President Dalia Grybauskaitė visited the Vatican at the invitation of Pope Francis and met with the Holy Father.
According to the President, the Holy Father warmly recalls his visit to Lithuania. The meeting was an expression of gratitude to Pope Francis for his apostolic journey to our country, which the Lithuanian people describe as the most memorable event of 2018 – the year of Lithuania’s independence centennial.
“The visit of the Holy Father last September meant encouragement and hope to Lithuania, which we still feel today. Pope Francis gave great inspiration to the young people who will eventually assume responsibility for building the state. We will always remember his compassion and attention to the most vulnerable and needy, his deep feeling of respect to our history and the most painful experiences of its past, and the tribute he paid to Holocaust victims,” the President said.
Lithuania and the Vatican share respect to international law in their approach to such countries as Ukraine and Georgia, which have to put in enormous effort to fight aggression and its consequences.
The President assured the Pope that the Lithuanian people were greatly encouraged by his call to work together towards the common good. They supported in every possible way the efforts of the Holy Father to strengthen the policies of the Church and the Holly See aimed at greater transparency and responsibility in all aspects of life, including fighting violence and abuse, reducing social exclusion, promoting environmental protection, and tackling climate change.
In gratitude for his dynamic leadership and moral authority and in remembrance of the Pope’s prayer at the former KGB prison in Vilnius, the President presented the Holy Father with a photo album about Lithuanian freedom fighters “The Partisans of Lithuania; 1944-1986”. Faith in God and freedom – an integral part of our national mindset – helped them maintain strength.
The President also gave Pope Francis her special personal gift – a children-decorated jar of honey.
After the meeting with the Holy Father, the President met with the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.