Jesus Christ is “king” of a municipality in Lithuania.
The aldermen of a small city in Lithuania, a country with strong Catholic majorities, have “enthroned Jesus Christ as King” to their community, hoping to boost the morale of the population in this time of economic crisis.
“Enthrone Jesus Christ as King of our municipality, solemnly declare that he is our sovereign and protector,” said Mayor Zdzislav Palevic of Šalčininkai (southeast), as quoted by Baltic news agency BNS .
“During this difficult period for the country when crisis affects the world, the role of Christ becomes important not only in the personal lives of people, but also in political and cultural life,” proclaims the act of induction, which was adopted unanimously.
“This decision couldn’t hurt. The area is very Catholic, and if it can encourage people to respect the Ten Commandments, then why not?” Leonard Stancikiene, one of 25 city council members, told Agence France-Presse by telephone.
This town of about 7,000 people, mostly ethnic Poles, is located about fifty kilometres south of Vilnius, the first Lithuanian city to have entrusted its fate to Jesus Christ. In an act approved last 12 June, the Vilnius region was placed under the protection of Christ “to avoid painful mistakes, dangers and threats”.
Lithuania, a former Soviet republic which became independent in 1990 and a member of the EU in 2004, is a secular state, but the Catholic religion remains a vital component of the country.
Before the swearing in of new President Dalia Grybauskaite, the bishop of Vilnius, Archbishop Audrys Backis, delivered a speech to parliament. Solemn masses are usually celebrated at major national holidays.