Prime Minister congratulates His Holiness Pope Francis on 10th anniversary of his pontificate


2023 03 13


On behalf of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania and all the people of Lithuania, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė congratulated His Holiness Pope Francis on the 10th anniversary of his pontificate. Prime Minister wished him from the bottom of her heart inspiration and determination to continue spreading hope based on faith, uniting people around the world for a more peaceful and just life.

“Your Holiness, the last year has been full of difficult challenges for the whole world, and the brutal war launched by Russia against Ukraine has become, as you so aptly put it, a real ‘defeat for humanity’. But even in the midst of this evil, the people of Lithuania, hearing your daily prayers for the children, grandparents, fathers and mothers of the tortured Ukraine, believe that the evil will be defeated and darkness dispelled. Even in the face of death, the determination of the freedom-loving people of Ukraine to defend their country is unwavering.

Your Holiness, unfortunately, today innocent people and children are still dying. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homeland, homes and families. The struggle of our Ukrainian brothers reminds us of the painful history of our nation as well. In the last century, many Lithuanians were exiles and refugees, and the storms of war and persecution of the Soviet regime drove them to different countries, even to Argentina. To this day, the large Lithuanian community in Buenos Aires still remembers the friendship with Your Holiness kindly.

Allow me to express my sincere gratitude for the Holy See’s continued humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine, for mediating the release of prisoners of war, and for assisting in the recovery of abducted children.

Five years have passed since Your Apostolic Visit to Lithuania, Holy Father. You have encouraged us not to forget the roots of our nation, to be aware of its joys, sufferings and values. And this year, as we recall the letters of Gediminas, the ruler of Lithuania, written by Franciscan friars seven centuries ago, we are proud to have maintained a strong link with the Holy See and Catholic Europe.

Your Holiness, while wishing you endurance and health, we express our hope that Europe will not tire of following your example and helping Ukraine, and we in Lithuania will fully support your efforts to preserve peace and build a community based on the commitment to fight against injustice and the constraints of human conscience,” reads Head of the Government’s letter of greetings.