic of Lithuania

The President will attend the canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII

2014-04-26

Saturday, April 26, Vilnius - President Dalia Grybauskaitė will take part in the ceremony of canonization of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII at the Vatican on April 27, the Second Sunday of Easter.

The President together with other heads of state, EU leaders, delegations from various international organizations, and representatives of religious communities will attend the Canonization Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square.

The canonization will also be attended by King Juan Carlos I of Spain, the King and the Queen of the Belgians, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Polish President Bronisław Komorowski, former Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa, EU leaders Herman Van Rompuy and José Manuel Barroso. Official delegations from 80 countries and more than a million pilgrims from all over the world will be present at the ceremony.

The President is expected to meet with Pope Francis. Since it will be the Second Day of Easter, she will present His Holiness with wooden Eastern eggs decorated by Lithuanian folk artists.

Dalia Grybauskaitė will visit St. Casimir's Lithuanian College where she will meet with the Lithuanian bishops and the Lithuanian clergy studying in Rome after the canonization ceremony.

According to the President, the activities of Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII were very important for Lithuania and greatly influential for the Roman Catholic Church and the faithful.

Pope John Paul II, whose mother was of Samogitian descent, had a very special bond with Lithuania. He urged respect for human rights and dignity, he championed the ideals of freedom and democracy. He spoke out for national self-determination and supported Lithuanian independence. John Paul II was the first and only pope to visit Lithuania. The apostolic visit took place immediately after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1993.

John XXIII, whose papacy began in 1958, contributed to the renewal of the church in the modern world, promoted unity among the Catholics and the use of native languages in the liturgy. He played an important part in reducing the isolation of the church in Soviet-occupied countries. It was through his efforts that Lithuanian priests were allowed to study in the Vatican.

The canonization will take place on the Divine Mercy Sunday which was designated by Pope John Paul II. Vilnius is called the City of Divine Mercy because of its close association with this feast day. The Image of the Mother of Mercy of the Gate of Dawn and the Image of Divine Mercy are displayed in the holy shrines of Vilnius.  

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2014.04.26 13:17

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