President Dalia Grybauskaitė will on Saturday present Pope Francis with a smaller replica of the Freedom Bell of Lithuania and a recording of "Gloria Lietuvai" (Gloria to Lithuania), a musical composition that was performed on February 16 when the nation marked the centennial of the modern state of Lithuania, her office said on Friday.
Dalia Grybauskaitė
© DELFI / Karolina Pansevič

According to Grybauskaitė, "the historic bell is a herald of freedom, reminding us of the difficult path traversed by Lithuania after it proclaimed independence".

"The Holy Father is arriving not only to extend congratulations to Lithuania on its centennial, but also to show his respect for the Lithuanian nation that survived through struggle and suffering and eventually regained peace and statehood," the president's office said in a press release.

The original Freedom Bell was donated to Lithuania by Lithuanian Americans, who decided on the gift at a convention in Chicago back in 1919. The bell was cast of brass in 1920, shipped to Lithuania and put in the tower of the War Museum in Kaunas.

Like the original bell, the replica has a bas relief of the Lithuanian national symbol Vytis, a knight on horseback, on one side and an inscription reading "Ring through the ages / for the children of Lithuania / that unworthy of freedom is he / who fails to defend it" on the reverse side.

"Gloria Lietuvai" features the ringing of a hundred bells from across Lithuania, including the Freedom Bell.

BNS
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