Pope to visit Baltic states in September, Vatican announces

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Vatican announced that Pope Francis will make a four-day trip to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in September.

Pope Francis talks with Juri Ratas, prime minister of Estonia, during a private audience at the Vatican Feb. 9. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

In a statement released March 9, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the pope will visit five cities during the Sept. 22-25 trip, including Vilnius and Kaunas in Lithuania; Riga and Aglona in Latvia; and Tallinn, Estonia.

The pope’s schedule, Burke said, “will be published shortly.”

The pope’s visit coincides with the 100th anniversary of all three Baltic countries declaring their independence from Russia in 1918. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940 until 1991, shortly before the socialist state was dissolved.

This will be the second visit from a pontiff to the three Baltic nations. St. John Paul II visited Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in September 1993.

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