Lithuanian parlt speaker discusses aid to Ukraine with Pope Francis

  • 2023-11-13
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, speaker of the Seimas, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday to discuss relations between Lithuania and the Holy See, the role of the Catholic Church, and aid to Ukrainian war refugees, the parliament's press office said.

"Grateful for the audience with His Holiness Pope Francis. His call to end war resonates deeply. Lithuania values the Holy See's support, prayers for Ukraine, and aid to war refugees. Let's unite for a world free from aggression," Cmilyte-Nielsen posted on the X social media platform after the meeting.

She said in a press release that "recently, Pope Francis transferred 100,000 euros to Caritas Lithuania for the needs of refugees". 

The parliamentary speaker underlined Lithuania's call on the international community to support President Volodymyr Zelensky's peace plan.

"If Ukraine does not win, war may come to Lithuania one day," she warned.  

During the meeting, the speaker said that Lithuania and the Holy See have a special relationship, with one of the most significant moments illustrating the Vatican's support for the country being its non-recognition of Soviet occupation and its role in the fall of the regime, according to the press release.

"Our people saw the Pope's visit in 2018 as an exceptional sign of support for Lithuania on the occasion of our 100th anniversary of statehood restoration," said Cmilyte-Nielsen. 

"Last year, we celebrated the centenary of the Holy See's de jure recognition of Lithuania, an important occasion that strengthened the ties between our nation and the Catholic Church," she added. 

On Sunday, Cmilyte-Nielsen attended a reception to mark the Feast of St. Josaphat. 

The speaker of the Seimas also met with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's secretary of state.

She was also scheduled to meet with Riccardo Paterno di Montecupo, Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, and to visit the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Basilica of Saint Mary Major, and the Lithuanian chapel in Rome's Campo Verano Cemetery.