Posted 7 May 2016
Several pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lithuania and its bishop, the Rt Revd Mindaugas Sabutis, recently spent a week visiting Rome, where they toured many of its historical sights, including the Archbasilica of St John Lateran, St Peter’s Basilica, Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls (burial place of the Apostle Paul) and the ancient Roman Pantheon (a church dedicated to ‘St Mary and the Martyrs’).
The bishop and pastors met in the Vatican by Lithuanian Monsignor Visvaldas Kulbokas of the Section for Relations with States of the Secretariat of State.
The clergy listened with interest as he related the story of the growth of Vatican City, and in particular St. Peter’s Square, the Basilica, and the grave of St Peter.
The pastors also visited the Ambassador of Lithuania to the Holy See, Dr Irena Vaišvilaitė, who reminded them that during the Soviet era, when all other Lithuanian embassies were closed by Moscow, the Lithuanian Embassy in Vatican City continued in operation, much to the chagrin of the Soviets.
At present, the Embassy plays an important role in maintaining relations between the Lithuanian Republic and Vatican State.
As a historian, Dr Vaišvilaitė also spoke of the places which Martin Luther had visited in Rome and the Vatican.
The five-day visit was a gift from the Church of Lippe (Lippische Landeskirche), Germany. [ELCL News]