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 Vilnius, April 4-8: Government Declared Days of National Mourning

Lithuanian Government declared three days of national mourning on April 4–6 commemorating the death of Pope John Paul II. It is the first declaration of national mourning since January 1991. On Wednesday the national mourning was prolonged until the day April 8, the day of Popes funerals.

On April 3 Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus sent the message of condolence to the Dean of College of Cardinals, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The message expressed the gratitude for constant attention and benevolence towards Lithuania shown by Pope John Paul II since the beginning of his pontificate. The condolence message especially recalled the significant celebrations in Rome initiated by the Pope on behalf Lithuania under Soviet occupation: the 500 anniversary of St Casimir in 1984 and the 600 anniversary of Baptism of Lithuania in 1987. Holy Father encouraged the oppressed nations to seek freedom and independence: “Visiting Lithuania in 1993 he supported the attempts of liberation of Lithuanian society”. “The vision of Europe shared by the Pope was the milestone for our State seeking equal participation in the work of creation of new Europe”, said President Adamkus in his condolence message.

Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus also sent the message of condolence to Apostolic Nuncio Peter Paul Zurbriggen. “We mourn for the Leader of the Church, whose message of goodness, love and respect had opened the ways for Eastern European nations to create free, democratic, open and tolerant societies”

On April 3 Lithuanian President Adamkus also sent the message of to President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski, expressing sincere condolence to Polish nation because of death of His Holiness John Paul II.

Public statements of condolence were also made by Chairman of Seimas Artűras Paulauskas, Prime Minister Algirdas Brazauskas, other political leaders.

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