On 5 and 6 October, the international conference to discuss the pilgrimage experience in Lithuania during the last decade was held at the Ecclesiastical Heritage Museum/Archangel Conference and Art Centre in Vilnius (Lithuania). The event was attended by representatives of the European Federation of the Ways of St. James and supported by the signatory of the Act of Restoration of the Independent State of Lithuania, Dr. Laima Andrikienė.
The conference was opened with a significant speech by the Metropolitan Archbishop of Kaunas, Kęstutis Kēvalas and the reception by the Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Petar Rajič, the chairman of the Commission of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Prof. Vytautas Juozapaitis, the Deputy Minister of Culture Rimantas Mikaitis, the representative of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania Diana Varnaitė, and other distinguished guests. The conference was attended by heads of municipalities and council members, representing both Lithuania and various countries.
The conference was attended by the Spanish MEP Francisco José Millán Mon, Chairman of the Interparliamentary Group “European Cultural Heritage, European Cultural Routes and the Way of St. James” in the framework of the presentation which analysed how the Way of St. James in Lithuania is seen in the context of European cultural routes.
Representing Ildefonso de la Campa Montenegro, President of the European Federation of the Pilgrims’ Roads to Santiago, was Ana Rita Dias, Vice-Mayor of Vila Pouca de Aguiar and President of the Portuguese Federation of the Road to Santiago (Portugal), who was accompanied by Manon Luijten, representative of the municipality of South Limburg (Netherlands) and Dr. Laima Andrikienė (Lithuania).
The first decade of the Way of St. James in Lithuania, the achievements of the activity and the experiences in these years, were reviewed by Rima Blikertienė, president of the Association of Friends of the Way of St. James in this country. Algirdas Vrubliauskas, president of the Association of Lithuanian Municipalities, also a member of the European Federation, also participated. The organiser Birutė Nenortaitė, who is Vice-President of the Association of Friends of the Way of St. James also participated actively in the conference.
Jorge Martínez-Cava (President of the Spanish Federation of Associations of Friends of the Way of St. James), Marcin Drogorob from the Polish region of Kujawsko-Pomorskie and Beata Sawinska, representative of the city of Torun, members of FECS, as well as Iryna Sobko Vinica, project manager of the Ukrainian Podolica Way, also a member of FECS, spoke about the development of the Way of St. James in the European cultural routes and its technical network.
The conference was enlivened with beautiful Lithuanian folk songs by Milana and Nėja – the young ambassadors of the Way of St. James from Onuškis Primary School in Trakai district.