2019.11.18 17:30

Polish president to visit Vilnius for reburial of anti-Tsarist fighters

BNS2019.11.18 17:30

Polish President Andrzej Duda, and his wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda, is expected to arrive for a working visit in Lithuania on Thursday, the Lithuanian president's office said on Monday. 

On Thursday, Duda is scheduled to meet with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda to discuss political and economic relations, regional and energy security issues, cooperation in NATO, and the EU and Eastern Partnership agendas, according to the press release.

On Friday, the Polish president and his wife will attend the state funeral of the commanders and participants of the 1863-1864 uprising against Tsarist Russia. The ceremony will also be attended by Belarusian and Ukrainian officials.

According to Nausėda, the burial site of uprising participants, found on Vilnius' Gediminas Hill almost three years ago, "reminds us of the country's painful experience [and its] long struggle against oppression and enslavement".

Friday's funeral ceremony "is a testimony to our respect for the heroes of the past and the values ​​of patriotism," the president said. "Those who completed their earthly journey a long time ago inspire us to love our country."

Churches in Vilnius and Warsaw will ring their bells as the funeral procession will move along the Lithuanian capital's streets to the old Rasos Cemetery, according to the press release.

Twenty-one fighters were executed in the Lithuanian capital's Lukiskes Square between 1863 and 1864 and were secretly buried on the hill, which was closed to the public at that time.

Their burial site was unearthed during the Gediminas Hill reinforcement works in 2017.

Archeologists managed to find the remains of 20 of the 21 executed uprising participants, including those of their commanders – Zygmunt Sierakowski (known in Lithuania as Zigmantas Sierakauskas) and Konstanty Kalinowski (Konstantinas Kalinauskas).

The remains will be reburied in the capital's Rasos Cemetery following a memorial service at Vilnius Cathedral on Friday. The names will be written in Lithuanian, Polish and Belarusian.