President of the Republic of Lithuania

The President and the Pope discussed Lithuanian and European challenges

2018-09-22

Saturday, September 22, Vilnius – President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Pope Francis, who is on a state visit to Lithuania, discussed issues of importance to Lithuania, the Baltic region, Europe, and the world during their bilateral meeting at the Presidential Palace.

The President expressed her gratitude to the Pope for his attention to Lithuania, especially to our history and fight for freedom. It is particularly significant that the Holy See had never recognized the occupation of Lithuania and preserved its diplomatic representation. The Vatican consistently supported anti-Soviet resistance.

During their meeting, the President and the Holy Father – one of the most prominent leaders of our time – spoke about security in our region. Lithuania, which lives in the neighborhood of lies and aggression, is very well aware of those fighting for their freedom and independence and feels deep compassion for them. This is why we are committed to helping the people of Ukraine and Georgia and reminding the world about the problems they face.

Lithuania cherishes the values of humanity and mercy promoted by the Pope and aims to maintain an open, free and creative society. It is also highly relevant to Europe, as it deals with populism and nationalism threats. Lithuania stands in solidarity with other countries when addressing refugee issues. Only joint efforts can help us overcome painful problems of social exclusion, human rights and environmental protection.

A strong church and its strong say are very important to our country. Lithuania supports the efforts of the Holy Father to bring the church closer to young people and backs the implemented reforms. People across the country are waiting for the Pope’s message and encouragement to the young people.

Dalia Grybauskaitė presented Pope Francis with a symbol of Lithuanian independence, Freedom Bell, and a recording of a unique music piece “Gloria Lietuvai.”

The Holy Father‘s gift is a reproduction of a ninth-century mosaic placed above the tomb of St. Peter and below the Papal Altar in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Pope also presented the President with four of his books and a papal medal.

The Pope wrote in the Presidential guest book: “With gratitude for your generous welcome and hospitality. I willingly assure you and the people of Lithuania of my continued prayers, and I invoke upon all of you Almighty God’s abundant blessings. Francis.”

Diplomatic relations between Lithuania and the Holy See, renewed during the period of the second republic, will be counting 30 years. The President meets Pope Francis for the sixth time already.

After the bilateral meeting, the President will deliver on behalf of the Lithuanian people a welcome address to the Pope, which will be followed by the Pope’s speech.

In Daukantas Square, Pope Francis meets with authorities, civil society and the diplomatic corps.

The President will later accompany the Holy Father to the Mater Misericordiae (Gate of Dawn) Shrine.

In the afternoon, the President and the Pope will go to the Cathedral Square to meet with young people and to visit Vilnius Cathedral.

Tomorrow, on Sunday, the President will attend the Holy Mass celebrated by the Pope in the Santakos Park, Kaunas.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2018.09.22 14:07

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